Remember those days of black and white television ... Greenacres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mr Ed, Lost in Space, I Love Lucy, and Dougal Stevenson reading the news in his best BBC voice?
And then, finally, on 31st October 1973, glorious living colour came to New Zealand's screens - just in time for the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.
What a thrill! I recall that like it was yesterday, and I'm as excited now as I was back then when I watched my first TV show in colour. Because ... from our next issue - August - the Beacon will be printed in FULL COLOUR!
Now, I know that it is winter, and some of us are prone to hibernation, but I do hope there is stuff happening out there because we also have four extra pages to fill! So, get your articles to me by Friday 14th July and let's put together a fabulous new colour issue of the Beacon.
Does your organisation have something coming up that you'd like to share with the community? Let me know what it is so we can work towards an article together.
And don't forget our What's Happening column where you can remind everyone of events that are coming up or happening regularly.
Remember, this is your paper, reaching your community.
So you are looking forward to retirement. Roll on 65, you say. Over the six previous issues in this series we introduced this topic and looked at the Big Picture, Health, Finances, Changing Environment and Wounds of Life. This final article summarises our discussions on what can be a scary season of life for many men and women. As with any season of life you need a life plan, and the third age is no different. This season of life should be the most influential and rewarding.
So to WRAP IT UP:
LIFE PLAN. Make a life plan for the third age which may (should) include a budget (maybe the first time for many years).
FINANCES. You will probably never be as wealthy as the day you enter the third age, so plan your life well according to your income and savings.
SWALLOW PRIDE. There are many changes and potential challenges in the third age of life, but also great reward if the season is well-lived. To make this season the most influential and rewarding of your life, do not be slow to seek help or the wisdom of peers. Swallow your pride.
TIME. Use your increased free time wisely. Review recreational activities.
HEALTH. Monitor your health at least annually. Be proactive and have any concern checked so that you may grow old and full of years.
PHYSICAL. Increase your level of physical activity. You will need to do more to maintain your current level of fitness.
ISOLATION. Avoid becoming isolated from family and friends. Watch for any pattern of depression and be proactive in getting help.
ADDICTION. Deal to any area of addiction.
CHANGING ENVIRONMENT. Be prepared for changes. Be proactive in making necessary life changes including reviewing your location of living.
WOUNDS OF LIFE. Deal to the wounds of life so they do not control and define you in the third age.
RELATIONSHIPS. Leave a legacy in your relationships. Restore broken relationships. Invest in people as a prime focus of your third age years.
PREPARE TO DIE. Make sure you have all your affairs in order and tidy. Your Will, Power of Attorney, and Wishes.
WORLD VIEW. Review your world view beliefs. Make sure you are at peace with your choices, that you know who you are and where you are going. It will define why you are here and how you live out your third age years.
DON’T GO IT ALONE. Loneliness and isolation is a dangerous place to be. Making decisions without input from others can also be dangerous.
If you are in your fifties, now is the time to start thinking about your third age of life. If you are one to three years away from retirement (entering the third age) then plan for the third age. If you are in the third age and have drifted into it with little planning, it is never too late to review where you are at and where you want to go, within the limitations that are part of your reality. It is never too late to life plan.
Live the third age well. Plan to ‘grow old and full of years.’ Invest in relationships and build a legacy. Make this season of life the most influential and rewarding.
1. Am I having annual health checks?
2. Is there some area of concern that I should get checked out now?
3. Am I exercising enough? Do I need to get some advice?
Ramble Alert: I’m probably going to be ramblier than usual.
The genesis of these somewhat ambiguous ramblings is my growing awareness of how differently my children’s generation thinks and behaves, to how my generation thinks and behaves. There’s always been a generation gap, but I have a feeling it’s wider than ever before. It’s like they are a completely different tribe. This generation has been influenced like no other by mass media, including state education. It’s interesting to observe that this is not just here in our Kiwi corner, but all throughout the western world.
Personally, I do my very best to avoid being influenced by popular cultural messages without examining them for their validity or usefulness. It’s actually very hard to do because I’m not a hermit. I watch TV, listen to the radio when I’m driving, flip through Facebook occasionally. Plus, I’m an editor, so it would be silly to ignore what’s going on out there. I’d get fired. Wait, I’m self-employed. Yeh, nah, I’d still fire myself if I lived in a bubble and called myself an editor.
The popular ideas of our society are transmitted 24/7 through mass media, in a circular, self-validating fashion. As members of society we are all influenced in varying degrees by what we hear, see, and read, and even further by how widely-accepted the ideas are by our peers and those we look up to. We process these ideas through our own personal filters built up over the years since before we were even born. These filters are part of our ‘belief system,’ a very powerful force in the life of every single person on the planet.
In spite of being in charge of our very own belief system, it’s surprising that we don’t take more care in what we feed it. But with the pressures and stresses of everyday life, we unconsciously ingest ideas like our morning Weetbix, just spooning it in while watching the morning news on TV. We accept them as our reality, the new reality of modern times. Life as it is now. “Aah well,” we sigh, unaware that we have allowed our thinking to be infiltrated without too many checks and balances.
The difference in society is profound, from when I was a young adult to now (ok, yes, an old(er) adult). And not only in our little Kiwi society, but with the increase in technology we now find ourselves part of a global society. We can feel big and little all at the same time.
If you were around in the sixties, seventies and eighties you will know the difference I’m talking about. If you were not around then, you may remember this little editorial at some point in the future when you have your own “back in my day” epiphany. Don’t snigger behind your hand; I assure you, it will come.
Last month Graham asked the question “what’s the secret?”
“The secret to what?” you might ask. Well, for starters, “what makes for a good life”?” What brings lasting happiness?”
Policy makers and leaders worldwide nowadays are calling for measurable progress on human well-being and happiness, not just economic factors such as GDP growth. The media abounds with “Happiest Country in the World” stats – incidentally, New Zealand ranks 8th in the world, (behind Norway, Denmark and Iceland, but ahead of Australia). New World have even based a TV advert on it. Apparently, it’s a big deal. And I agree, 100%.
At the Beacon our focus is primarily on what benefits the community. It’s a deliberate and conscious effort to unite community, accentuate what adds to our well-being, and re-frame what doesn’t.
We humans can’t always change our circumstances, but we do have the power to change how happy we are by the way we approach our lives. Here are 10 areas that can make a big difference to our happiness, all of them within our control:
1. Caring about others – an outwardly focused expression of love
2. Close connections with people – providing love, meaning, support, self-worth, a sense of belonging.
3. Nurturing our body – has a profound effect on our mind.
4. Mindfulness – take time to smell the roses
5. Learning – keeps us curious and engaged, giving a sense of progress and accomplishment
6. Something to look forward to – a sense of hope for the future
7. Resilience – how we respond to stress, loss, failure or trauma
8. A positive outlook – Fostering feelings of joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, pride
9. Self-acceptance – helps us to show kindness and forgiveness to ourselves and others
10. Be part of something bigger – religious or spiritual beliefs, meaningful work, family. “It’s not about me”
What do you think about this? Let us know via the contact form [here]
Six people I know suicided in the first three months of 2015. They were all middle-aged men, except for one guy in his 30s. I had never been to a suicide funeral before that. Suddenly I was going to two.
We live in a fantastic country, in a time of relative peace. Our part of Auckland is a wonderful community. Yet it is easy to be lonely in a crowd.
What is it with men? Young guys always have a heap of mates who they hang out with. As they get into the family stage of life, they are often too busy to maintain many close friendships. This is the start of becoming more isolated.
As the storms of life – relational, health, employment and financial issues strike, men seldom have true, genuine male friends to walk with them.
I have developed some deep friendships. These have been a result of intentionally spending time together. We often meet weekly to catch up and process the events of the week together. This investment of time results in really knowing each other and caring about how each of us is doing. There are so many situations we face in life, but it is a tragedy if we have to face them alone.
There is reassurance in having friends that I could call at 2.00am if I needed to. I know that I can rely on them and they have my back. Isn’t that the way it should be?
Friends, family and community are what we make them. May you enjoy the blessing of true friendships.
I find myself strangely at a loss for words. We are entering the Christmas season. Christmas: a Christian celebration based upon the story of the birth of Jesus, Prince of Peace.
It’s no wonder that so many prefer to focus on Santa at Christmas. He’s a great guy! Jesus, on the other hand, appears to have got it wrong. Didn’t He come to bring peace on earth? What’s with that?
In Luke 2:14 angels announced to some terrified shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Since the angels’ announcement we have seen an endless string of wars. Humans everywhere have conflict in relationships, and stress – the absence of peace - is well-known as one of the biggest causes of dis-ease.
For many, Christmas confronts us with two conflicting realities that are hard to reconcile. I believe it is this conflict that causes so many to relegate the Biblical story of the birth of the Son of God to a myth. A nice story. A tradition. A reminder that we should all be nicer.
But, just because it’s hard to grasp, and our eyes and our ears tell us of a different ‘reality,’ it doesn’t have to disqualify the divine message of peace. Perhaps we just need to look at it differently, and perhaps we just need to be a little more open to a mystery.
Life is full of mystery, which I, for one, think is pretty cool. For those of us who take the time to dive into its depths, and ponder the mysteries, some real treasure can be found. Including the truth about peace.
For now, I wish you all a fabulous summer, and some light-bulb moments as you take time to ponder some weird, conflicting Christmas mysteries.
When will you get the November issue of BEACON BHB?
This week is printing and distribution week. We were aiming for letterbox distribution Tues/Wed 1-2 Nov. It is a short week with everyone trying to do 20% more. The press broke down and the technician was crazy busy - because of the short week. Words Inc boss Brom did the night shift to try and hit the deadlines.
Meanwhile we have the digital edition uploaded and ready to go to our subscribers. You can join our BEACON villiage here for free> http://www.bhb.nz/subscribe---free.html
It's been a challenging week in the Subritzky household, and consequently, my "hurry up and get your articles and ads in for the NOVEMBER issue" email is well overdue. Apologies for that, but you have until the end of business Tuesday (18th) to do so.
When John and I took over this newspaper back in May, we had a lot of enthusiasm and high hopes, but very little experience. We were excited for this opportunity, and came with two, intertwined goals:
(1) to write and source articles that people want to read, and
(2) to make the paper worthy of the trust of our advertisers.
They remain our goals, front and centre, every issue.
It's been a steep learning curve, with its ups and downs, but we have enjoyed the journey.
We frequently receive feedback from sources such as email, social media, website contact form etc, as well as from people we meet out and about. The general vibe has been overwhelmingly positive about how they love to read the Beacon, comments on the various articles, and how good it is to have a community paper that reflects community issues, happenings and opinions.
Although we have developed a particular 'flavour,' we aim to have something in there for everyone.
Yes, people do read - and digest - our paper! A few weeks back I was having coffee at the Block with a friend and noticed a couple sitting there, both reading copies of the Beacon. I was pretty darn chuffed to see that.
Another goal has been to create consistency in the delivery date, which we have now achieved. We were aiming at having the Beacon in letterboxes by the 1st of each month, and October we finally hit our target. It was necessary to plan the preceding months in such a way that we eventually get to our goal, and it's our pleasure now to be able to give everyone some fairly reliable dates to be able to work with.
So, here they are. Roughly speaking you will need to get your bookings and articles in by the middle of the month, for inclusion in the following month's paper.
It would seem that over the past half century there was something happening – or more accurately, not happening – that has had a huge impact on the current society today. At some point we stopped passing on the knowledge that had been passed on to us; gardening, food knowledge – medicinal and cooking, bottling, pickling, knitting, sewing, crocheting, fixing stuff – cars, houses, plumbing, wiring etc.
We gradually gave over the responsibility for that to the “experts.” Medical practitioners, educators, government – we looked to authorities for our answers. We gave away our personal power, and our confidence in our ability to solve our own problems, to “the authorities” – the people in charge – and we don’t know how to get it back.
How did that happen? Well, at some point we decided that it was more convenient to shop for our food, giving rise to supermarkets. And, we needed stuff that we didn’t have – new stuff. That required more income than what the average person could bring in, so both husband and wife became income earners.
Efficiency became the new virtue of society, and without any thought or awareness of the consequences, progress happened. Much of it has been good, but there has been a cost. The cost has been to our society.
Over the past several decades, there has been a widening gap in society between the generations. We now find ourselves with a society that has major generational disconnects. The exchanges that used to be a normal part of family and community life, across all stages of our lifespan - childhood, adulthood, elders - are no longer a common part of everyday life. We have institutionalised much of our society – from day-care to retirement villages, and natural opportunities for interaction have been lost.
A re-balancing of society is certainly necessary, but here’s the thing: There is only one way this can happen, and that is if we are part of it. We must unlearn the habit of expecting the government to sort out our problems for us. For the “educators” to educate our children. For the experts to tell us how to live.
We have the ability, and the mandate, to breathe life into society, and make the changes we want to see happen. We have knowledge. We have expertise that is in danger of being lost to the generations that follow, unless we wake up and realise what is happening, and, we need to learn new ways of communicating inter-generationally.
But there is more to pass on than just “knowledge.” It’s that indefinable sense of who we are, that is not getting through.
We also need to believe that what we have within us is worthy of communicating. We need to honour the deposits of our own parents and grandparents who passed on their knowledge, and look for those who want to learn from us. And, the wise among us know that learning is a two-way street; the younger generation can teach us a thing or two as well – and I’m not just talking about technology.
Make sure you read Jim Battersby’s story (front page) as his story offers a solution. Also check out Jai Payal’s article on page 4, which relates to much of these ideas.
Our society has an obsession with youth. Our media and our institutions are dominated by anti-aging technology and remedies, all with the aim of retaining youth and staving off the inevitable. But aging is not a technical problem. It’s a design problem. It’s a problem of society, and the way we perceive aging.
Shakespeare looked at life as a world stage, in which were seven acts. We see just three; childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Nothing in between, and nothing beyond. Our thinking on old age is akin to the middle ages when it was believed that if you sailed too far you would fall off the edge of the world.
About 65 years ago there was an unprecedented event in history when an enormous generation was born into society. We call them the Baby Boomers. This generation was so massive and dense, that each life stage they occupied was magnified, with the effect of actually bending culture.
As the Boomers occupied adulthood they embraced it with vigour. Efficiency and productivity was the virtue of the day, and their children experienced childhood as no other before them had. Rather than childhood being a cocoon of time and space set aside for growth and development, adulthood had grown across the lifespan. Youthful adulthood now dominates our society, having the ability to suck the joy and pleasure out of our daily lives.
The obsession of this post-war generation with youthful adulthood has led to some big ideas that have actually robbed our society of important social milestones. For many, growing old carries a stigma that is unpleasant, and fervently resisted. Growing old is associated with no longer being useful, and in our culture, if you are not useful, you disappear. You have sailed to the edge of the world, and slipped over the horizon. Rest homes are full of people serving life sentences for nothing more than the crime of frailty.
However, there is a single, beautiful, inevitable truth; Every day we wake up to find that we are one day older. This is a law that has the power of water over stone, and is the leveller that has the power to transform society, if we allow it. The Boomer generation are burning with desire to avoid life’s next great developmental change, but it will still come. And as the boomers leave adulthood they will forge a path into something that we barely believe exists.
Yes, there is life beyond adulthood. Its name is Elderhood.