When Do You Become Old?

Is being old an age, a feeling, or both?


Some people seem to get old before their time.


They go about echting and kretzching–at 40 and 50, they are saying this hurts and I feel crummy about that!  Nu, I’m not 18 anymore!


Other people never, literally almost never seem to get old.


One lady I know is going to be 94 this month and she is going strong mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It almost seems impossible.  


This guy in the photo has a funny shirt on that says:

“I thought growing old would take longer.”


Yeah, it does sort of creep up on you, but really, really fast.  Like where the heck did that come from!


I know inside for me, I always still feel like a kid. 


I have the same funny side, playful side, and curious side; the desire to be productive and accomplish something meaningful with my life and time, and to love and be loved. 


Yeah, things hurt a little more than they did years ago–can’t believe the things I used to be able to do–Yes, at one time, I use to break cinder blocks with my bare hands, true!


But now, I can do other things like swim and hike and I love to write things that I am passionate about or to be a little creative too!


Maybe we do not get old…maybe we are just like caterpillars that morph into something else like butterflies during this life and into the life beyond. 


Age is experience, learning, growth–lots of mistakes–and then recovering and trying again and harder.  


Life is wonderment and excitement and appreciation for every amazing beautiful thing. 


No, life does not get old. 


Suffering and loss gets old quick and wish it never was. 


But we are physical bodies with eternal souls, so we go on and on into the wild blue yonder. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Rich, Famous, and Suicide

So I can’t believe that Kate Spade (55) committed suicide — Hanging. 


What an amazing fashion designer–so much to live for!


Famous for her gorgeous handbags (that used to be the business my dad was in too). 


Her net worth was $150,000,000!


Why does someone so beautiful, successful, rich, and famous take their life???


Ultimately, none of these things make happy or meaning in life!


Still, it is incredibly hard to understand seemingly having so much and throwing your life away–unless of course, we consider terrible things like severe depression and other horrible illnesses that can break anyone. 


Yet, there seem to be so many of these hugely successful people that take or lose their lives so young and with still so much to give the world:


Alan Turing (41) — Cyanide


Alexander McQueen (40) – Hanging 


Amy Winehouse (27) — Alcohol 


Chris Benoit (40) — Broken Neck


Christine Chubbuck (29) — Shooting


Dana Plato (34) – Overdose


Ernest Hemingway (61) — Shooting


Jerzy Kosinski (57) — Overdose


Kurt Cobain (27) — Shooting


L’Wren Scott (49) — Hanging


Lucy Gordon (28) — Hanging


Marilyn Monroe (36) — Overdose

Michael Jackson (50) — Overdose


Mike Alfonso (42) – Hanging


Prince (57) — Overdose


Robbin Williams (63) –Hanging


Sawyer Sweeten (19) — Shooting

Sylvia Plath (30) – Gas Oven 


Vincent Van Gogh (37) — Shooting


Virginia Woolf (59) – Drowning 


Whitney Houston (48) — Drowning 

G-d should have mercy and help to take away the pain and suffering from people so that they can live and not die prematurely anymore. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Have a Heart: Leadership With Heart

So many of you already know my leadership mantra. 


It’s all about:

Leadership With Heart


That means understanding that workers are human beings. 


Yes, they should act as professionals.


But also, they are people with imperfections and problems.


Whether they are fighting addiction, debt, illness, mental health issues, family problems, abuse, or personal loss. 


Life happens.


And it’s not always pleasant. 


Unfortunately, it seems like we are tested all the time. 


Therefore, good leaders, real leaders…lead with heart. 


They focus on the mission, but also empower, develop, and have empathy for the people. 


Think of the people you know in leadership positions today. 


Are they leaders with heart or heartless sons of guns. 


Who do you want to follow into the future?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Synagogue, To Laugh And To Cry

So I am learning that synagogue is more than a place to worship G-d.


It is a place of and for the people to express their full range of emotions. 


Frankly, I think it is a place for people to laugh and to cry. 


Rarely, a week goes by when not one or both of these emotions/actions happen. 


Yes, we cry out to G-d in supplication and also are joyous in his holy majesty and presence. 


But more than that, as a community, we come together to share of our week and ourselves with each other. 


One one hand, we laugh with each other at the funny and ridiculous things that happen to us and at the joy we feel for the blessings that G-d bestows on us daily. 


On the other, we cry on each other’s shoulders at the pain and loss that we (G-d forbid) at times must face and endure in the face of illness, evil, and tragedy.


Just today, both things happened in the synagogue and my heart was at one time uplifted with gladness and then at another greatly saddened with the hurt shared–occurrences of each in just a short span of time. 


Yes, we laugh and we cry together–alone, it is at once empty and at the other unbearable. 


We need to support each other; there is no other way that is not extreme madness. 


Put your arms around another to embrace them in great happiness and to let them cry mightily on your shoulder. 


Sharing with each other at our houses of worship–that is how we show G-d that we are bound to Him and to each others’ souls–all children of G-d trying to make it together to the next service. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Together 4Ever

In elementary school, the children sing about love and romance. 

“The spades go.
Two lips together.
Twilight forever. 
Bring back my love to me.”


When 2 people are together, it’s as if the angels in heaven themselves are dancing and singing. 


Love seems to make everything in the world right again. 


Recently, an old person from my building lost his wife of over 60 years!


I see him around and while he continues to go about doing his everyday things, I can see that he misses his wife so much. 


He is broken, and his strength is gone. 


I remember my grandfather and father the same way when they lost my grandmother and mother, respectively. 


Completely devastating to them–their wives were their lives and what made them complete– afterward, they were never really the same. 


Our companions are truly our other halves. 


When someone asked the old man from my building how he was doing late last week, he simply responded:

“I’m getting along the best that I can.”


He said it was such sadness and loneliness for his wife who passed that his words literally cut right through me. 


People need each other–no one is an island–and especially loving couples who have been together for decades and decades–they are for each other and with each other, even if “together forever” is just a song that children sing…it is what we all ultimately wish for. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

White Lie, Black Truth

No this is not another civil or human rights post, although I like writing those as well. 


Rather, this is about how we use our words to help and not hurt others. 

“White Lie, 

Black Truth”

Yes, we all know that it’s wrong to lie (it’s even in the 10 Commandments). 


Except, of course, when we need to tell a “white lie” in order to keep someone’s feelings from getting hurt.


For example, I may not like your new haircut, but when you ask me glowingly what I think, instead of telling you how it’s too short or whatever, I tell you, “Yeah, it looks great!”


Then, there is the “black truth.”


That’s when we swallow hard and tell the  truth to someone, even though it may hurt their feelings, it’s ultimately for their good. 


For example, your child may be going of course with their lives, and while you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you know you need to tell them the truth in order to help them course-correct.


Telling lies or truth can be hurtful to people, but a white lie isn’t really bad, because it’s used to protect someone’s feeling, the black truth, is also not so dark and foreboding, because there are times when you need to get past the superficial, be real with someone, and tell them the hard truth in order to help them in a very practical sense. 


That’s one of life’s most difficult lessons, that not everything is black or white. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Longevity…85 Is The New 65

Youth.jpeg

So I was speaking to one of our very nice elderly neighbors.


Last week he lost his dear wife of 60 years!


I had visited him during Shiva (the Jewish period of mourning) to wish him our best and let him know we are there if there is anything he needs. 


He told me how the night before she passed, they had gone out to eat and to the theatre (she loved the theatre)…and everything was fine!


And then the next day, he went to work–he still teaches medicine at the local hospital 2 days a month.


At midday, he called his wife and asked how she was and if she needed anything from the store (to eat etc.)


She told him she was fine and she didn’t need anything. 


But by the time he got home just one hour later…she had fallen, hit her head, and died. 


He tried to do CPR by it was no use, she was gone. 


Both he and his wife were 84-years old. 


He mentioned that would tease her that he was 3 months older than her, and so she had to listen to him!


I felt so bad for him…it was obvious how much he loved her and missed her already. 


When he told me how old she was, I tried to say reassuringly:

“That’s a good old age…at least she lived a full life!”


But then he answered:

“84–that’s nothing! 85 is the new 65!!!”  

And went on to tell me how many of their friends are already in the 90’s. 


It’s funny how no matter what age you are…there is always a will to live!


He said how she had passed quickly and so maybe he could consider that a blessing. 


And we talked about how it truly is especially when some other people really suffer prolonged periods with terrible debilitating and painful illnesses. 


It was also strange that around the same time, I ran into yet another elderly neighbor, and he had tears in his eyes…and I asked how he is. 


He told me how he just learned 3 weeks ago that his wife has lung cancer. 


Seeing his expression how bad things were, I inquired what stage it was at. 


He said, “stage 3 cancer,” and I told him as well how sorry I was for his pain. 


All this made me realize again, how very tenuous life is…and we all hang by a thread that G-d decides at any moment when to shear and when to cut–we need to live every moment to the fullest and as if it’s our last. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)