Honesty and Sharing — Key to Success

In our last post, you were invited to begin the conversation with us on how to create your own Senior Flatmates experience. While we aren’t in the business of creating matches, we are inviting you to comment and ask away. Let’s discuss it.

Some people wonder how we get along all the time. We’ve said that we don’t fight, or argue. Here’s the answer — we are incredibly honest in our conversations with each other. Think about it this way: If you’ve had a spouse, or children or parents, or friends, or co-workers (so that should include everyone) what has probably sustained the relationship(s) has been your ability to speak up. The key to sharing what you’re thinking, however, is how you say what you need to say.

Neither Dina nor I are ever rude to one another. We might question what one of us might be doing or we might disagree, but it’s all done with respect and not with judgment. So, in your process of thinking about co-housing, getting down in the beginning with HOW you want to talk with each other is Key. I learned early on about myself that I’m  probably the most sensitive person I know. I cry at the drop of a pin. If you look at me sideways or raise an eyebrow in judgment, I retreat. Dina knows that and has from the very beginning. She, on the other hand is stronger than that and I know I can say whatever I want to her and she will take it well.

So, how can you ask a potential flatmate about their preference in how to be spoken to or with? Well, that’s simple … just ask.

• Are you a sensitive person?

• How do you like to receive feedback?

• Can I trust you to be kind and gentle in your requests of me?

These are conversation starters for opening up. We wish you well and invite your questions and comments.

15 Minutes

Well, we had our “15 minutes of fame,” and now we’re back to work.

Since our recent appearance on the CBS Morning Show, so many of you have written to ask us all sorts of things that we’ve decided to take the Flatmates on the road. Starting today, we’re going to be answering your questions, giving you tips about how to find that special someone, what kinds of questions to ask, how to protect your own, best interests, and much, much more.

In fact, we’ll be talking a lot about your questions—we want to make sure you are completely confident you are respecting your own interests from the very start. Having a great Flatmate is an easy, fun and very happy road to travel—and so much of how it goes depends on your being sure you’ve said everything you need to in advance: verbally and in writing, about how you want it to go. Your new Flatmate will appreciate that, too, because, by opening that conversational door, you’ll be showing the way to do the same.

So here’s our first tip: Start out honest. This is who I am. This is what I’m looking for. These are my parameters. It will be great practice for you, and it will make your household much happier every day. We’re going to get much more specific as we go along.

If you didn’t get to ask your questions before, now’s the time. Senior Flatmates of the world, we’re out to change that old world of living in isolation!

Dina and Ann

BTW, here’s the link to CBS Show, if you missed it:  CBS Morning Show

Senior Flatmates Debut on CBS Morning Show

They found us, and they wanted to interview us, to tell the world that it’s a good idea for people to have non-romantic relationships with other people of their own age, sharing space and adventures.

We were so excited, and so proud—because, after all, we knew it was a great idea from the beginning, and we wanted to spread the word.

Here’s a link to the segment: http://cbsn.ws/1oAGvet

After you view it, we’d love to know what you think about it. As always, we want to hear from you!

I am a New York City girl

I was born and raised in the streets of Brooklyn (East New York), Queens (Cambria Heights) and Manhattan (uptown and down).

I love to tell people that about myself, because they always have a reaction. New York City is a very big deal in this world, and I love that I own a part it. Recently, I met some visitors who wanted me to know how “pleasantly surprised” they were at how nice New Yorkers are–not at all what they expected.

A lot of people say that, and it’s always my cue to make a pitch for my City. “People are always surprised,” I say, “and we’re always surprised at your surprise. I know that if someone needs help and we can see it on the street, we’re there, offering it: subways, maps, restaurants–you name it. If we can travel your way, we’ll be right there alongside you, helping you get around.”

Like most of us, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this City. It was the only place to live, and it was the first place I ever couldn’t wait to get away from. When my husband was sick, I blamed New York City–who else?–it was so dirty, so low-down. I’ve run away to other states, other cities, even rural New York State, trying to outrun my need for it, and I’ve always come back to it. It’s where I see people most like me in the world, and as I walk its streets, I hear myself talking. Here, I can have the most fascinating conversations with people who are just as curious as I am, and I love that about New York.

This is my first home: photo200 New Jersey Avenue, East New York, Brooklyn. My parents rented the upstairs apartment. I visited the building for the first time last winter. The window above the front door was my little bedroom, my first place of privacy as a little girl. When I showed the photo to my mom (who’s 92), she stared at it and then, slowly, i watched the recognition move across her face. “This isn’t…?” she asked. “It is,” I answered. What followed was an amazing conversation   about her memories of it, her first house as a grownup. It was awesome, as if I had given her a gift of her own past.

Let me know if you’re coming to my town!

Dina

 

 

 

 

Living in the Big Apple – a Dream Come True

In March 2006, I moved from Austin, TX to NYC for a new adventure. I wanted all that NYC could offer. I was 60 years old, single (as in divorced) and I wanted to revel in being in one of the most exciting cities in the world. My parents came from NYC, I’d visited grandparents throughout my child- and adulthood, but I never lived here. I decided to change that status.

It was great fun at first. I made friends easily, took advantage of much of what this City offered. Three-and-a-half years after I arrived, I experienced breast cancer. I was living alone in my own apartment. Friends helped—I’m lucky to be blessed with many—then, when my sublet expired, I had the amazing opportunity to move in with Dina.  It was great to have another person to share things with. That’s also when so much more IMG_0229of my NYC experience really happened.

For example, today, we got up early, went to the first showing of a new movie, then sat outside at a trendy restaurant drinking Bloody Marys and eating brunch. We watched people walk by, caught snippets of conversations from those around us. We talked about the movie, and about spirituality, which was much of its theme. We also talked about what a “miraculous” week this had been for us both.

We both had meetings with people that were interested in our work. We sent out an announcement for a workshop we’re doing together called:  “IT’S TIME TO BECOME WHO I’M MEANT TO BE.” We hope to offer these monthly and grow this curriculum. Read more about the workshop here: https://madmimi.com/p/a04915

Probably the most exciting thing that happened this week was when CBS called us. They are doing a story on boomers sharing living spaces, and they somehow found us! They spent a couple of hours Thursday, and then again Friday, videotaping in our apartment. All this for a 2.5 minute story on CBS Monday Morning sometime between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. (We’ll be sending links to the interview so you can see it later this week.)

I really love being in NYC. There’s much more I would love to be doing more of, but that will have to wait until we’re “in the money” –more Broadway shows, operas, symphonies. I do them on occasion, but there are also so many free things and so many wonderful neighborhoods to explore, people to meet, etc.

While I did quite a lot when I lived alone, I actually do much more with Dina. We have our separate friends and interests, and we have our areas that overlap, too.

Hats off to NYC … I’m so happy to be here.

Just Lazin’ in a NYC Summer…

images-1 Sorry we haven’t been around much since our last post on June 16th–

we’ve both been traveling and working and just plain loving every minute of this fabulous summer weather. Now, with August, we’re settling in a bit.

We’re starting a new series at this blog. it’s time we got familiar, and you got a chance to get to know us better. In the next few posts, we’ll talk about how each of us came to be in New York City, how we feel about being here, and we’ll share a lot of what we’re doing here.

Ann will start–she came to the City from the farthest away, A–oh, but I should wait and let her tell you all about it herself.

Stay tuned–and keep those cards and letters–ESPECIALLY YOUR COMMENTS–coming.  We love hearing from you!

Dina

 

 

 

Does it get any better than this?

Flatmates, friends, and, now, partners in business……how lucky can you get?

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Dina here. About 6 months ago, Ann said, “We should do a workshop together.”  I’ve been “doing” workshops for years—only stopped to write my last book—Ann does them too. So it wasn’t a weird question or anything, but it stopped me short when she asked. We get along really well, we’ve even become friends in the nearly two years we’ve shared our space. But work together?

Each of us has worked for herself for more years than we can even remember. Would we be able to work together?  Should we even risk it?

“Sure,” I said, surprising myself by keeping a promise I made when I moved back to NYC almost 7 years ago: “Say yes to whatever people suggest as a new possibility.” I knew how to say “No,” and I had decided I was tired of keeping my life small. We got to work planning our workshop.

We called it “It’s Time To Become Who I’m Meant To Be,” and we “did” it recently. We started small: four wonderful, smart, interesting and talented people. We met over bagels and coffee; I led an exercise on listening. Ann introduced her 7 1/2 reinvention steps. I led a brainstorm about leadership; she gave an assignment and they reported back. After lunch, everyone had a chance to take the “Hotseat.” We ended with Prosecco and intense dark chocolate, then hugs all around as we sent our participants back out into the world, inspired by declaring who they are meant to be and what is possible for them.

As we talked about it afterward, Ann and I realized how fortunate we are to do this work that we love:  to be present at the moment someone sees how he or she can fulfill on who she truly is, what he has to offer the world. We sent them home with armsful of goodwill and good work remembered, as they went off to make their dreams come true.

Same for us.

There’s a Four-Legged Creature in the House

We’ve been dog-sitting. What fun.

Here’s the backdrop. When I moved in with Dina, I had two elderly cats (age 18). I’d raised them from babies (they were sisters) and I decided it was time to put them both down, within 3 months of each other in Fall of 2012. It’s been over a year and a half. I must admit, I still feel their presence here sometimes. I’ve missed being a Mommy to 4-legged creatures, but not enough to get one. (I like my freedom of not being confined, able to travel, don’t want to outlive them, etc.)

So, Dina’s sister is away for a week and asked if we could take Boo Radley (her 12 year old Westie) for the week. We jumped at the chance. It’s such a pleasure to have this little one here. Now, there are a couple of caveats. First, Boo is 100% deaf, so it’s not about us calling him loudly or slamming a door to get his attention (doesn’t matter). It’s about having to touch him or stand right in front of him. Once he’s aware, he’s totally into playing, going out for a walk, etc.

Walking Boo is interesting as well. He moves like a snail, not just because he’s sniffing everything, but because he walks like a snail these days. In dog years, well, he’s older than any of us and I sometimes walk like a snail too. However, when he’s chasing a ball in the house, it’s amazing how fast he goes. Go figure.

Lessons:

It takes a village, it takes patience, he has easily won our hearts.

Dina and I are in total parenting mode – setting the schedule for who walks Boo and when, who’s home to feed him, etc.

photo of BooJust a sweet bi-product of our relationship is how easily we cooperate. It’s really wonderful.

 

 

A Word for the Wise

Dina here; I was robbed last week, by someone I trusted to protect me.

He was a security guard, a baggage searcher, at JFK Airport, an employee of Jet Blue. He rifled through my suitcase, touched everything, and he took my wedding rings, earrings, iPhone earbuds and a completely useless item to him that was important in my life: my Square Register, the little thing I inserted into my iPhone when you bought my book, which enabled you to use your credit card.

You need to know this happened, because in the week since I’ve told people, they have reported being robbed in the same way.

You also need to know that this kind of thief can take anything he wants to: sweaters, underwear, bathing suits–who knows what fetish he has that he could easily satisfy by stealing your things? NO WONDER WE CARRY-ON BIGGER AND BIGGER SUITCASES!

Jet Blue said they have no liability for theft, and they gave me a $100 travel coupon for my loss. This would be insulting if it wasn’t so preposterous. My wedding rings were the only things I had left of a marriage that ended with the death of my husband–if you’re wondering, I feel robbed all over again.

I’d advise you to be careful, but, honestly, there is just no way you can protect yourself against a person who steals from you, after you entrust him with your personal belongings because he says his job is to keep you safe from terrorists. There is no place to go after that.

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes You Just Want to do Something Just for Fun

IMG_0125IMG_0234There might be several of you who read this blog who are retired. So to you this might be an irrelevant title. You have all the time to do things just for fun.

I, Ann, however still work – by choice. I love what I do. That being said, sometimes I just want to / like to do something way beyond my usual box. And, so I did.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a local performance of The Vagina Monologues. Probably everyone knows of this play, written by Eve Ensler. It’s a funny, serious, beautifully done piece of work. There were many women on the stage at the same time, and then one by one they would read a monologue or introduce another monologue. Some were very funny and brought lots of laughter. Others were very serious, nearly tearful in their content.

What you might not know is that all performances, all over the world, donate their money to the cause of stopping violence against women. That’s its purpose.

Just an additional point: We were amateurs. There was only one professional actress in the bunch. We got to step way outside our usual boundaries. Leading up to the performances, there was ticket and raffle sales, rehearsals, etc. For two nights on stage, there were months of preparation. IT ALL PAID OFF.

I loved being part of the play, I loved making a difference by selling some tickets to friends and therefore helping with the commitment of raising money. I loved the camaraderie, the chance to act again (hey, it’s only been about 40 years). But, most of all, I loved the “standing ovation.” What a hoot.

The message here:  Take on something that’s fun, compelling, turns you on. You’ll be happy you did.