Bloom With Age-Esteem

May 3rd, 2018 Comments off

At a young age we are taught (and sometimes made) to share our toys, our candy and even our crayons. Even in food-motivated herds, like zebras, you will notice that they will mow the fields together as a group. One might even gather that sharing is a good thing. But why?

As we get older and our personal space becomes larger we tend to share less and less. Our focus might change from what we are giving to what we might be losing. When you share, are you actually losing something, or gaining much more?

Sharing is defined as ”the joint use of a resource or space.” Sharing is a basic component of human interaction, and is responsible for strengthening social ties and ensuring a person’s well-being. Sharing is a vital life skill. Buy why? Sharing builds trust, and trust is highly correlated with happiness. It also increases positive social interaction with others, which can prolong your life. Sharing involves cooperation, and cooperation is essential to the success of humans.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Share your wisdom with the younger generation.
  • Perform random acts of kindness.
  • Share your time and volunteer your services with a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or other charity organization.
  • Carpool. Give people a ride in your car.
  • Grow a garden full of flowers and pick a bouquet for a teacher or neighbor.
  • Smile. Be compassionate in all human transactions.

So if you happen to be having a rough start to your day, try sharing something with another person (even if just a smile). You might be surprised at the happiness and joy you receive in return. – And, your age-esteem will blossom as well!

Share the Blossoms

April 30th, 2018 Comments off

Share the Blossoms

“The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.”Heda Béjar

One of my early positions was Head of Admissions for the International School of Geneva. I loved the contact with parents, students and staff from around the world, and constant interaction was the basis of my position. I interviewed parents of prospective students in my office daily, and made sure my office was attractive to visitors.

The school gardener caught me smelling his beautiful flowers outside my office one day, and I explained to him how much I appreciated the beauty he gave to the school. Towards the end of our short discussion, he said that he would bring me a few flowers for my office. Imagine my surprise when he showed up at my window with a stunning bouquet while I was interviewing parents.

It became a weekly tradition. He would knock on my window whether I was alone or interviewing, and I would interrupt what I was doing to receive my bouquet. The fragrance certainly remained with the giver of the flowers. The fragrance also increased in multiple ways. Each person felt special when they saw the flowers being delivered through my window, and more often than not would leave with a bloom. And, as I told the gardener, “Your gesture of sharing your blossoms does as much to sell the quality of the school as me sharing the academic qualities. When you bring flowers to brighten my office, you give the message that each of us cares.”

Sharing experiences with others, be it admiring beauty of blooms, watching a movie together, or having a conversation is healthy. Research shows that an experience is richer when it is shared. It also influences longevity. This is emphasized in research focusing on areas of the world such as in the “blue zone” of Sardinia off the coast of Italy where there are six times more centenarians than in Italy. Community is one of the decisive factors. People share experiences, both good and bad, and see each other often. The streets are narrow and living quarters are close to each other. People know each other, have close friends and a network and they share.

Do you want to live a happier longer life? Enhance your age-esteem by sharing with others and, like the giver of the rose, the fragrance will stay with you.

Bonnie Fatio

Bloom Where You Are

April 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Bloom Where You Are

During Winter it can be terribly gray where I live. Weeks go by with no sunshine. – Gray clouds, gray fog, gray rain. Gray buildings, gray roads, gray expressions on people’s faces.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin

And then, suddenly Spring arrives, trees bud, flowers bloom, grass becomes luscious green, birds chirp and sing, and the world comes to life! People begin to smile again and even walk with more energy in their steps.

It brings to mind the saying, “Bloom where you are planted”. While the ground lay fallow during the grey winter months, much was happening underground and trees as each little bud began to bloom where it had been planted. It did not decide what bloom it would become or where it would grow. It bloomed where it was planted.

I believe age-esteem is important if you are to bloom where you are planted. You may not have chosen to work in the company that offered you the job, or to live in the house or city that you do, or to admit to be the age that you are. Yet, how much easier is it to decide to love what we do, to make our home into our haven no matter where it is, and to recognize the joys and advantages of being the age that we are? The quote from Anaïs Nin expresses it well. It is more painful to be a victim and detest something than it is to risk making the most of a situation and actually blossoming where you are, doing what you do, and being the age you are.

Are you willing to make the effort to bloom where you are planted? Are you willing to take control of your life and to love yourself at the age you are? If you are, you will also blossom with AgeEsteem.

            Bonnie Fatio

Spring Showers Can Boost Your Age Esteem

April 19th, 2018 Comments off

Spring Showers Can Boost Your Age Esteem

It’s raining !

Spring brings rain where I live in Europe. Lots of rain.

Sitting here on the bus I hear others complaining that “enough is enough”. It has rained for five consecutive days.

I love walking in the rain. As a child I used to beg my mother to let me go outside and stomp through the puddles. Sister Susie and I would take a couple pans from the kitchen, so we could concoct a witches’ brew with wet leaves, flower petals and some wiggly worms. We hated it when Mom called us inside.

Even today I love walking in the rain. Stomping in puddles with my grandchildren is still a favorite experience. Rain is refreshing and renewing. It seems to wash away worries, leaving room for new ideas and expression.

These feelings of renewal and playfulness are important to our age-esteem. They help us live the age we are with joy and pizzazz. In AgeEsteem: Growing a Positive Attitude Toward Aging, chapter 2, page 16, tells the story of breaking loose from our programed behavior and to begin Singing in the Rain to free the child within you.

When we let the child within us come out to play, we use all of our senses. It frees us to raise our faces to the sky to feel the raindrops, and even taste them. We smell the newness of nature, listen to the sound of the rain on different surfaces, watch drops seemingly bounce on the sidewalk, and laugh with pure joy as we also renew and revitalize our age-esteem.

Bonnie Fatio

The Oak Tree: A Symbol of AgeEsteem

April 16th, 2018 Comments off

Renewal brings persistence, persistence to become who you are intended to be at every age. What better example than the oak tree?

They say that the great oak tree is just a little nut that held its ground.  I love the image of the little nut, the acorn, that held its ground against all odds. It fell from the tree and eventually cracked open as a spout that began to shoot out and find its way into the earth.

Oak trees are indeed persistent. It can live 200 years or more and will only begin to produce acorns after 25 – 50 years. Even when an oak tree lives to 100 years of age and slows down, it will continue to produce over 2,000 acorns annually.

The Seven Sisters Oak is the largest certified southern live oak tree, and is located in Louisiana, USA. It is believed to be about 1,500 years old. Its trunk measures 38.9 feet (11.9 meters) in circumference; is 68 feet tall and has a branch spread of 139 feet.

The Celtic meaning for the oak tree is one of wisdom and towering strength. Ancient Celts honored the oak for its endurance and noble presence.

For me, the oak tree also symbolizes age-esteem. It holds strong in all circumstances, spreads its branches as widely as possible to offer shade and shelter with purpose.  And, no matter how rude the winter may have been, it wears a new suit of leaves every spring and new buds of acorns.

Bonnie Fatio

Set Your Inner Child Free

April 5th, 2018 Comments off

As the days grow longer, spark your curiosity by visiting parks or taking a nature walk, even if only in your backyard. When you set your inner child free with curiosity, you will discover that curiosity is a key ingredient for learning.

It is no surprise that we are more likely to remember what we have learned when the subject matter intrigues us, but it turns out that curiosity also helps us learn information we don’t consider all that interesting or important.

Did you know that those who are curious may also actively seek out challenges and new experiences to broaden their horizons?

Take a journal outside with you. Sketch the creepy crawlers; spiders, caterpillars, grasshoppers, ladybugs, and begin to form questions about each one. How many different types of caterpillars are there? What do they eat? Why are they fantastically beautiful?

Remember that AgeEsteemers continue to ask questions and think critically about the world around them because a curious mind continues to grow, even as the body ages.

The Renewal of Spring

April 2nd, 2018 Comments off

Does winter seem to drag on with its uncomfortable chill and darker days? No matter how long the winter may seem, spring is just around the corner and the days will become longer and brighter.

With Spring’s unique energy you are offered the opportunity to renew parts of yourself that are hungry for growth.

Here are some ideas to let go of the old and make room for the new:

Get some fresh air and sunshine. Consider going for a stroll at a plant nursery and soak in all of the color and scents the flowers have to offer. Visit a farmers market and taste the freshest fruit the season as to offer. Begin to eat your meals outside again and appreciate the sound of a light breeze through your garden.

Celebrate with a family gathering. What a great time to call the grandkids and invite them over for a backyard party; bubbles and all.

Invest in a bird feeder for bird watching. Bird watching is fun for all ages and can be very educational. You’ll be amazed at the family discussions, research and excitement coming with seeing a new bird at your feeder.

Plant an herb garden. A modest herb garden provides not only gardening fun, but also healthy and tasty ingredients for your favorite dishes.

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – M. Scott Peck

I encourage you see the hints of Spring all around you and renew the parts of yourself that are hungry for growth!

Happy Easter

April 1st, 2018 Comments off

Happy Easter

May the hope and love of Easter be with you throughout the year.

Be the Shoulders of the Younger Generation

March 26th, 2018 Comments off

Isaac Newton once said,”If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

Think back to your youth. Were there people in your life that took an authentic interest in your future, or helped you see both sides of a situation that seemed overwhelming? Maybe a speech, or a family story that sparked a fire inside of you to make a difference in your community?

It is important to recognize that the relationships that pushed you beyond what you could have imaged for yourself are the shoulders of the giants that helped you see further than others. In turn, you now have the opportunity to be the shoulders for the younger generation.

Here are a few ways that you can empower the younger generation and give them the opportunity to see further than those before them.

Listen – While your ideas are valued, it is important to know that listening and truly hearing the ideas of the younger generation is so empowering. It gives them an actual space at the table to share their views and opinions.

Mentor – The vast majority of the younger generation desires to create change in their communities and around the world. They are in need of a supportive counselor who has the ability to push them beyond what they may have imagined they could accomplish. Thus, “passing the torch” and empowering the younger generation.

Be Humble – It is important to know that we cannot always think that our way is the right way. In order to empower the younger generation one must be humble and willing to admit when new ideas are better than our own.

Offer your shoulders to the youth and know that your AgeEsteem will spark empowerment in the youth of today.

Successful Women of Today

March 22nd, 2018 Comments off

Success is easy to define, Merriam-Webster describes it as “a favorable or desired outcome” and “the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence,” but is it defined differently for men and women? Perhaps there are the stereotypical gender lines where women focus on the importance of relationships and feeling valued while men focus more on material success.

It turns out that women are broadening the definition of what it means to be successful and what it means to achieve great things in the world. The adaptation of success may also be a reflection of the fact that they still carry the bulk of the household and family responsibilities.

Are you one of those women that does it all and still feel inadequate? Why? Here are some thoughts as you define what success means to you personally:

  • Understand the price you are paying for your definition of success.
  • Have a clear goal and purpose, recognize that you cannot have it all.
  • Decide what is most important, focus on it and get rid of the guilt.
  • Be mindful that after every hill you climb, a new hill emerges.
  • If all else fails, fake it until you make it.

So, what matters to you personally? Where do you want to be in a year? Two years? Five? How will you achieve your own definition of success? Write your thoughts down while having some much-deserved “me time.” What truly matters to you in your life today?

Here are some ways in which AgeEsteemers have defined success in their lives:

  • Be in the moment, instead of constantly going, going, going.
  • Realize that your contribution to the world is valued, if not by others, by you.
  • Find a healthy balance between a loving home and a career you enjoy.
  • Have people in your life who can always make you smile.
  • Find the good in life’s imperfections.
  • Be proud of yourself.

Let determination, vision and purpose be your superpower to success!