“No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatsoever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.” Martha Graham (United States, May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991), modern dance pioneer.
“God has pitted you against a rought antagonist that you may be a conqueror, and this cannot be without toil.” Epictetus, Greek philosopher, (c. 50 – c. 135 AD)
That kind of encouragement from people who actually achieved great things later in life, bolster me to muscle through and finish writing my novels. Heck, anyone can tell us we’re never too old to embark on bold new adventures. But we all know what they say about seeing! To get any eyeful of believing, let’s take a gander at actress/author/blogger/lecturer Lee Gale Gruen.
A retired probation officer, Lee Gale first visited us here to describe her newfound passion for acting. Bringing her father along to classes inspired her to write her first book, “Adventures with Dad.”
These days she continues to act, now in the East San Francisco Bay Area. Catch some of her performances by typing her full name into the YouTube.com search bar.
Since she recently published a second book, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” I invited her to tell us about that too…
Too many retirees and seniors have no idea what to do in the new stage of their lives called retirement. Many sink into isolation and depression. When I first retired, I had no clue what to do next. My 37-year career as a probation officer was over, and my children were launched. I struggled for a long time to carve out a new identity for myself.
After trying many different things, none particularly satisfying, I mistakenly signed up for an acting class for seniors, thinking it was just a play reading group. I was hooked on acting that first day despite my lifelong stage fright. My 85-year-old father began attending the class with me and was my scene partner in the class showcases where we performed the humorous scenes I wrote for us. From there, I networked with classmates and learned about going on auditions. I eventually found an agent and booked real, paid acting jobs. I then got the idea of writing a memoir about it, and in 2013, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, was published.
As an author, I learned that I was expected to promote my book. Fortunately, I had slowly and painstakingly been able to overcome my crippling stage fright as a result of my acting. So, I started giving interviews and appearing before groups, talking about the book. People shared their own stories with me about how lost they felt since they retired. I realized I had something to give back to the community. I could show people how to reinvent themselves in retirement. I had discovered the secret: find a passion which will motivate you to want to get up in the morning, get dressed, get out of the house, and embrace life. That’s what happened to me after I discovered a passion for acting.
I developed a lecture from my own experiences as well as research I did, and I began giving talks titled “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years” aimed at the retiree and senior demographic. I also started writing a blog of the same name to share my thoughts, observations, and experiences with the goal of helping my readers reinvent themselves after they retire. I have been blogging and lecturing on this subject for the past eight years.
Audience members at my lectures began asking if they could buy a book about my talk. That has resulted in my recently published book which is an adjunct to my blog and lecture. All three share the same title, Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years. My new book contains the contents of my lecture as well as seven years of posts from my blog. It is available on Amazon by clicking here. My goal with my blog, lecture, and new book is to help retirees, those soon to retire, baby boomers, and seniors find joy, excitement, and purpose after they retire just like I did.
Seniors make up about a third of the population of the United States, so that’s a pretty big demographic. However, it’s often a forgotten group. It shouldn’t be. A group that big has great influence socially, economically, and politically. The senior population can learn to flex that muscle. It would improve their status and put them back into the role of wise and respected elders that they once held and really still are. There is no need for retirees and seniors to feel like their life is over. Plenty of exciting pursuits and opportunities await them. They only have to figure out what they might like, where it is, and how to access it. My new book is geared to help each individual find activities and pursuits at their own comfort level. It will guide them through the maze in developing their own “second act” in life.
For more about her, her books, and to connect with her, visit her blog.
Do you worry that you’re too old to accomplish something you ‘re passionate about?
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Often that 13th day falls around Easter, filling local parks to double their capacity. So many people gather that folks will run into childhood friends, ones from other countries.
Sheltering, quarantine, house arrest, what’s in a name? Yes, it’s grim, but it also bespeaks of a hopeful world, one where everyone is pulling together (not counting the every-present handful of conspiracy theorists). (Here and here and here and here and here and here are a few more posts to cheer you through the crisis.)
Nature Day was an at-home workday for us. Half-heartedly, my husband and I set a modest picnic under the dwarf kumquat tree in our little front yard. Our sweet doggie joined us for a quick round of cards over tea and Persian cookies. One thing led to another, and before we knew it, we were having fun. Then we ran back indoors to return to our at-home work. Dinner involved more Persian deliciousness – see in this post that reveals how Persian food has something for everyone!
No, I don’t have a right to complain — not when people have suffered far worse and continue to do so. We’re all well here. This far, California seems to have evaded the tsunami of illness that’s still predicted to swell, probably thanks largely to our horrid mass transit that scares folks off from piling together into busses and subways.
Family in Iran, thank the heavens, is fine if we don’t count how the country has been walloped by the epidemic, amid a grossly hobbled infrastructure.
I’m rambling. Forgive me. This is what one does when one is cooped up for weeks, relegated to video chats and to regarding anything to do with life outdoors as if its all of it is radioactive waste, from people to food to petting — hands off! — each other’s dogs, and why aren’t you wearing a mask? Well, I thought outdoors…
Thank goodness for the arts. I’ve got this video-post about my enchantment with those who pursue arts and hobbies for no other compensation than inner glee.
A gift to you from Iran! Here’s some of my extended family there sharing fine musicianship — enjoy their classical Persian music performance of “Tak Derakt: Single Tree”…
With that loveliness in mind, here are a few photos from my dear husband’s visit to Tehran several years ago. (Here and here are more about that same trip.)…
If you want a better idea of how a real Sizdah Bedar is meant to be, look here and feel here.
How are you fairing indoors, dear reader? Healthy and happy, I hope…
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2020 is taking a bit of a nosedive, no? So let’s celebrate the new year again! My husband was born in Iran, where it’s Nowrooz, a non-religious holiday. Here we are with our Persian New Year’s setting…
Spring and new years are laden with blossoms of promise. Regardless of what occurs outside ourselves, they’re opportunities to release our pasts and do what we can to foster good times ahead.
In addition to Iran, other countries participate in Persian New Year (aka Nowrooz, which is spelled many ways due to varying phonetic translations). The list includes Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Albania. Even Japan celebrates a version of Nowruz!
Here’s a speech about Persian New Year I performed as a member of Toastmasters…
My wish for you, dear reader, that the future brings only the best to you and your loved ones.
Think it’s too late to write a memoir or to take on a new career? Actress/author/blogger/lecturer Lee Gale Gruen describes how, since she retired, she’s reinvented herself many times over (here’s also an update on her)…
When I retired from my 37-year career as a probation officer, and I found myself with nothing meaningful in my life and decades looming. I mistakenly enrolled in an acting class at a senior citizens’ program, thinking it was a play discussion group. When I was forced to perform in a scene in front of the class, my lifelong stage fright kicked in. However, my shaky voice strengthened as I became completely immersed in my character, unaware of the sea of eyes watching and judging me. What a high! I became hooked on acting.
After my mother died, my outgoing, charismatic father, Marvin, became depressed and withdrawn. “Come with me to my acting class, Daddy” I blurted out to cheer him up. After some convincing, he agreed.
Midway through the class, the teacher called on Marvin to perform an improv with another class member. He really hammed it up and later asked me, “So, when are you picking me up for our next class?”
That started us on a magical journey attending the class together for three years, bonding more than ever. I wrote the humorous Dad/Daughter scenes we performed in the class showcase every six months. The audience members loved us; Marvin loved the attention; and I loved acting and making him happy. All six scenes are included in the book.
I transitioned into the world of professional acting. As my fledgling second career started going uphill, my father’s health started going downhill. I shared all my new acting experiences with him at the nursing home where he resided in his final years.
Spring and the start of any new year are laden with happy promise — those of releasing past griefs and embracing potential good times ahead.
I wish you, dear reader, all the best for this new season that for many countries also marks the start of a new calendar year.
Here’s a speech I did for Toastmasters…
Persian New Year (aka Nowrooz, which is spelled a variety of ways due to varying alphabets) is not (n-o-t) a religious holiday. Moreover, other countries also (a-l-s-o) celebrate it, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Albania.