Painful plantar fasciitis symptoms make it hard to run, bike, walk, even to get out of bed in the morning, and that makes any sort of physical activity difficult. You need to get regular exercise in order to stay healthy, but if you wince every time you put pressure on your feet exercising just seems silly. Find exercise alternatives that won’t worsen your plantar fasciitis symptoms, so you can continue treating your heel pain and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle at the same time.
Exercise and heel pain
Causes of heel pain can be linked to many different problems. Physiologically, a ligament attached to your bone becomes damaged or inflamed, and causes sharp pain in the heels. You might get this problem due to a highly active lifestyle. People who are overweight or have flat feet may also experience plantar fasciitis symptoms.
The deep heel pain of planar fasciitis symptoms can make your ordinary exercise routines impossible. Running or walking is painful, and if you aren’t taking proper precautions you could be doing more damage to your heels and worsening plantar fasciitis symptoms. Stay healthy with alternative forms of exercise, so you can rest and care for your feet while maintaining an active lifestyle.
Exercises that won’t engage your heels
Staying off your feet and exercising at the same time sounds like an impossible task, but it’s not. You can practice exercises that won’t engage your heels, and avoid worsening those painful plantar fasciitis symptoms.
Water aerobics. A wonderful alternative to regular aerobics, water aerobics help you burn calories and build muscles without putting pressure on your heels.
Rowing. You don’t have to stand up to row, and you’ll get an excellent workout. Rowing burns calories and helps you build muscle. It engages many muscle groups, and it won’t put pressure on your feet.
Weight lifting. If you sit down on a bench, you don’t need to stand to lift weights. Building muscle helps your body burn more fat, and it’s a good way to get a good workout. Practice lifting exercises that don’t require you to put weight on your heels. You can even lift weights with your legs without straining the heels, and build muscles in your legs.
Treating plantar fasciitis symptoms
All this effort isn’t going to do you a lot of good if you aren’t also treating your plantar fasciitis symptoms. Long-term heel relief should be the ultimate goal, and it is attainable. Regularlymassage and stretchyour legs and heels to reduce the inflammation and the pain of plantar fasciitis symptoms. You don’t need any special tools to give yourself an effective foot massage; an ordinary golf ball or frozen water bottle will do. Simply place the object on the floor, place your foot upon it and roll back and forth.
Correct the problem that’s causing plantar fasciitis symptoms by using orthotic or shoe inserts to relive the pressure on your heels. Your feet need cushioning and support at all times, for every step. If your footwear doesn’t have enough padding built into it, you’ll need to add this necessary softening and support.
Is it true that vibrators for women can come on a little too strong, and cause permanent damage to your most private areas? We’ve all seen the Sex & the City episode where Samantha cautions “do not use that; it’ll burn your clit off” and felt a shiver of fear. If you’re a beginning user, or if you experience excessive sensitivity, you may be afraid to try vibrator use firsthand or even shy away from some vibrators for women because you’re worried they may be too powerful. Learn the facts of vibrator use, so you know exactly how to shop for them.
Safe vibrator use
There are a lot of vibrator rumors out there, and that muddies the waters quite a bit. But according to experts, vibrator use can’t do your nerves any harm. There is no solid evidence to show that vibrators for women, used at manufacturer settings, can cause damage of any sort. Vigorous stimulation of the clitoris will not have any affect on your sexual responses — at least, not permanently.
But if you sit for a long time in one spot, your feet might fall asleep, too. A very long session with a very intense vibrator can cause some numbness, but this won’t last for more than a few hours at the most. Normal sensation will return, and you’ll notice no ill effects even if you vigorously enjoy your vibrator use.
When vibrators for women are functioning within normal parameters and working perfectly, there’s no way they can possibly harm you as long as you’re using them correctly. However, if for some reason your machine is malfunctioning then of course problems may result. Electrical shock can most definitely cause nerve damage, so make sure your vibrators for women are operating normally and that they’re undamaged. If you’re worried about a certain machine, simply dump it and buy another.
Too much vibrator use?
You can also “train” your body with vibrator use. If you’re using vibrators for women every day and become used to achieving orgasm with them, you may find it difficult to reach orgasm in another way. Vary your routine by using different vibrators and different forms of masturbation to avoid getting locked into any vibrator patterns. Remember, you’re not having a relationship with the thing.
But even if you do use your vibrator every day, you won’t cause yourself to become desensitized or harmed in any way. The rumors aren’t true, and vibrators for women are perfectly safe as long as they’re used in the way they were designed.
“Bangs not Botox” is the mantra of women who know what the term fringe benefit really means. Stylist Isabelle Goetiz of the Okyo Salon in Georgetown, Washington D.C. is all for them. “Bangs do bring out your eyes more but they don’t have to be straight across your forehead. A soft full brushed to the side long bang looks soft and flatters lots of women.”
I’ve had bangs since I turned 40. It was one of those personal style-defining moments when you find your look and know it works. Women with bangs appreciate the way they hide forehead creases, camouflage the “elevens” (those vertical lines between your brows), frame your eyes and somehow turn crow’s feet to laugh lines.
Of course there are good bangs and bad bangs. Any old bangs won’t do and they need to work with the rest of your hair.
Long, brow-covering bangs
1. Long, brow-covering full soft bangs dress up your face and make your eyes a focal point, even without a stitch of makeup.
2. They hide weak or bad retro brows that never grew back without the need for brow makeup. (My reason for never letting go of bangs!)
Long, side-swept bangs
3. Long side-swept bangs give you the option of wearing them or blending them off the face when the mood strikes.
4. They’re the easiest to manage if your hair is blown smooth but naturally curly or you’re ambivalent about a long-term commitment to bangs.
5. Sweeping bangs can also help camouflage a thinning or receding hairline.
Choppy, uneven bangs
6. Choppy uneven bangs work with shaggy dos and shortcuts for a broken up tousled look.
Bangs are the fastest way to change your look without making a major change. But as NYC stylist Mark Garrison of the Mark Garrison Salon says, there are four things to know if you are thinking about cutting bangs after 50:
7. Bangs will not work if you have a low forehead or a cowlick at your hairline.
8. Bangs are fantastic for women with a high forehead or receding hairline, it doesn’t have to be a heavy fringe — just a side swept swoosh will do.
9. Bangs are great for covering forehead lines — they provide excellent camouflage.
10. Don’t cut bangs wider than your cheekbones — you don’t want to go much further than the outside edges of the eyes for maximum flattery. Bangs cut too wide can emphasize eyes that droop at the outer corners.
5. Ecco Shoes
From lefty303 in Sensible shoes that are cute!
“I’m a sixty year old (is that possible??) innkeeper and am on my feet from 6:30AM until 8:30PM seven days a week. For shoes, I absolutely swear by Ecco’s. They have been such a lifesaver. Fairly expensive but worth every single penny!”
From LucyB in Sensible shoes that are cute!
“You can give a look to Footsmart.com. I have recently had surgery on my right foot, and have found a few there that are cute and wearable too. I may go into business designing sexy flats for women who are too smart (and too pained) to wear the other kinds!”
From meigler in Sensible shoes that are cute!
“I would go check out Crocs.com. For a long time all they had were the huge clogs or flip-flops. Now they have a ton of other options including dressy shoes. Just look at all the options on their site. I wear crocs about 300 days a year.”
9. Keen Footwear
From kayasinger in Sensible shoes that are cute!
“I have major knee issues and shoes with any heel at all makes my knees hurt when I walk. It’s a huge drag but the reality. The only shoes I can wear are Keens. They are cute, stylish and comfortable.”
11. Glory Chen
From Babette Pinsky in Glory Chen: Sophisticated, comfortable shoes
“…there’s a new shoe line called Glory Chen that is the first shoes I’ve found in a while that really work for me. … The store is beautifully designed and the shoes are fabulous. They look like grown-up, sophisticated campers. They’ve got heels but they’re not spikey, and they don’t look dowdy. They look very contemporary. The designer has a great eye and she does nice padded insides so they’re comfortable. Most of the heels are made of rubber, but they’re very sculptural and very colorful. They’re really terrific.”
Have you noticed that your eyeshadow is starting to accentuate the wrinkles around your eyes rather than making you feel beautiful? Whether it’s deep creases, wrinkles above your eyes, “hooded” eyes, puffy or dark circles under your eyes, or crow’s feet at the corners, you can use several different products and techniques to hide imperfections around your eyes.
What has “always worked” for you may not be the best now. For example, one VN member shared, “I’m 58 and recently threw out all my old makeup which consisted of shimmer and sparkle and invested in new makeup. No more sparkles for me. When your face ages, the last thing you need is makeup that enhances lines, creases, or just makes you look too made up. No more Bold!”
VN members have shared their best tips and tricks to hide wrinkles and bring the attention back to you! Check out these recommendations for how to apply eyeshadow to hide wrinkles, the best eyeshadow brands to hide wrinkles, and other makeup tips from women who’ve “been there and done that,” as well as makeup experts who know how to help you look your best.
How to apply eyeshadow to hide wrinkles
1. Wash and moisturize to prepare your skin
Tara Shakespeare, celebrity makeup artist, says it’s all about moisture. When you cleanse and tone, she advises in a video, use a cleanser that’s very nourishing and full of moisture.
Kelly, a makeup artist and esthetician for Ulta salon and cosmetics talks about the importance of preparing your skin in a video about minimizing the appearance of wrinkles around your eyes.
“One of the most important things you can do is use an eye treatment cream,” she advises. “The skin around the eyes is the thinnest, and most delicate on your entire body. It has very little moisture to begin with, so you want to make sure you’re hydrating the area and keeping that moisture barrier intact.”
She also recommends a “lifting product” or a “topical alternative to botox” for an “instant lifting” and softening appearance of the fine lines and wrinkles.
2. Apply primer around your eyes.
One word – Primer. They have made all the difference. Too Faced eyeshadow primer is so good it improves the appearance of my lids even without shadow. Brands of shadow that I was ready to give up on are now producing great results…with the primer. For face I use Laura Geller’s spackle.
Sharon Greenthal says:
Currently I’m using a primer in a pen form by Sephora, and it’s great, but I’ve used others as well (the Sephora is less expensive!).
I agree with the primer option. But don’t use foundation – you’re just asking for trouble. If you want to skip primer, look for a shadow that is “velvety,” and by that I mean matte and pigment dense. Cover Girl makes some-in fact they have a couple of terrific new trios out for around $6. Use the lightest shade as a “base” and blend the other colors over top. A creme shadow is NOT the way to go. These are for younger, super smooth lids!
3. Apply your favorite brand and color of eye shadow – carefully
Facesoverfiftydotcom, a VibrantNation member with her own skincare line, has lots of advice for applying color to your delicate lids:
What should you look for? A softer shadow with LESS pigment. Brands like MAC, Smashbox, Chanel, Lancome, and the like are very pigment-dense. That means that they are going to be challenging to work with on lids that have thin, wrinkled skin regardless of whether you use a base or not. IMHO I use a base only for a smokey eye on faces over fifty anyway.
Further stay away from the cremes – even the new ones with silicone – because they are hard to control. Unless you are quite masterful at application, you’ll end up with creme shadow in the outer creases of your eye.
So what to try, right?
Start with a base shadow that is close to the natural color of your facial skin – not the color of your lid. That could be anywhere from ivory to creme to french vanilla to peach to beige – I think you get the idea. It should be a soft matte. Meaning it should be sheer and powdery. Cover Girl has a few shades. Revlon has a few shades. NYX has a few. Sonia Kashuk has a great selection at Target.
From there you can decide to add just a touch of a shade darker to the puffiest part of the outer lid and blend it well. Or you could add a simple shadow all over the lid.
Like hair color, I recommend staying withing two shades of that original base color for your best look. It’s going to be the easiest to wear and to blend. So the colors we’re talking about are camel, taupe, baby brown, shitake – medium neutrals if you are Caucasian and deeper if you are ethnic.
As for brushes? I point everyone toward the Sonia Kashuk brushes at Target. They are manufactured by a high-end American company with a factory in China who also creates brushes for the top make-up companies in the world. The prices are fantastic and the quality matches the best available.
I recently purchased the book Makeup Wakeup which is specifically geared to the makeup needs of older women. I love the tips and many have worked for me. Until I read this book I’d been really focused on a matte finish, but now I strive for the “dewy” look as recommended in the book. (I got it on Amazon and I think I first read about it here). I now use a soft stick eyeshadow on my lids’ crease (after a primer), then I use a powdered eyeshadow, which has eliminated the creases in my eyelids. I also got How Not to Look Old (I think that’s the title) and it’s been very helpful with tips and guides for older women (I’ll be 61 in September).
More makeup tips and tricks for applying color to your lids
Fake an eye lift with eye shadow: Vibrant Nation blogger Judi Freedman learned this tip from the MAC makeup lady who did her colors several years ago. “I use a light-colored shadow near my lash line and a deeper shade in an arc above the crease where my lid is dropping. Instant eye lift!”
Earth colors are more flattering:
Kgritts said, “As I age, I find that less intense color helps me look younger. So, no bright eye shadow, no bright red lipstick. I stick with earthy colors over the eyes and light colors with no frost on the lips. Earthy colors help draw the attention to the eyes and not the color over the eyes.”
Creating a youthful look:
Paula Ellen advises, “If I use eyeshadow at all, it is very scarce, but in a color that brings out my green eyes and then only in the outer corners of the top lid. Keeping the inner corners of your eyes bright gives an illusion of youthfulness.”
And what about that shimmer? Susan Posnick, who provided VN members with 6 age-defying makeup tips for women over 50 says be not afraid of a little eye shimmer! “Many women over 50 are very afraid of eye shadows that have shimmer in them. 20 years ago, you needed to be afraid because the particles were so big that they made the eyelid look crepe-y. But today, everything is so refined you don’t have to be afraid of a little shimmer. This is a big change.”
Learn more about looking great after 50 in one of our free reports:
Whether our problems are crow’s feet, crepe-y lids, laugh lines, the dreaded 11s, or some other imperfection like adult acne, our makeup routine has to change as we mature. Women sometimes make the mistake of accentuating lines and wrinkles around the eyes, lips, and forehead by wearing too much foundation and powder. Instead of camouflaging your wrinkles, it settles into the lines and wrinkles making them more noticeable.
Less is more when it comes to makeup as you age. You don’t want to pile on the foundation, powder, or any other product. Instead, you want to apply the products in a smart, ordered way that helps accentuate your beauty while minimizing the lines and wrinkles we’ve all earned.
There are lots of makeup tips and tricks for applying foundation to hide wrinkles and imperfections.
Choosing the right shade of foundation can be quite difficult. Do you match the back of your arm, your neck, your chest?
According to gossmakeupartist, you should always match your foundation to your chest, no matter what you’ve been told. You want your face and body to be the same color. The neck is often times lighter than the chest so it makes sense to match your foundation color to your body. (If you need to, put some streaks of the foundation on your arm and walk outside the department store. That way, you’ll get a look at it in natural light.)
There’s an easy way to tell if you’re using the right shade. Take off your shirt, then apply your foundation as usual. Now, look in the mirror while tilting your head down and resting it on your chest. Do your forehead, nose, and chin match your chest? If so, great! You’re wearing the right shade. If not, you may need to reconsider the foundation you’re using.
Need a quick fix in the interim? Gossmakeupartist suggests that “If you don’t want to bring the foundation down onto your neck – use a bronzer and your current foundation and warm up the outsides of the face and neck to bring everything into balance.”
Often, liquid foundation is best for women over 50 because our skin tends to become dryer. However, many Vibrant Nation members adore mineral makeup.
First, prepare the skin by cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.
Wait a few moments for the moisturizer to soak in. Then, apply a primer. Primers re-texturize the skin and make the foundation application smoother, and help it stay on for longer.
VN member Kathryn Kondrad shared, “Although it’s an extra step, primer will make any foundation look better. So will a good foundation brush. Lancome has an excellent one.
Apply your foundation
Apply your foundation using a sponge, brush and/or your fingers. (A tip from VideoJug for applying liquid foundation with a latex sponge: Dampen the sponge a bit before you use it. Remove any excess water. This will prevent the sponge from absorbing most of the foundation. Shake your liquid foundation and put some on the back of your hand. Use the sponge to dab some on your forehead nose chin and cheeks before smoothing it in with even sweeping movements.)
Fabafterfifty advises, you don’t have to wear foundation from hairline to jaw line and beyond. You can simply choose to wear foundation in the middle of your face or wherever you need it.
There are lots of different configurations and application techniques. The best is the one that works for you! That’s what one woman, HLDCO, says. Her video, about how to apply foundation makeup to give your face a more youthful appearance is embedded below and illustrates a triangulation technique that she developed based on her own research.
HLDCO’s theory is that as women get older, we have more contrast on our faces — the degree of difference between light and dark — because of our wrinkles and lines. The idea behind her makeup for older women is to reduce the contrast between light and dark. She uses powder makeup in her video, but you could apply the technique using whatever foundation you choose. (Check out Best makeup over 50: Foundations we love to get foundation recommendations from women over 50.)
She also has a differing take on the advice from most regarding foundation for older skin: “Cream foundations that have a dewy finish aren’t flattering for the mature face,” she said. “Adding shine plays up the bags, pooches, creases, pores, and lines that plague us as we age.”
Instead, she recommends foundation with a matte finish.”I prefer powder (which proves powder foundation can work on an aging face), however, matte foundation that is liquid or cream-base works, too. Just make sure it is matte.”
Apply concealers and correctors as needed.
These days, concealers and correctors go on after your foundation. These helpful products use to be quite heavy and were best blended beneath foundations. With changes in how both concealers and foundations are formulated, you need less concealer and it will be wiped away if you try to put it beneath your foundation.
As you apply your concealer and corrector, do so sparingly. Any fine lines around the eyes will be accentuated — not hidden — if you apply too much product. Again, less is more!
Apply the corrector to the dark areas around your eyes that can make you look tired. Blend the excess into your foundation. Other areas that may need a lift are around the nose or under the lip. These areas tend to become darker as we age.
Make your skin glow using blush or highlighter
To create a healthy glow, apply cream blush sparingly to the apples of your cheeks. This should be done before you powder your face so that it will blend with the rest of your makeup.
Another way to illuminate your skin: Use your fingers to apply a liquid highlighter with light reflecting particles to your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose. Then blend it using your fingertips. This should give the skin a warm, youthful glow.
Makeup instructor Bridget Winton advises that you focus on your bone structure. To lift the face, use lighter and darker shades to make hard lines soft and soft lines hard. She has several tips for how to brighten aging skin:
To disguise a sagging chin, cover it with a foundation that’s one or two shades darker than your facial foundation.
If your skin appears shallow or dull, use warm colors to brighten it. Try using a foundation that’s half a shade lighter than your skin tone.
To hide dark circles under your eyes, use a foundation that’s a shade lighter than your facial foundation on that area. Use a concealer over that, then add loose powder to set and hide the color difference.
Don’t over do it with illuminating or bronzing products. A fake tan can add years to your face. Try blending the bronzer into your moisturizer or foundation, then apply it evenly to your face. You can also use a loose powder that’s a shade or two darker than your skin tone.
For a dewy look, use a spritzer or re-moisturizing spray to set makeup and add a glow.
Use powder to set your makeup — or don’t!
Use powder sparingly, because too much powder will accentuate your lines
Use a large powder brush, load it with light reflecting powder. Tap it lightly before using to get rid of the excess powder. Use the powder sparingly to set your foundation. Using too much powder can highlight wrinkles and pores. If your skin is very dry, you may choose to skip this step.
(Fabafterfifty advises that mineral powders are better for people with a bit of an oily complexion. If you’re older and have a dry skin type, the powders tend to sit on the surface of the face and make the pores look larger.)
What techniques have you found that work for you? What’s more important — the product or the application process? Share your tips for a flawless face with the Vibrant Nation community by commenting below.
Applying makeup gets complicated as we age, because our skin has changed. It folds a little more easily, droops where it used to be tight and wrinkles when you wish it would stay smooth. All of this makes cosmetics smear and smudge more easily, and that’s not the look you want. There are a few tips and tricks for using eyeliner at our age, that will help adapt your makeup techniques to your changing face.
Of course, everyone has their own idea about how to get that “perfect make up” look. We’ve gathered the best tips from the VN community and around the web for using eyeliner like a pro. It’s really not all that difficult – if you’ve got the right kind of eyeliner and know all the tricks. Start with the right foundation for your eyeliner, and you’ll get a much more finished, perfect look.
Prime. Prepare your eyes with a neutral primer that will create a more even, smooth base for your eye makeup. Allow the primer to dry for a minute before you start applying more cosmetics.
Color. Put on your eye shadow before your eye liner. This will help the liner stay in place and prevent that smudging that makes your eyes look shadowed and messy. Flourish Over 50 advises using a neutral color that contrasts against your eye color to make your eyes look more brightly-colored. Green-eyed ladies, for example, should look for a shadow with khaki undertones.
Darken. Highlight eyes and eliminate the appearance of wrinkles by adding a second, darker eye shadow to the outer corner of each eye. Blend it all together with a brush.
Applying eyeliner perfectly
Perfect eyeliner only begins with perfect preparation — it doesn’t end there. First, choose an eyeliner with a thin, soft point. Thick, heavy eyeliner will only age you, and settle into all those wrinkles you don’t want people to notice. A very thin line will define your eyes without making you look too heavily made up. Make up for over 50 women isn’t quite as versatile as make up for 20-somethings, but you’ve got the added benefit of wisdom and experience. Use it to create gorgeous eyes.
Pick a color, not any color.Cosmetics Cop suggests using soft colors to give your eyes depth and enhance the natural color. Deep plum, grey and dark brown will define your eyes beautifully. Avoid pastels, which can render your eyelashes unnoticeable.
Choose a liner. Pencil eyeliners are popular, but not practical for makeup at 50. Pencil liners tend to smudge and smear, so all your hard work will be wasted. Instead, look for gel-based liners that will glide on smoothly and resist smudging.
Drawing out your eyes. Begin at the outer corner of your eye and move inward with a smooth, gliding motion. Do not go all the way to the inner corner, where the tear duct is located. Stop the line when your natural lashes stop, or just before, a shade more than midway across the lid. Your eye will look smaller if you go from corner to corner, and that will only make eyes look wrinkled, puffy and older. Don’t extend the line beyond the outer corner. You can create a catlike effect by applying shadow to the outer corner of the eyes. Placing liner here will only encourage smudging, and potentially draw attention to crow’s feet.
Blend. Swipe gently across the line with the tip of your finger or a clean eye shadow brush to slightly smudge and soften the line. Blended make up is perfect make up.
How to define the bottom of the eyes. Starting again from the outer corner, line your bottom eyelids only halfway and use a very delicate hand to place just a little color along the lash line. Bottom eye liner tends to smear more than the stuff you put on top, and you don’t want to ruin your under eye make up or make your eyes look baggy and shadowed.
Finishing touch. Once you’ve lined your eye along the top and bottom, brush a little bit of light-colored eye shadow over lines. Don’t leave the bottom line out or your under eye make up will look incomplete. A touch of powder will help the liner stay in place.
Tips for better eyeliner
Even with a careful hand and great tools, your eyeliner may not look exactly right. A few extra tricks will perfect your make up.
How to lift up your eyes. Got droopy lids? Use your eyeliner to make them look more lifted by drawing it just above your lashes.
Cleaner lines. If you find it hard to apply the lines, place your elbow on a table or solid surface to get better control. Allure suggests drawing small dots along your lash line instead, and using a small brush to blend and connect them together.
Perfected look. Once you’ve applied the liner, use a cotton swab (dipped in water or make up remover) to clean them up a little and make them look perfectly straight.
If you know how to use eyeliner, you already know how to use eyeliner after 50. It just takes a little extra time and attention to detail, and you’ll beautifully define your eyes.
I was the shadow. Black covered my tiny body from the shiny black patent leather tap shoes on my feet to the black derby hat perched on top of my curly hair. Charlie, my godfather and a former professional dancer from St. Louis, led me on stage with “Me and My Shadow” blaring through the school auditorium public address system. Barely 4 years old, I followed his every move and tapped my way into a lifetime of volunteerism.
“Encore!” cheered the audience at this dime-a-dip and talent show fundraiser for our local chapter of the Grange. Charlie heard opportunity. He took the microphone and said, “Me and my shadow are happy to give you another performance. But first Shadow and I are going to pass the hat for that scholarship fund. If we raise another $20, we have another little dance for you.”
Coins and greenbacks filled our derby hats. George M. Cohan’s “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” spun on the old record player, and we gave a sneak preview of the dance we had been rehearsing for the upcoming Fourth of July barbecue to raise money for a fellow running for the state Assembly.
That was 1952. Like millions of Americans, I still shadow Charlie’s devotion to community service.
According to a December 2014 report from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), “1 in 4 Americans volunteered through an organization and two-thirds helped their neighbors last year.”
CNCS breaks down the numbers:
62.6 million adults (25.4 percent) volunteered through an organization.
Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours last year.
The estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion.
More than 138 million Americans (62.5 percent) helped neighbors with watching each other’s children, helping with shopping or house sitting.
CNCS further breaks down volunteers as follows:
Americans ages 35-44 had the highest volunteer rate (31.3 percent) followed by those ages 45-54 (29.4 percent). One in five of those defined as “Millennials,” those of ages 16-31, (21.7 percent) volunteered.
The age groups with the highest median hours among volunteers are ages 65-74 (92 hours) and those 75 and older (90 hours).
The volunteer rate of parents with children younger than 18 (32.9 percent) remained higher than the population as a whole (25.4 percent) and for those without children younger than 18 (22.7 percent).
The volunteer rate among young adults (ages 18-24) attending college was 26.7 percent, nearly double the volunteer rate of young adults not attending college (13.5 percent).
So let’s give each other a collective pat on the back for a job well done. But ask those leading most any local nonprofit, and they would sure love a few more volunteers at the helm. Raise your hand. Join the movement of volunteerism because “… we make a life by what we give.”*
*Note: “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give,” is often attributed to Winston Churchill. However, according to the Churchill Centre, there is no record of him speaking these exact words.
Author’s Note: This post is adapted from a periodical column that I write for a local newspaper, The Cambrian.
Near misses. We’ve all had them—the car accident avoided because someone swerved at the last second, a trip to the emergency room dodged because you jumped backwards instead of forwards, the milk not spilled because your reflexes responded in top form.
Do you ever give a thought to those near misses? What might have been, if the other guy hadn’t swerved, if you had moved in the wrong direction instead of the right one, if you hadn’t stopped the glass from toppling over?
Near misses happen all day long, don’t they? So often, in fact, that we tend to forget about them once they’ve passed. But there are some near misses I haven’t forgotten, a few that might have ended in disaster if the stars hadn’t been in alignment—or our guardian angels not flying so close to the ground (God bless them, they’re busy creatures).
A few New Year’s Eves ago, celebrating at a friend’s house, we went outside to watch the neighbor set off some fireworks. It was just after midnight, and cold enough for the warm breath puffing from our mouths to do a fine impression of a cotton candy cloud before dissipating into the night. There were perhaps fifteen or twenty of us waiting for celebratory sparkles, kids comprising a good part of the group. We stood around watching the guy next door set off his store-bought rockets. The kids weren’t running around, and the adults hadn’t over-imbibed. The neighbor appeared to have taken the right precautions against danger. Except he hadn’t. And one of the bottle rockets he let fly didn’t arc upward and outward away from the crowd as it was supposed to. It shot across the lawn at eye level and zoomed past my face, landing somewhere behind us.
“Wow, that was close,” someone said. “You okay? That almost hit you,” said someone else.
Surprised and shaken, I acknowledged my near miss. Six inches to the right and my face would have been rearranged. I can’t even joke that it would be a good way to justify some cosmetic surgery to straighten out my wrinkles.
A couple of summers ago, boating at Lake Lanier, my youngest daughter decided she was tired of wakeboarding. She gave us the “stop” signal and let go of the rope, sinking like Captain Jack Sparrow going down into the mighty depths with the Black Pearl. The hubster had already slowed the boat and turned to go back to her. Two yahoos on jet skis, paying not the slightest attention to their surroundings—or the law—decided it would be a great idea to fly through the wake. Problem was, one of them was headed straight toward my girl. She waved her arms and hollered at him. He didn’t adjust his course.
By now, all of us on the boat were yelling and waving, jumping up and down. I screamed myself hoarse, heart beating so hard it hurt, terrified for my daughter. My husband hit the horn, turned up the testosterone switch (it makes the engine ridiculously noisy for no good reason other than to annoy the wife), anything to get the attention of these guys while he drove to intercept them.
My daughter, terrified, considered releasing her feet from the wakeboard and ditching her life vest so she could dive under the water and take her chances that way—and would that even be wise in 30 feet of murky lake water?—but, of course, there was no time for her to take this action.
At the last second, the guy with his jet ski racing toward my daughter saw her bobbing in the water. Panic overtook his features, and he swerved. A near miss.
We retrieved our daughter from the water and my husband revved up the boat and chased down the jet skiers—young guys who just didn’t know any better—and had a few choice things to say to them about both their lack of common sense and the law (it is unlawful to jump the wake of another watercraft when you are less than 100 feet away). We know the rules. They didn’t. Near miss.
Thank God, because it would’ve been fatal.
Some near misses, like that last one, we are more than grateful for. The word “grateful” doesn’t even come close to the elation and relief felt once the incident is past. Near misses like that bring home the fragility of all we hold dear, reminding us that things can change in an instant—no, not things…lives…our lives can change in an instant. It is best not to take for granted those near misses. Unlike a cat’s nine lives, we don’t know how many we have.
What near misses have caused you to step back in more than gratitude? Have you ever had a near miss that would have changed your life? Did the experience change you, or alter how you do things?
I grew up in the southeast and wore heels and ridiculously high wedges when I was younger because that was “the fashion.” I am now a 64 year old “comfort & support” convert. I prefer a heel of 1 to 1.5 inches, though occasionally I’ll purchase a 2 inch heel in a shoe that is well balanced and classic. I will also buy I a sandal, comfort shoe, or sneaker that is flat, provided the brand is committed to great soles and support. (Truly, a totally flat shoe can be as bad, or worse on the foot as a stiletto.)
Thankfully, shoe manufacturers are starting to “get it” and are beginning to make shoes that are both comfortable and stylish. Now, if only more brands would manufacture shoes in more widths other than medium, I’d be very happy indeed.
Unfortunately, the brands that fit me best are also fairly expensive, (I have a normal footbed, but a very narrow heel) so I’m very careful about my purchases. My faves for summer are Naot, Gentle Souls, Fly Flot, and Donald Pliner, and Cole Haan.
In winter I live mostly in cowgirl boots, but in Wyoming it would be impractical to wear anything else. Out here – you’ll go to dinner and cocktails, and see everything from cowgirl boots to flats to heels … and nobody cares. I love that. I had rather wear a pair of fabulous Old Gringo cowgirl boots any day than a 3″ high pair of Mano Blahniks or Jimmy Choos, but that’s just me.
High heels can be beautiful, but they aren’t worth the price our feet must pay to wear them. If you are willing and able, wear what you love.
I am not sure why, but for whatever reason, The TITANIC has taken up space in my realm of awareness; I keep seeing pictures of it, hearing references to it, and its storyline came up in a Facebook game I play. So when it showed up in the game” Criminal Case”, I decided it’s time for me to take a closer look at the messages, lessons, or nudges that I’ve ignored .
I have been drawn to and watched several documentaries on its maiden and only voyage, the finding of what still exist of the wreckage still on the ocean floor. I’ve watched with my eyes wide open, ears perked, and gel pens in my hands taking notes.
If you only knew how much I hate and fear large bodies of water you would understand why I’m surprised and confused about why all of this has been in my energy field for a while now. OMG, is that why I hate large bodies of water and the thought of going on a cruise ship makes me cringe and want to upchuck – was I a victim on the Titanic in another lifetime??? LOL – Anyway….
I want to share with you a few things that make me go MMMM:
Warnings were ignored – Jack Phillips, the wireless telegraph operator didn’t pass on the messages he received from other ships about The Titanic being in the path of an iceberg and entering an ice field – he decided he would take those messages to the bridge at a later time. Nudge – sometimes later is too late…
Itwas called the Ship of Dreams BUT became the ship of Nightmares even for those who survived. I’m sure they had lots of nightmares after being safely in their homes because near death experiences aren’t something you just get over quickly. Nudge – someone else’s dream can become your nightmare and some things are too good to be true…
For many immigrants who were leaving the poorest of conditions in their home country for the promise of AMERICA; that voyage was the best time of their life. Nudge – sometimes living for the moment as if there will be no tomorrow is not by choice…
5 lessons I learned from the Titanic:
Non-negotiable – the ice field and iceberg were non-negotiable and 37 seconds warning was not enough time to change course for the Titanic. We all have -ice-fields and icebergs ahead because there just are things in our life that are beyond our control and the sooner we recognize that truth “we” can decide what is negotiable.
Experts can be wrong – The best ship experts of the day believed and stated often – it is the biggest, the best, and safest ever – it is unsinkable. Whelp, they were wrong – it took only 2 hrs and 40 min for it to sink.
Be prepared – the ship’s captain, crew, and passengers believed the experts’ opinion that their ship was unsinkable – so The Titanic was not ready with enough life jackets or lifeboats to save its passengers. The passengers trusted that they were on the best possible ship and in the best possible care. Trust but verify…
Take nothing for granted – Enjoy the moment – because the moments become hours and hours may be all we have – who knows… There are no guarantees for tomorrow.
Trust your instincts – I wonder how many people ignored their gut when it said, “Don’t go on that voyage”? Intuition trumps logic every time.
It is Your turn: Please leave your answers below.
A. Where in your life is something non-negotiable?
B. Where in your life are/were the experts wrong?
C. When did you trust or mistrust your instincts and lived to celebrate or regret it?
I’ll start us off.
Mistrust: In July of 2006 my gut/instincts kept telling me to NOT go on a road trip to Oklahoma from Georgia – I ignored my gut and went anyway. Whelp, we were in a terrible car wreck flipped in the air 4 times landing 600 feet from highway – it could have been life ending but God showed us favor.
I even had a dream about being in a car wreck a couple of weeks before we left and went anyway. In my dream I died and in real-life in my suitcase, I had the outfit that I died I in my dream, but chose not to wear that day. Trust me when I say trust your gut instincts!
It’s raining again for the second day in a row. Actually, it started Saturday night when a storm blew in that knocked our power out for over 2 hours before it came back on. Sunday morning I threw on a jacket (the temperature had plunged down to around 53) and rescued the pots of seeds that I had just started on Friday when it had been sunny and 80! I hoped the drenching they got, along with some seedlings I had also planted that day, would not kill them outright, but as my hero, Henry David Thoreau, always says, ‘I have faith in a seed.”
Talking with an acquaintance about this the other day, she asked me,”Why do you even bother? All that work, all that money invested, and all the strain you’re putting on that poor hip of yours (referring to my injury from last summer that still plagues me). All of that can be blown away in a single storm. I don’t see what you get out of it.” Well, I’ll tell you what I get out of it and, of course, my answer will also be a metaphor for our lives (did you really expect that this would just be a post about gardening?).
What I get out of it is the chance to feel as one with the earth and everything on it. I get to be a witness to the miracle of life in all its forms. I get to watch a seed become a seedling, then a plant, then a flower or vegetable or herb, then end up on my plate. I get to follow the cycles of the seasons through my garden, watching the animals harvest and store for the winter, or fly by the hundreds over my heard to warmer winter homes. Do I sometimes get discouraged? You bet. It ain’t all sunshine and flowers, you know. Sometimes it’s disappointment, or flat out failure. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve lost veggie plants to the weather, or flowers to the nibbles of my animal neighbors. I’ve even had almost a whole garden destroyed by hail.
Life is very much like gardening. We plant the seeds for our dreams and work like heck to see them germinate and blossom. Sometimes our storms are small and we can weather them. Other times they are catastrophic and we watch in horror as our dreams are destroyed. In that moment we come to understand that how we determine our next move will determine how we will live the rest of our lives. It is so easy to just throw our hands up in the air and walk away. Some would say that would be the sane thing to do, but since when are the dreams of our hearts always sane to other people who cannot feel the longing and the calling from our spirits? Last year, I lost my job, lost my health insurance, fractured my hip and shoulder, and was ready to just give in to it all and go live with one of my kids like a good old decrepit grandmother. Thankfully, that dark cloud only lasted about two weeks. By the time I was up and about on my own two feet – plus a cane – I was already asking myself how I could take those lemons and not only make them lemonade, but make the best lemonade I had ever tasted.
So here I am, watching the rain come down on the garden that I waited 15 years to get back. Actually, we needed the rain. We haven’t had a steady rain for a long time and the earth needed it. Sometimes a little rain is a good thing. It washes things clean and gives us an opportunity to start over like new. I’m checking my box of seed packets just in case I have to replant anything, but I suspect that the new plantings will be okay. In most cases, the seeds, just like people, are hardier than we think. We just have to have faith in that seed.
Since I was 19, I’ve been running. Jogging for exercise. I’m not an elite runner by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve been a consistent runner, until now.
Over the years, I’ve run only 2 half marathons, one flat, one hilly. I have run quite a few 5 and 10 K’s! When I was 27, I came in first for a 3 mile course in my age bracket. Ok, it was not a well attended race, but I won nevertheless with a time of 21 minutes. That was fast for me, a recreational runner.
And then in my 50’s, I came within inches of first place in two 5 K’s, two different times. Also not well attended. Close, but not close enough for bragging rights.
Here is what I’ve noticed. When I was running, despite good shoes:
My feet hurt.
My knees began to feel strained.
But mostly, I wasn’t enjoying it.
I began to dread it and looked forward to the in between days when I would do yoga or HITT workouts.
So, three months ago, I stopped running and took up walking, walking fast enough to get my heart rate up, but not fast enough to look silly.
The odd thing is, I’ve actually put in more miles since I stopped running, 16 to 20 miles a week on average compared to the 9 to 12 when I was running three times per week.
Walking has been delightful! I look forward to it. I see things in my neighborhood that was never noticed when I ran. Beautiful gardens, interesting sculptures, sidewalk art, other people, dogs, many dogs.
I listen to podcasts with a keener level of interest. I listen to music. I talk with family. And sometimes, I just walk.
Now on the in between days, I have more energy to lift weights, something new to me.
Lifting partner (hubby) pumps right along with me, encouraging me to embrace my muscles, every last aching one of them. Side by side, he and she, back and forth we lift, press, push, and pull our hearts out. It’s fun!
I’m not saying I’ll never run again. Absolutes have never worked for me.