Is Your World Really on Fire?

                 My father Sam

As a dentist, my dad became a captain in the US Army during World War II, stationed at a major supply depot in a small town in England. Thankfully, he didn’t see combat.  He treated soldiers’ teeth, also essential! 

The base had been the estate of a wealthy family, which turned it over to the government for military use during the war. That was common because many upper class families couldn’t keep up their property at the time.  The sprawling grounds had  courts  where my dad learned to play tennis.  He played until he became ill in mid-1987.  

I don’t know much more than that about my dad’s experiences during the war, which makes me sad.  I’m a major league question asker, but I guess I was too wrapped up in myself as a young woman to learn more about what it was like during that period in history.  

Not only  didn’t I learn much from my father;  I learned nothing in school because history back in the day was taught as a compilation of a trillion dates, places and people – which we had to memorize so we could pass midterms, finals and Regents exams (state-wide New York standardized tests.)  Most lessons were as dry as the Mojave Desert.  My preoccupation with doing well on tests far exceeded my appetite for understanding the context of historical events.

Now I’m far more interested in the history of WWII, especially  Germany’s plan to conquer all of Europe. The War, a seven-part series directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, was one of my favorite documentaries. It tells the story through the personal narratives of a handful of ordinary men and women from four quintessentially  American towns.  

                     Scene from World on Fire

Last night I discovered a PBS British drama series – World On Fire –  that gripped me from the opening scene. Taking place from the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland to the 1940  fall of Paris – it follows the intertwining fates of ordinary people in Britain, Poland, France, Germany and the US  as their everyday lives are thrown upside down.

While I don’t want to  minimize the horrible reverberations of the 2020 pandemic on our lives, it’s worth reflecting on the experiences of Europeans at the start of the war.  Jews weren’t the only ones tortured or gunned down in cold blood on the streets in Warsaw when the Nazis attacked. Young Catholic women were beaten and raped.  Talking back to an enemy soldier was enough to provoke your death. Homes were razed to the ground. Shops were looted.  

Some of us feel we’re being “stripped of our rights”  because we’re asked to wear protective masks,  can’t go to baseball games or to have a latte at Starbucks. Think of how we’d feel if we were herded like sheep – at gunpoint – into a stadium because of our religious or political affiliation, stripped of everything we owned, then transported to a detention camp.  

The only war on which we should all be concentrating now is one with a virus.  We may not all see eye to eye on how to interact with this “enemy,” but make no mistake.  Anything that kills 90K people without provocation is indeed an enemy.  Giving it further provocation isn’t wise. 

I strongly recommend World on Fire. Anything that puts life into perspective is worthwhile.

An Extremely Short Story: A Social Butterfly Returns to the Cocoon

I couldn’t help but think recently about the people I know whose lives revolve around social activities – out of their homes. Every day they share a new Facebook post – or five – from cocktail parties, gallery openings, gala dinners with friends, shows, concerts, charity and awards dinners.

And their trips! They crisscross the globe at a dizzying pace, as if staying home would make them disappear. Forgotten forever. 

They must have intense withdrawal symptoms during quarantine.

I emailed one friend like this – a man in his late ‘70s –  who had been on a non-stop social whirl since I met him about five decades ago. 

“I hope you’re doing ok at home. I know how much you enjoy going out,” I wrote.

“BC (not her real name) and I are still  in love (notice the word “still”), so I don’t mind the quarantine at all,” he responded. 

BC, BTW, is also in her 70s. A long-time friend before becoming his partner four years ago – she was the woman this man’s dying wife hoped would fill the void in his life.

And, she has. What a lucky couple.

MORAL OF THE STORY: WHEN A VIRUS PREVENTS A SOCIAL BUTTERFLY FROM TAKING FLIGHT, HOME AND LOVE MAKE A PERFECT COCOON.

Finding The Support Of Seven Women

        Rinat Kass

One of my best experiences during quarantine involved meeting on Zoom last week with seven fabulous women from the faboverfifty community – and an exceptional therapist – to discuss how to  manage our emotions during this bleak time. We came from across the country, including Carol in Massachusetts, Barbara in Washington, DC, Hope in Arizona and Sheila in Dallas. One of us is grieving over the recent loss of her sister. Another is alone, with health issues.  A third woman misses the constant stimulation she had at work interacting with others. We’re all worried what the future will bring. Calming and reassuring therapist Rinat Kass lives in Northern California.  She’s a member of Advekit, an online network of highly credentialed therapists across the country. 

Rinat seamlessly guided the free-flowing conversation so we never talked over one another. And, she interjected her expert advice throughout the hour-long session. This was created to be an online support group for women who wished to share their challenges and experiences during the pandemic with other women in similar situations.  We felt comfortable with one another. We liked one another and we wanted to share our emails. Feedback was gratifyingly positive. 

 

“Thanks for organizing today’s conversation with Rinat and the other women. Although brief, it was very meaningful and cathartic for me. Rinat did a great job facilitating the discussion,” Carol wrote. 

“I thoroughly enjoyed the session this afternoon and appreciated the opportunity to engage with such thoughtful-minded women. It was especially supportive to hear of others who also find these times later in life to be challenging,” Barbara said.  

 

Rinat thoughtfully followed up by sending each of us two documents filled with important advice that any woman would appreciate. I’ve made some minor edits and share her important tips here. 

MANAGING RELATIONSHIPS DURING QUARANTINE 

⭆ BE AWARE OF HOW STRESS IMPACTS YOUR BEHAVIOR

We have fewer emotional responses during a stressful time and tend to me more sensitive, have less patience and are less flexible. It’s important to recognize all this, remind yourself that everyone is under tremendous stress, and to be kind to yourself and those around you.

⭆ RESPECT EACH OTHER’S COPING STYLES, BUT ALSO COMMUNICATE YOUR NEEDS

Each of us reacts differently to stressful events and has a different way of managing our feelings. If you feel you aren’t getting the emotional support you need, share it with your loved ones in an emotional and vulnerable way rather than with anger and resentment.

⭆ MAKE SURE YOU PUT ALONE TIME ON YOUR AGENDA

This isn’t about getting away from each other, but rather taking time every day to invest in yourself. Have some quiet time, go for a walk, listen to music or any other activity that puts you in a positive mental space.

 PRACTICE SELF CARE EVERY DAY 

Taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity! Healthy diet, exercise, quieting your mind, and a good night’s sleep are crucial for mental health. When you give to yourself you have more to give others.

⭆ BE CREATIVE AND KEEP ROMANCE ALIVE

Invest in your relationship as well as in yourself. Dress up nicely every now and then and have a date night. A candlelight dinner, a game night, look through photo albums and being nostalgic can all help nourish your relationship.

 TRY TO SEE THE SILVER LINING

This will end at some point. It may not always be easy, but try to look at all the gifts you’re getting from this uninterrupted time with your loved ones. 

10 WAYS TO HELP ACHIEVE BALANCE & MEANING DURING QUARANTINE 

 ESTABLISH ROUTINES 

Routines and rituals are vital in times of uncertainty because they create reassurance. Maybe start a journal where you can express your emotions. Or take an evening walk for some fresh air to clear your mind.

 FIND SOCIAL SUPPORT

The support of others is a major component of maintaining solid mental health, especially during  a crisis. 

 GO ON AN INFORMATION DIET

Create healthy boundaries and limitations around information and news intake. Consider the least stressful time of day to listen to the news and decide how long to spend.

⭆ HUMOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS 

Laughing and comedy are vitally important during times of despair. Find it and give it! 


 QUIET YOUR MIND THROUGH MEDITATION 

Many online apps and YouTube videos offer a variety of meditation techniques. Try them out to find one that suits you. 

⭆ EXERCISE AND EAT RIGHT 

You don’t need a gym to stay active. Follow exercise videos, participate in live online classes, walk outside (wearing a mask).  Experiment with new exercises and new recipes every day. 

⭆ GET INSPIRED, SEEK FAITH AND EXPRESS GRATITUDE 

COVID-19 has fostered countless inspiring acts. Notice what happens when you hear and see members of a symphony orchestra, for example, performing “together” over Zoom. 

And faith, an instrumental part of many of our lives, cannot be overemphasized for helping us move through crisis. 

Lastly, creating a list of the things for which you’re grateful inherently changes the moment. 

⭆ DO SOMETHING NICE FOR SOMEONE EVERY DAY 

Thinking outside of oneself is a great pick-me-up tool. 

⭆ CONSIDER CREATIVITY 

Other than the rewarding task of cleaning your bedroom closet, think of something you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t have the time, whether it’s writing or painting, baking or gardening.

⭆ SEEK MEANING 

Slowing down and reflecting can teach us something about this shocking experience. This may be a luxury for people struggling with more immediate concerns, but it’s a potential opportunity of immense value. Try to find meaning in our changing lives that are being challenged in new ways.

Natalie Wood: Splendor In the Past

Besides dancing, pseudo kissing during Spin the Bottle games was the only physical contact I had experienced with boys when I was a 14-year old high school sophomore (I graduated at 17). But watching pretty Natalie Wood and handsome Warren Beatty heavily “petting” (aka “making out”)  in the 1961 movie Splendor In The Grass gave me goosebumps. That was strong stuff back in the day.

Lots of teenage girls yearned to BE like Wilma Dean Loomis, the role 23-year-old Natalie played in that movie. Maybe we wanted to be adored as much as Bud Stamper (Warren Beatty’s part) adored Wilma Dean.  Or perhaps the young woman’s sexual repression stirred newfound feelings in us.  

At 14, I didn’t think about the quality of an actor’s performances. As the years moved forward, I recognized Natalie Wood’s talent in films including Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Gypsy,  Love With The Proper Stranger, The Searchers, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. 

        Natalie and Robert Wagner

When Natalie Wood died in a mysterious boating accident in 1981 – at 43 – she took on the role of a tragic figure. But when I recently watched Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind, a new HBO documentary about her, I also learned what a complex woman she was. More than a passionate actress who dug deeply into the roles she played, Natalie Wood was a devoted mother, wife (she was twice married to actor Robert Wagner), daughter, friend, and mentor (she gave Robert Redford his first breaks in the movies and the two became dear friends.)  She was even an impassioned hostess, throwing frequent dinner parties attended by celebrities including Laurence Olivier, Fred Astaire, Mia Farrow, George Hamilton, and Frank Sinatra. 

Natalie Wood grew up at a time when most women were hardly independent thinkers, but she defied convention – and succeeded on her own terms. Although she died prematurely,  she managed to live a scintillating life.

I strongly recommend the HBO documentary.

Turning The Quarantine Into A Quest For Learning

Hi FOFriends,  

I thought you’d be interested in attending two gratis online events, courtesy of Inspir, an innovative, luxury residence for the boomer generation and beyond that’s near completion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. 

 

INSPIR LEARNING SERIES

Life Storytelling Webinar 

FRIDAY, MAY 1

2 PM ET

Jay Newton-Small

Join Inspir and Jay Newton-Small from MemoryWell, to learn how life storytelling can build empathy, lessen depression and improve the quality of life. It can effectively bring together multiple generations of families, as well as friends and neighbors. 

This webinar will examine simple ways you can begin the process of recording your story, including an introduction to the electronic platforms that can help. 

CONTACT eventsch@inspirl.com to register. 

 

 

MARILYN MONROE: A TALENTED & DOOMED LEGEND  

THURSDAY, MAY 7

2 PM – 3 PM ET ON ZOOM

Join historical and entertainment raconteur Doug Brin as he uncovers the troubled life of the talented legend, Marilyn Monroe. He will share the shocking truth about her unique and tortured life, and discuss the extraordinary body of work she left behind.

 

or contact eventsch@inspirl.com for more information.

48 hours left to register & only 2 spots left! ⏰

If you and your friends are anything like me and mine, you’re reaching out to each other during this stressful time to share laughs, memories, fears, and, of course, frustrations. Our friends are blessings who give us joy when we’d like it and comfort when we need it!!

This made me think we should use the power of woman-to-woman connection and get together in intimate groups – led by a super connector – to make sense of our current situations.

So we invited Rinat Kass, a leading expert on relationships and self-discovery for women 50+, to facilitate small video support sessions for our community during this nerve-fraying time.

Rinat is part of the Advekit.com online network of highly credentialed therapists across the country.

EACH SESSION, LIMITED TO 10-15 WOMEN, IS ONLY $15

THAT’S A FRACTION OF WHAT YOU’D PAY FOR A SUPPORTIVE DISCUSSION LED  BY A HIGHLY QUALIFIED, THOUGHTFUL PROFESSIONAL. 

PLEASE KNOW THAT FABOVERFIFTY ISN’T FINANCIALLY BENEFITING FROM THIS INITIATIVE. THE FEE WILL COMPENSATE RINAT FOR HER TIME AND EXPERTISE. 

Come by yourself or ask a group of your friends to sign up and join you.

{Sessions will be held on ZOOM, an app that’s easy as pie to download. We’ll send you details when you register.}

RESERVE YOUR PLACE NOW IN RINAT’S SESSION!!


RINAT KASS

THURSDAY MAY 7, 2020 

2 – 3 PM ET 


A licensed marriage and family therapist, Rinat Kass received her Master’s Degree in Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in California, where she worked with individuals, couples, families and children at its Community Counseling Center for five years. She opened her private practice in Palo Alto, CA in 2013, counseling patients on managing stress and anxiety, relationship issues, conflict resolution, depression and general dissatisfaction with life and career choices. She is married and the mother of three.

SIGN-UP FOR RINAT’S VIDEO SESSION:

THURSDAY MAY 7, 2020, 2-3PM ET ($15 for one person)
THURSDAY MAY 7, 2020, 2-3PM ET ($25 for two people)

Give Advice To A Quarantined Grandma

OUR EMOTIONS ARE RUNNING HIGH DURING THIS TIME OF STRESS, SO WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA IF WE TRIED TO HELP ONE ANOTHER. READ ABOUT HARRIET’S DILEMMA BELOW AND GIVE HER YOUR ADVICE.  

AND, TELL US ABOUT YOUR QUARANTINE QUANDARY BY EMAILING GERI@FABOVERFIFTY.COM 

THE WOMEN 

Harriet, a 57-year-old, long-divorced mother of two grown children, owns a freelance bookkeeping business. She’s bright, beautiful, funny, and highly opinionated. 

Barbara, Harriet’s 30-something married daughter, has two young children and a demanding financial job. She’s controlling, high strung, and as opinionated as her mother. She isn’t an especially warm and cuddly person. She’s often questions Harriet’s viewpoints. 

THEIR PRE-COVID-19 RELATIONSHIP

Harriet has spent at least one full day a week babysitting ever since the birth of her grandchildren. She adores the kids and would drop everything to help out Barbara, such as watching the children on many weekends when her daughter and son-in-law had engagements out of town. The kids adore her, too.

Tending to a toddler and a four-year-old is tough enough for a young mother; it’s no cakewalk, even for a fit woman in her 50s. Harriet likes to be appreciated, but Barbara doesn’t give physical or verbal thanks. No hugs for Harriet. No words acknowledging her mother’s help.

THEIR SITUATION DURING COVID-19

Barbara appears to have shut Harriet out of her and her childrens’ lives during the last few weeks. Harriet’s emails saying that she misses her grandchildren and would love to connect with them online have gone unanswered. 

Barbara and her husband, both working at home during the quarantine, are clearly stressed having to take care of their young kids at the same time. ”I would have gone in a heartbeat to stay with them and help with the children,” Harriet said.  But Barbara didn’t extend an invitation.  

Now Harriet is sad, not just because she hasn’t seen her grandchildren in weeks, but because her daughter seems to continually resent her so much.

She’d like our advice on how she can communicate with her daughter now and be able to connect with her grandchildren – even if it’s only online. 

TELL HARRIET BELOW WHAT ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR HER.

Find Comfort At Our Video Support Sessions Led By Compassionate Therapists


You’re alone, isolated and getting more melancholy by the day.

Or, perhaps you’re not alone, but wish you were, because you’re quarantined with someone who is testing your patience. That someone might even be your long-time partner.

Anxiety to anger. Fear to frenzy. No matter what our situation, our emotions are running high.

So we invited Rinat Kass and Dr. Christine Lillja, leading experts on relationships and self-discovery for women 50+, to facilitate intimate video support sessions for our community during this stressful time.

You’ll have the opportunity to talk with Rinat or Christine about the challenges facing your relationship, your loneliness, and how you can manage your heightened emotions. They are part of the Advekit.com online network of highly credentialed therapists across the country.

EACH SESSION, LIMITED TO 10-15 WOMEN, IS $25

A FRACTION OF WHAT YOU’D PAY FOR A SUPPORTIVE DISCUSSION LED  BY A HIGHLY QUALIFIED, THOUGHTFUL PROFESSIONAL. 

Come by yourself or ask a group of your friends to sign up and join you.

{Sessions will be held on ZOOM, an app that’s easy as pie to download. We’ll send you details when you register.}

RESERVE YOUR PLACE NOW IN ONE OF RINAT’S OR CHRISTINE’S SESSIONS!!

DR. CHRISTINE LILLJA

THURSDAY APRIL 30, 2020

2 – 3 PM     

KEEPING YOUR RELATIONSHIP SANE DURING QUARANTINE

6 – 7 PM     

COPING WITH LONELINESS DURING QUARANTINE

 

A licensed clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist, Dr.Christine Lillja received her Master of Science in Psychology, from California State University at Long Beach, and her Psy.D. from California Southern University. She has been practicing psychotherapy for 26 years and is also a Certified Trauma Professional. She lives and works in Orange County, CA, where she loves the people and climate. She and her husband of 25 years have two children and a rescue dog.

SIGN-UP FOR ONE OF CHRISTINE’S SESSIONS:

THURSDAY APRIL 30, 2020, 2-3PM
THURSDAY APRIL 30, 2020, 6-7PM

RINAT KASS

THURSDAY MAY 7, 2020 

2 – 3 PM     

KEEPING YOUR RELATIONSHIP SANE DURING QUARANTINE

6 – 7 PM     

MANAGING YOUR  EMOTIONS DURING QUARANTINE

 

A licensed marriage and family therapist, Rinat Kass received her Master’s Degree in Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in California, where she worked with individuals, couples, families and children at its Community Counseling Center for five years. She opened her private practice in Palo Alto, CA in 2013, counseling patients on managing stress and anxiety, relationship issues, conflict resolution, depression and general dissatisfaction with life and career choices. She is married and the mother of three.

SIGN-UP FOR ONE OF RINAT’S SESSIONS:

THURSDAY MAY 7, 2020, 2-3PM
THURSDAY MAY 7, 2020, 6-7PM

 

 

Help Maintain Your Vitality At A Time You Need It Most

ChromaDex compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write this post. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

I congratulated myself when I started moving my body more – especially away from the refrigerator – during our stressful time. It’s tough to discipline myself while I’m confined at home, but I don’t want to wind up unhealthy when this is all over. Besides, consistent exercise and healthy eating do make me feel emotionally and physically better than laying around and snacking all day!

Unfortunately, even if I’m working hard to keep my energy up when my nerves are constantly on edge, it’s not enough. Decreased cellular energy production is a natural byproduct of aging itself, with many of our lifestyle choices adding insult to injury.

Over time, alcohol consumption, overeating, and a sedentary lifestyle are among the “stressors” that can play havoc with our “cellular metabolism.” If you were as poor a biology student as I, you’ll want to know that “cellular metabolism” encompasses all the biochemical reactions inside living organisms that keep us alive—and healthy!

Now we’re confronted with an unexpected stress in our lives, which complicates matters even more.

Scientists have learned this critical fact about aging: It significantly reduces the level of the most important molecule in every single cell of our bodies, called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). We all absolutely need NAD, they discovered, because it allows our cells to convert the fats, proteins and carbohydrates we eat into the energy we need to stay in shape. It also helps activate longevity genes, which control cellular aging, as well as all those chemical and biological processes that help us stay fit and healthy.

>> Help combat the normal effects of aging during our “new normal.”

Even if we do cardio and weight-bearing exercises all week, consume a diet of nutritious whole foods, get adequate sleep, and stay away from smoking and drinking, the unavoidable stresses of life will cause our NAD levels to decline. But a brilliant scientist has discovered that nicotinamide riboside (NR), a natural nutrient found in small amounts in milk, may actually help our cells replenish their NAD and support energy production in the cells.   

So, it makes complete sense that taking a supplement with a nature-identical form of NR will help increase our bodies’ NAD levels, and help maintain our vitality. ESPECIALLY NOW! 

Dr. Charles Brenner, the Stanford-educated PhD who discovered the connection between NR and NAD, is the Chief Scientific Advisor behind TRU NIAGEN®, the only NR supplement that we can buy directly from ChromaDex, the worldwide patent-holder and innovator behind it. When the scientific community first looked at Dr. Brenner’s research, I was excited to see that he had discovered something which research suggests has the potential to help us maintain our cellular health as we age.

I started taking TRU NIAGEN® every morning long before my life was severely interrupted. I feel as though it has given me overall feelings of wellbeing and consistent energy. A single serving every day produces clinically significant increases in NAD levels, supporting my desire to continue aging the best I can, even during my confinement. 

I have also started an exercise program at home and am trying my best to avoid eating unhealthy snacks all day long. 

Let’s Relieve Our Anxiety Together At A Video Therapy Session


We’re all unsettled – isolated, unable to see our grandchildren, or simply anxious about where life is headed. So we invited Dr. Carolina Pataky, one of the nation’s leading experts on relationships and self-discovery, to lead video therapy sessions where women in our community can participate in intimate groups. 

We’ll talk with Dr. Pataky about the effects of being away from the touch and care of our loved ones – and about how we can deal with the uncertainty of what’s next. 

THE ONE-HOUR SESSION, LIMITED TO 10 WOMEN, IS $25 –

A FRACTION OF WHAT YOU’D PAY FOR A GROUP DISCUSSION WITH A HIGHLY QUALIFIED, THOUGHTFUL PROFESSIONAL. 

Come by yourself or ask a group of your friends to sign up and join you.


{Sessions will be held on ZOOM, an app that’s easy as pie to download. We’ll send you details when you register.}

RESERVE YOUR PLACE NOW IN ONE OF DR. PATAKY’S GROUPS!

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2020

2 PM – 3 PM EASTERN TIME

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2020

5 PM – 6 PM EASTERN TIME