Remember when the only time we talked about ZOOM was when we were discussing Superman, Tinkerbell or Sonic the Hedgehog? Well, you’ve come a long way, baby!
Now, the word ZOOM can be:
An adjective: “We can connect on a Zoom call.”
A noun: “Let’s use Zoom to conduct the meeting."
And even a verb: “Let’s Zoom at 1:30 Eastern time.”
Remember, too, when we thought that the only people who hung around computers and got their mail electronically were … ‘geeks?’ (Sorry). As of 2019, the percentage of adults in the U.S. who use the internet looks like this:
Psychologist Matthew D. Lieberman, professor at UCLA says in his book, Social, that “the human need to connect is as important as the need for food and shelter.” But how are we supposed to connect at this time when we are told to stay home, limit in-person exposure, and wear a mask?
Enter ZOOM (noun). Don’t sigh and tell me you are tired and bored with the ‘on-line, sitting-at-your-computer-and-watching’ activity. In fact, what was often thought of as impersonal and just too ‘electronic’ has become a rescuer of the lonely, a partner in exercise, an entertainment source, and truly an educational tool for all ages at all stages.
“the human need to connect is as important as the need for food and shelter.”
I know some people have a love/hate relationship with technology. I know, too, that when you are zooming (verb) you can sometimes feel ‘lost in the crowd.’ But if planned properly, there is a way to host an on-line meeting that can be a lot of fun.
Let me introduce you to Zoom (adjective) BREAKOUT ROOMS:
When I started talking about this, my friend Suzanne, said, “Hooray! A place to take a break from the tiresome world of Zoom!” Bob, on the other hand, said, “That sounds like a great way to sneak away from the meeting altogether!” But I think you will find Breakout Rooms to be a welcome change from the full meeting.
I recently attended a conference via Zoom (noun). There were more than 75 people in attendance, and I said my ‘hellos’ to the little rectangles that kept popping up on the screen. Of course, since all of us were muted by the host, I sat at my computer sounding something like this:
“Hello!” “Oh, it’s Joanne – Hi, Joanne!” “Wait – there’s Gary! Hi, Gary.” I was waving my hand around like an airport runway attendant hoping someone would respond. Of course, they couldn’t hear me. At some point my husband shouted from the other room, “What? Are you talking to me?” Finally, I had to settle for my greeting being a yellow emoji hand-wave in the corner of my rectangle.
The meeting officially opened. After we heard the introductions and the agenda, we listened to the invited speaker. Then, just as I was searching for when the first pause in the program would be, the host said, “Ok, now we are going to go to BREAKOUT ROOMS.”
Let’s think about this for a moment here. When you (used to) go to a big gathering of folks, how many people do you actually get to speak with? How often do you introduce yourself to someone you don’t know? When does everyone in the meeting actually get to speak up and share?
The real secret to keeping safe from Zoomitis (yes, even a new word!) is Breakout Rooms. Here’s how it works: The ‘host’ of your Zoom meeting has the control button titled “Breakout Rooms” along the bottom of the screen. Once pressed, this offers the chance to create new, smaller rooms in which to connect, based on the number of people per room requested and the duration of time spent there. In my case, we were often broken into no more than four per room, usually for 8-10 minutes, depending on the assignment.
The real secret to keeping safe from
Covid-19 says: Ok… So you got restless sitting around. You figured out that taking walks and joining those online exercise classes
help you feel physically fit while I’m around? Good for you. Guess I’ll
find somebody else who spends most of the day thinking exercise is getting up to check out what’s in the refrigerator. Speaking of the fridge, are those pants you always put on getting tighter... ?
I say: “Things turn out best for those people who make the best
of how things turn out” is a mantra to live by. Having a positive mental outlook helps make you more resilient and able to better handle the changes that come your way. Sometimes, those plans you made just aren't going to work out. On the other hand, with a positive outlook you may start a new business or envision a whole new career.
According to a 2019 report by the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the greatest share of older Americans in more than 50 years are working well into their 60s, and it's not because they need the money. Whatever you choose to do, work now on becoming more optimistic and you’ll be better able to handle stress.
Covid-19 says: Ha! I’m keeping you on your toes – is the curve up or leveling? Should you go out or stay in? Since everyone is home now, what’s for lunch? (Depressed yet?) I have to admit that somehow you really are pretty resilient. You’re using this time to clean out closets, plant that garden, and enjoy family time! Did I hear conversations about being grateful? About having confidence that the scientists will eventually come up with a vaccine? It kinda takes the fun out of my search and destroy.
I say: "One of life’s basic human needs is connection." When thinking about retiring, how will you stay connected? If most of your friends and acquaintances have been people you work with, be aware that you will not be joining them for lunch every day. If you move somewhere near your kids and grandkids, remember kids grow up and are busy with their friends and activities. Take a good look at yourself. Think about who you are now and what you enjoy doing. Broaden your social network, and have a discussion with your partner about his/her vision of life in retirement.
Covid-19 says: Well, for those of you who have the ‘go-go’s’ just get
used to being at home. ‘Make new friends but keep the old,’ and all
that? Well, maybe. But just because you are getting out a bit, don’t plan too many big dinners and parties yet. I’m still here. Although…, there does seem to be a lot of new neighborhood friendships happening.
I noticed that before I arrived you never took the time to get to know your neighbors. Looks a lot different now. By the way, what’s the deal with Zoom? I thought it was just for business meetings! Lots of you guys got really creative and figured out how to work from home with meetings, talk and play with the grandkids, and even form book clubs where you can meet new people. Impressive. But just remember, it’s true I don’t like the heat - but there’s always winter!
I say: "When I talk about spirituality, I am talking about who you are as a
person – your basic core beliefs and values." Goals and priorities change as you get older. No longer do you strive for the promotion or the bigger house and fancier car. Instead, ask yourself, how important is feeling fulfilled? Spending time with family and friends? Being creative and motivated? Shifting easily into retirement requires taking inventory of yourself.
Covid-19 says: Well, well, look at that. You people have been so quick to reach out to each other. Even being kind enough to share your toilet paper? Amazing! After the restaurants closed, some of the owners kept people on by cooking meals for doctors, nurses and others at the hospitals. Impressive. I even hear that the donation centers are overloaded with bags and boxes of things that you finally realized you didn't need any more. (And you are not even waiting for the tax receipt!) All this “We are in this together,” stuff was a real surprise. But, whatever. I’m still here - until you figure out how to get rid of me!
Keep practicing! Get physical; find creative ways to spend your time, and continue to offer random acts of kindness to your friends and neighbors. And feel good knowing that you are paving the path to retirement!
I certainly found it in a recent article on retirement in Forbes Magazine. The author, Joseph Coughlin, a well-known researcher, teacher, and head of the MIT Age Lab, talked about “The New Math of Retirement Togetherness.”
It went something like this: There are 164 hours in a week. During that time, approximately 8 hours a day are spent sleeping, leaving 112 waking hours in a week for each of us. [No, this is not an SAT Math question.]
Now, if a typical workday is, say, 9 hours, that makes it minus 45 hours a week away from your partner. This brings it to 67 hours of together time. Then he continues his calculation by allowing an hour a day for travel (subtracting 5 for the workdays) and brought the discussion to 62 hours of ‘togetherness’ in a week.
But that’s not quite the end of the math. Professor Coughlin then went on to compare this number to the number of hours couples spend together in RETIREMENT. This means that the original 45 hours a week of work that were subtracted are now added back. Oh, and so are the 5 allowed for travel. So, let’s see, that’s now 45 + 5 = 50 divided by 5 = an extra 10 waking hours a day for a retired couple to spend together!
These are situations that you and your significant other must consider as retirement comes closer. Sure, visions of the perfect dream vacations and spontaneous trips to see the grandkids come to mind. Golf, beach, gardening and bike rides bring smiles. But how often will you do those things?
Just think about how smart and happy you will feel in retirement when you and your partner have already worked on these challenges! Perhaps you explored the opportunities for starting a new business or offering consulting in an area you know well. You’ll feel glad you made new friends in that Saturday morning photography class you signed up for two years ago and have been enjoying ever since.
The Bureau of Statistics notes that a male at 65 has, on the average, another 20 years to live and enjoy life. A female has around 22 years. Here’s one more math note: that is another 1/3 of your life
Help yourself enjoy your retirement by planning before you get there. Help your relationship with your partner by talking about and understanding each person’s wants and needs. Then,
Good Luck! Loretta
‘A’ squared plus ‘B’ squared = ‘C’ squared!
Now comes the big question. You are probably going to a Halloween party, so...
It’s a good idea to start planning now. Just like for Halloween, you’ll need to make some plans, decide how you want to spend your time, and then figure out how you will make it all happen. You can try on different costumes and take different paths towards the treats you so desire.
The special beauty of retirement is that you can always take off the costume if it becomes uncomfortable. Then you can change into something else!
He soon found that doing this all day every day was not really what he had in mind. So, he then cut back to going to the stables twice a week. And since he always liked writing, now he spends a lot of time writing mysteries set in the horseback riding world.
Recently, someone asked her to take photos of their son’s wedding and various other special events. That then turned into teaching photography as a continuing education course to adults at the local high school.
It all started with having a plan. That is the secret to success with most things, and it is really important in retirement. Sure, you might say you have your finances in order, but after all, retirement is about so much more than the money.
Some people facing retirement say:
- “Ah, – time to do what I want, when I want.”
- “I’m going to get up late and enjoy my coffee and the newspaper.”
- “Travel! I am going to travel!”
- “Well, I’ll probably start another company or get a paying job.”
All these sound great and interesting – on the surface. But let’s look at them more carefully.
“Ah, time to do what I want when I want.” Ok, but what do you want? And in what order do you want it? There may be a lot of choices and a lot of opportunities for you and your time. Thinking about it and planning ahead can make a huge difference and help avoid disappointment.
“I’m going to get up late and enjoy my coffee and the newspaper.” Ok, so assuming you don’t sleep later than 8:00, that brings us to around 10 a.m. Good for you! You are caught up on what is happening in the world. Now what? (And, by the way, if you’re only having coffee and you use a Keurig, you will probably be done by 9:30!)
“Travel! I am going to travel!” Yes! Plan those trips to your dream cities. And go. But remember, travel is getting harder and harder. Planes are cancelled; security causes long lines; prices are through the roof. And what if your knee starts hurting again? Just like you spend time planning the details of a trip, you need to have a plan for all those other weeks when you are not traveling!
“Well, I’ll probably start another company or get another job.” But wait, why did you retire in the first place? Will you make sure that you won’t face the difficulties and stressors that made you leave?
Don’t get me wrong – any of these are a good starting point for some real thinking and self-assessment. Being honest with yourself is a lot easier with an objective partner. A few sessions with a Retirement Coach can make all the difference.
Call me; let’s talk.
should you choose to accept it, is…”
Sometimes in life you do have choices. You can choose – even volunteer – for the mission. But sometimes the mission is simply forced on you, and then you have to navigate the challenges.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about TRANSITIONS. Often it’s as simple as going off to college or wanting to change jobs. Other times it’s finding yourself an empty nester, being ‘let go’ from a job, or becoming single after years of partnership. Or maybe you are moving from one place to another, just lost someone you love, or realize that you must RETIRE.
These transitions – or CHANGES – all force you to ask yourself similar questions:
- Who am I NOW?
- How will I spend my spare time?
- Which people will I surround myself with?
- How am I going to find fulfillment?
Each transition happens to a different you. It’s important to take a good look at who you are NOW. Then you can explore what you really want and make a plan for how to get there.
Coaching You Through the Transition
As a coach, I don’t give you the plan. Only you know what will make you enthused about getting up in the morning. But coaching will help you decide what you really want and what’s been stopping you from getting there. Once you are armed with that information, you’ll sharpen your focus and be ready for what lies ahead.
CHANGE – Some people can handle it just fine, and others, ‘not so much.’ Whether you are Jim (or Janet) and find that your:
- Relationship is changing;
- Lifestyle is changing;
- Attitude is changing;
- Job/place to live is changing;
- You’re getting married/Having a baby/Becoming empty nester; or
- Yikes! You’re going to Retire (!)
having a coach makes a big difference as you navigate the new environment. The “Transition Mission” is yours – and you have to choose to accept it. Let me help you make it an exciting
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC
As an active writer, both nationally and internationally, Loretta Saff's humor columns, blog, and lifestyle articles reflect an insight in dealing with situations that helps people get to their core issues and encourage confidence, trust and support.