BINGO

Card or Online – Lots of Fun

What shall I talk about today or shall I say “rant and rave” about? Being the old fart that I am, let’s talk about something seniors and retirees such as myself have been doing for centuries and that is play BINGO!

What is it about the game of BINGO that fascinates players around the world today? Yes, I said, around the world. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, believe it or not, Bingo has been around since before 1530 and really only came into being in the United States in the 1900s when it was a carnival game by the name of “beano.”

But, as members of the community where I live know it, Bingo is a game they cannot wait to play every Monday night. It is interesting to me how many players look forward to their Monday evening night of fun and the things they do to personalize it and make it their own. For instance, say the games only start at 7 PM, players will actually come to our clubhouse several hours before, enter the hall, choose or should I say mark their table by placing something personal in the spot they intend to sit at for the three hours once the games begin, leave and then return about 30 – 40 minutes prior to the games starting time. And woe is the individual that attempts to sit in that spot (usually the newbie that has never played before and doesn’t know how the game is played). Dedicated players take Bingo playing very seriously as evidenced by the marking of their territory.

But, truth be told, no matter where bingo is being played or what seat you end up sitting in, playing bingo brings joy to seniors and retirees all over the world as they come together to enjoy a night of fun as they share the thrill of an active (depending on the caller), animated game.

While it has been some time since I have actually sat and played Bingo, just listening to the callers yell out some of the cute catchphrases that represent the actual number can be entertaining in and of itself. For instance, “One dozen” would be called for the number 12 or quite possibly, “Unlucky” might be called for the number 13. I could go on but I am sure you get my drift.

Bottom line – I am keeping this post short as I myself am new when it comes to the history of BINGO. Fact is I will be learning more as I go along. But, believe it or not, bingo is now one of the most popular games in the world. I mean think about it – it is so easy to pick up, it is not hard to follow, is a great game to bring people together, and get them chatting. And this applies to whether it is played in a clubhouse, in a classroom, or now that we have the Internet and access to so many “smart” devices, it’s a great game of fun, luck of the draw, and speed.

Bingo first went online in 1996 and as a game that is continually developing and changing, easily offers players numerous choices on how to play the game. An educated guess is that more than 9,000 to 10,000 games of bingo are played every day online in addition to the Bingo halls which now offer both the table games as well as access to the online games.

Who knows, I may even go back to playing Bingo on Monday evenings here in our park as I am sure my wife would enjoy a night out once a week. That’s it for now,

Until next time!

Retirement

Thought I would write a short post about retirement – leastways – my thoughts on the subject!

This is the life!

Retirement – why do some of us embrace it while others tend to either shy away from it or look at it as some unwanted plague? Truth be told, I was somewhat astonished when I learned I wasn’t able to dodge the bullet one more time as I had done so many times before. But that was way back when (1995 to be exact). But, I swallowed my pride, began sending out resumes, and subsequently acquired another job albeit an underwriting job for which I was more than over-qualified. But, it was a job and it helped to put food on the table and a roof over our head and so I accepted it and began my new career, if you will. But, alas, the cards were not with me that year because nine months later (no my wife did not have another baby) my underwriting job was going away too as that company also decided to down-size and yup, you got it – last in – first out. I was only 55, and a few months away from being 56.

How did we handle it? We took it as a sign and decided to down-size ourselves and we haven’t looked back since.  Why? Because the skills we had learned up to that point in our lives were no different than what would come to be known as our retirement skills as we moved forward in our new roles as retirees. Let’s face it – being free from the constraints of the daily 9-5 daily routine allows one to also be free to use whatever combination of life experiences, skills, talents, and personality we have already been through. Also, if applied correctly, these past experiences and so forth enable us to utilize the expertise gained over our working career that will create an existence in retirement designed to satisfy us.     

Is it easy? Not particularly. Some embrace retirement from day one while others seem consumed with all types of difficulties. Take it from me adjustment to this new lifestyle is not without its problems. We all have to learn to work and make compromises.  What matters is how we look at our expectations as we move forward and learn to make adjustments be they around finances, time, health issues or whatever. Retirement involves many of the trials we experienced during our working years – trials such as adversity, heartache, disappointments, as well as failures.

But, hey….it can be done! This past December (just last month) we have been retired 23 years and still are loving it!

Quiet Time – Good Habit to Follow

The quietness of mornings!

One of the things I believe we must do daily is to set aside a particular – “Quiet” – time for ourselves. A time when we have anywhere from an hour to an hour and one-half of “just me” time. No disruptions, no noise, no telephone interruptions, just an hour or so I have for myself. I am trying to get accustomed to making this time around 5:00 AM or 5:30 AM in the morning as at that time, it is quiet outside and with my wife sleeping in the next room, I am in complete solitude. While some people may say this sounds crazy – I personally think it is rather peaceful being alone with one’s thoughts at this hour of the day. I find it quite refreshing or should I say rejuvenating. This early time of the day to just sit with one’s thoughts reflecting, writing, or just simply sitting there in the quiet can be so mentally rewarding.

 But not everyone likes to give up or shall I say spend the first hour or hour and one-half of their day alone with their thoughts. While  my knowledge on this subject is rather limited, it would not surprise me were someone to tell me that most successful people carve out or put aside a minimum of ten to fifteen minutes of every day to allow themselves what one would call “quiet time.” And these little ten or fifteen-minute periods of time can be taken at any time of the day. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, a short ten-minute walk outside in nature, even a ten-minute soak in the tub or if you really want to get wild about it – lock yourself in the bathroom for ten or fifteen minutes.

Even if you don’t allow the hour or hour and one-half every morning like I do, just spending these short ten to fifteen minute periods can and should become a vital part of your daily ritual as I am a true believer that they will assist you in life. Think about it for a minute. What can these short breaks do for you? This alone time enables us to balance much of the noise (television, radio, CD’s, our smart phones, the computer) that we allow to infiltrate much of our day.

Getting back to me – just sitting alone quietly first thing in the morning before I do anything else – yes, even before I start writing or making that first cup of coffee, somehow makes me feel like my day will be more manageable. I do not know how some people just pop out of bed and seem to be going a “mile a minute” before they even head out the door to start their actual work day. True, we retirees do not head off to work like we used to but for many of us our daily schedule has become so full that we wonder sometimes how we even had time to work.  I have found that taking a few minutes just for me – keeps me balanced and ready for whatever comes my way throughout the rest of the day.

Quiet time does not necessarily have to happen during the morning either. One does not have to set aside one particular ten-minute period a day. Most evenings I spend ten minutes or so (usually waiting for my wife to put my eye drops in before retiring for the evening) just sort of relaxing, allowing several thoughts to flow through my mind, usually consisting of what all I accomplished during the day. It is a good calming feeling and one that enables me to ease off into slumber land shortly after the lights are turned off for the evening. Relaxing like this and letting go is a perfect way to gently fall asleep without the worries about what tomorrow might bring. After all, chances are you accomplished all you set out to do today and if not, well, tomorrow is just another day. One day at a time.

Until next time!

Good-Bye 2019

Well, the year 2019 is coming to an end. We’ve had some ups, some downs, and some in-betweens. Was 2019 better than 2018? Will 2020 be better than 2019? Only time will tell.

The true question here is: “Have we learned from our experiences? It was Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher who once said: “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change!” No matter what one wants to change, be it a simple task or habit or an attempt to change the world, to make either of these changes – one has to change himself or herself first.

How many of us, at this time of the year (a few days before New Year’s Day) say:  “I am going to make some New Year’s Resolutions to change certain things I want to change.” I know I am one of them. But over the years I have learned several things, one of which is that, like the kid in the candy store, what I see before me may be bigger than what my stomach could handle – without getting one large bellyache. Same holds true when making New Year’s Resolutions.

We need to start small. Why do I say that? Because, let’s take me for example: I have several things that I would like to change in 2020.

One: I would like to lose weight and get back to what, in my opinion, is a reasonable weight, not that I am obese or anything (I only want to lose 7 pounds).

Two: I would like to spend more time creating and writing pieces for not only what I like to call my Daily Morning Facebook Quips, but actually follow a schedule designed to create and post articles on the following sites:

https://lakelandmusings.wordpress.com/

http://community.retirement-online.com/profile/IrwinLengel

with the occasional article being posted to

Three: I would like to get back to my daily habit of stretching first thing when I wake, walking at least two miles a day, and incorporate some strength-training exercises into my weekly routine.

Four: I would like to write a third e-book but this time give it more time and devotion along with more of me being put into the book than I put into the first two books which were written as more of a spur-of-the-moment challenge than something I personally wanted to do.

Let me just stop myself here and point out an observation which is that: None of these four items seem overly unachievable.

Number one – Seems easy enough – watch what I eat and stay away from the foods I know aren’t good for me.

Number two – Take a look at where my time is being spent at the moment and give something else up that I am doing to provide time to do the creating and writing I want to do.

Number three – Get my lazy butt out of bed, do my stretching exercises, go for that walk and choose a time several days a week to lift those dumbbells to strengthen those muscles that have been neglected over the years.

Number four – Choose a time of the day, preferably every day, or what works with regards other household/social/familial duties and lock myself away and begin writing.

Easy peasy. Right? Not as easy as it appears to be. The older we get, the easier it seems to be to fall out of habits we have been accustomed to doing and harder to get started again doing the things that are (a) good for us and (b) make us enjoy getting up every day.

Which brings me full circle to my opening comments: “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change!” but, as was also mentioned – No matter what one wants to change, be it a simple task or habit or an attempt to change the world, to make either of these changes – one has to change himself or herself first.

Looking at the clock on the wall and noting that there are only about 60 hours left in the year 2019, I had best get busy setting up the schedule I intend to follow and see if 2020 will be my year of change. What about you? What changes will you be making?

Instead of my usual closing – Until next time! – let me just say: “Until Next Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2020

Frame of Mind

When I woke this morning, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. I thought to myself, this is going to be one of those so-so days and contemplated rolling over and going back to sleep. But the more I lay there, my mind tended to roam to places I never intended it to roam to.

I pictured various scenes, scenes like a very overweight individual out and about shopping; the conditions of various individuals in the doctor’s office where we recently had our follow-up checkup regarding some blood work drawn the week prior. I also pictured the guy looking for a hand-out on the corner with his sign indicating he hadn’t eaten in quite a while. My thoughts roamed all over the place. They took me overseas to our military and I thought of the young recruit in a faraway land weighted down with about 65 pounds of military gear in addition to the weight of the weapons he must carry with him to be safe.

What do all these scenarios have to do with me and my temporary (yes, temporary) attitude. Just this – it didn’t take much thought after reminiscing about scenarios such as those just mentioned to – how shall I put this “Wake up and smell the roses or in my case the coffee!”

Scenes like those just mentioned made me realize just how good many of us have it. As I looked around our bedroom, I seen nothing but items that reminded me of all the fun and good times we had acquiring what it is we wake up to each and every day. I also gave thought to the knowledge that once I did get up and go to the kitchen, it wouldn’t be long before I am sitting there – still in my pajamas drinking a cup of coffee looking out the window hoping to see a glimpse of the sun rising.

We are fortunate enough to go to bed at night and not have to wonder where our next meal is coming from. Or worry constantly about some type of physical impairment or disease we wrestle with every day and wondering about how we are going to get out of bed and manage whatever it is we have to do today. Nor are we  in the military stationed in some foreign country or war-torn area where nomatter how we feel when we wake we do not have the luxury of waking up and saying: Oh, I don’t feel like this is going to be a good day – that’s it – think I will just roll over and go back to sleep. The list that flashed through my mind was endless.

Am I saying that “we don’t have bad days?” Nope, we all do. But what I am saying is that when we think to ourselves – “Why me?” or “What am I to do with myself, how am I to cope?” stop for a moment and just give thought to all the other people in the world that do not have what you have at this particular moment in time. Doing that simple task may be all you need to get your backside out of bed and make the best of what you have. After all, isn’t that what everyone else has to do.

To coin a phrase that sort of sums it up and by the way – just sitting down and writing this short piece put me in a much better frame of mind – “Suck it up, Buttercup” because when you get right down to the “nitty gritty” of it, things could be a lot worse!

Until next time!