Feeling overwhelmed? I am. The boomer highway is full of worries and tasks and when I’m on the net or tuning into TV or radio it’s job loss, foreclosures, floods, tornadoes and our sick economy. Though I know I am very fortunate, I want some good news for our country and lots of good news for those who are struggling.
A very wise woman once told me that if you are feeling down the best cure is: do something for someone else. A great nugget of truth. Though the problems ahead of us are big, I recently came across an article in the AARP Bulletin that listed five small steps each of us can take to help the economy. Yes, it’s a Washington problem, but it is also our country and we as citizens can make a difference–it’s called doing something for someone else. Below are those steps. I then added a few more to help you brighten your own personal day.
(thanks to Jim Toedtman, AARP editor)
- Cut 150 calories a day from your diet. No more cookies! If we can get our health care costs in line, we can begin to solve our fiscal problems. Binge eating leads to obesity and often diabetes—a disease that has no cure, causes debilitating complications and is projected to cost 3.4 trillion in the decade ending in 2020. More than 60 percent of that cost will be paid by the federal government. So you can help the economy by watching your calories so you don’t become pre-diabetic or diabetic.
- Pay your debts. Borrowing has led us to this economic crisis. Household borrowing is part of the problem too; it’s acute for older Americans. The average U.S. family with a head of household age 60-70 has saved only 25 percent of what will be needed for retirement. New borrowing puts pressure on future interest rates. But trimming eases pressure on interest rates, which will reduce the amount of interest to be paid on the national debt.
- Walk a mile a day. Heart disease is the nation’s leading killer, with more than 40 percent of U.S. adults expected to develop cardiovascular disease by 2030. Cost? Exceeding 1 trillion and more than half of those costs to be borne by Medicare. Exercise, whether it’s walking, swimming, aerobic dancing etc burns calories, strengthens the heart and cuts the nation’s medical bill.
- Plan to work an extra year or two. If you can, this step helps in a number of ways: you’ll contribute to the Social Security trust fund. You’ll add to your retirement fund. And a delay in cashing out will bolster the Social Security fund and increase your personal benefit.
- Give Uncle Sam a gift. Would you believe other folks do? Taxpayers’ gifts to the U.S. Treasury so far this year total $2, 429, 800.03. It’s just an idea that some people will be able to act on.
- Put music in your day. “Feeling Good” sung by Nina Simone is a special look at a new day. The following You Tube version provides interesting art by Jacek Yerka http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qk7k6GQpE
- Turn off the computer. Give yourself at least one hour in the day for quiet and self-focus. Make email, bill-paying, idle chat and research wait!
- Read a novel. Fiction is not only a great escape, it also opens up doors and windows, allows you to travel and experience lives different from your own. Often fiction allows your heart to understand and your soul to forgive.
- Be kind to a stranger. At least once a day make a concerted effort to extend warmth and friendliness to someone out in your world. I find I usually get a smile in return. Pay it forward.
- Pay attention to nature–flora and fauna. Walk a dog, pet a cat, listen to the birds, embrace the sky, stare at the trees, smell a flower, watch the sun sparkle on the water, wait for the moon to rise.
Can you take some of these small steps? Feel better?
Thanks to Emy Marie’s Photostream