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changing the face of aging
Susan Brooks
Hire Grandmothers...and Grandpa's too!

Hire Grandmothers...and Grandpa's too!
December 2022

Happiest of Holidays to you and yours!

A persistent favorite memory for me as a business owner was the Christmas Season of 2008. Cookies from Home baked 'from scratch' more than $1M worth of cookie gifts in three weeks every year....that's a whole lot of cookies, right? But this year was different. The frenetic fear and fury of the economy and political drama circling around our days clouded our usual blue skies like no other season in our almost 30 years in business.

I needed to hire 100+ people to keep our eight ovens full, our call center at attention for every phone and online order, our Gift Center full of hot cookies to munch on while shoppers chose the perfect cookie gifts to share with every cookie lover on their personal and business list. We had to be 'at the ready,' even though on December 1st all the orders for our million dollar season hadn't come in yet...

As you might imagine, I wasn't sleeping much. Then, like lightning, I had an epiphany (I'm sure it was a direct message from my Grandmother in the heavens above!): who lives on fixed incomes? Who would benefit and contribute the most to earn Holiday cash? Who already knows how to bake cookies? GRANDMOTHERS, that's who!!!!

Boy, did we have fun!! Maybe it was my heartfelt imagination, but I believe our cookies even tasted better that season! The stories we heard! The laughter that filled our bakery! Holiday music invited everyone to sing along...we even had The Grammy Awards on Christmas Eve! This really was our best season ever!!

Today, in this Holiday Season of 2022, I see Help Wanted signs and posts everywhere. Good help is hard to find, I hear. People just don't want to work, I hear. Whether you are looking just for the Holidays or, even better, your needs require the expertise and wisdom of today's seniors/Modern Elders, I encourage you to consider the work ethic, the spirit, and, yes! the wisdom of Grandmothers...and Grandpa's, too!

The workforce will benefit from the increase in older workers in numerous ways. Older workers:

  1. Have more skill and experience, they know what questions to ask.
  2. Stay in jobs longer and take fewer days off.
  3. Have a strong work ethic.
  4. Retain business knowledge and valuable networks of long relationships.
  5. Teamed with younger workers are proven to be much more successful.
  6. Train the next workforce.
  7. Provide valuable customer attention and consistency.
  8. Attract more business!

"At Katz's Delicatessen (Lower East Side), some older customers request that only the older workers prepare their orders. Younger customers catch on, and desiring the authentic experience of the New York landmark, request this as well, said Katz's owner." (read more in this delightful article here.)

All I ask for in return is that you promise to share your stories with me!

*I have a gift for you, a bit of grace for your new year. Take a pause and inhale the wisdom you are about to receive from this month's ultimate Modern Elder. You will want to read her every word. I know this is long, but I couldn't choose a single word to leave out. You’re in for a treat...

Dr. Gladys McGarey

Featured Modern Elder*

Dr. Gladys McGarey 102 years, and counting
Mother of Holistic Medicine

When you sit at the feet of the Master, you breathe in that rare air of universal spirit and soul. This is the third time I've had the privilege to be up-close and personal with Dr. Gladys McGarey, known the world over as the 'Mother of Holistic Medicine'. At 102 years of age, she just received her first literary contract for her seventh book, The Well-Lived Life, a 101 year old Doctor's Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Any Age.

And still, Dr. Gladys says: "I'm not through yet. There's too much work to be much work I need to do. I am still here." She still has a 10 year plan!

"No such thing as anti-aging! Age is just a number, not a stop sign! We are all going to age if you're alive, but how we age is our choice. People stopped seeing beauty in age, only in youth."

Dr. Gladys is passionate about this anti-aging topic, she is 102, after all, but I confess, having interviewed her over several decades, she still looks the same except even more beautiful. "After I turned 75, I walked past my mirror: Aunt Belle, what are you doing in my mirror?? I remembered Aunt Belle, in fact she scared me, so staunch and vocal. At 75, she had softened, and that's good...I like that." Sweet self reflection.

"It's all Barbie's fault. When we make our faces change to perfect our features you may be eliminating the joy you can grow into. My features express what I say...angry, sad, glad, my face shows it. A fake face doesn't work for me!"

As Dr. Gladys continues to share her words of wisdom, I do my best to keep up with her sharp mind and speed. I'm writing as fast as I can to capture her every word.

More golden nuggets from our Dr. Gladys:

"Life has to move. If it stops moving, it dies. Without life, there is nothing. Life has to move forward, moving you toward fulfillment, always forward to the light."

"There is always something that needs to get done. There must be a mission that you need to do. Don't save it! You can't store life. You have to do something with your life...something that shows your life is part of the world. We are our own puzzle piece: we fit where we belong, part of the whole of life at that moment."

"At 93, I found my voice. Because I was dyslexic, I had to repeat first grade. I was the class dummy, bullied until 3rd grade when a teacher finally saw me for the first time. Throughout my life as a Mother and Wife and Doctor, I deflected and denied my voice. Now, I claim my voice and honor the information coming through me."

"Aging is fascinating to me! I'm amazed how my body still functions at 102!"

My favorite book by Dr. Gladys McGarey is The World Needs Old Ladies...They are the Tree of Life.

"Grandmothers have lived long enough to take time to listen, to soften, to trust."

"Each one of us is special. We are given the gift of life supported by our roots, nurtured by the substance that is then transformed into our trunk, our bark, our branches, leaves, blossoms and fruits. We are the fruits and the seeds from the Tree of Life itself. We are Old Ladies, we know things...we know the essence of truth. We nourish the future."

Btw, January 14, 2023, Grandmothers Speak: Past, Present, Future...and Dr. Gladys is one of them. I would love to see you there...and it's free! Go here to sign up.

Dr. Gladys McGarey has been a family physician for nearly 70 years. She is a pioneer in holistic medicine, natural birthing, and the physician-patient partnership. She continues to blaze new trails for women in medicine, for fathers in delivery rooms, for today's healthcare reform, and safer birthing practices around the world.

At 92, Dr. Gladys began planning a holistic Village of Living Medicine with her board of The Foundation for Living Medicine. Its noble purpose is to expand the knowledge and application of holistic principles through scientific research and education. . The Village is planned to provide a serene and beautiful environment that emphasizes healing people. Dr. Gladys believes that "Healthcare today is focused on disease, not people." The Village continues to be at the center of her 10 year plan.

Here's Dr. Gladys' simple solution to a BIG problem:

"It worries me, these 18 year old killers/shooters. What is missing in their lives? They don't understand death...they watch TV and play digital games...On TV, people are never really dead. They don't really understand death, unless they had a dog die in their childhood. Instead of arming the teachers, just put a big dog in the classroom...a guard dogs! Dogs are already shared as therapy or service dogs...right? Dogs are much better than guns."

Her Mother inspired Dr. Gladys' humor, the way she twisted a circumstance or issue with laughter. 'Make do' was the best advice for Dr. Gladys. Born and raised in India, one of 5 children, 'make do' sounded like a good strategy for survival! Another good advice tool was BE GLAD: take what you get, and USE it. When Dr. Gladys realized the truth in these two mantras, she says, "I moved from karma into grace."

To me, Dr. Gladys is a living legend. I'm so blessed to have spent so much precious time with her. As she would say, "Please absorb what you find useful and bloom as you see fit..."

Wishing you the Happiest of Holidays and the Healthiest of New Years!

*Chip Conley, best-selling author and speaker, hospitality entrepreneur and leading thought leader, created The Modern Elder Academy's mission "to inspire the ability to reframe a lifetime of experience and recognize one's mastery, relevance, and value in the modern workplace." The Modern Elder* is Conley's term and effort that "liberates and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path of growing whole, not old...The Modern Elder*marries wisdom and curiosity."

Every month this newsletter will Feature the stories and wisdom of Modern Elders*. Please send in your Modern Elder* nomination. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT

Susan Brooks

Today, I am 76 years old, and proud of it! Paul Simon, who is now in his 80's said it best years ago: us boomers were BORN AT THE RIGHT TIME!

Yes, I was born at the right time! I'm still a hippie from the 60's, I marched for civil rights for all humans, equal rights for women, waving my bra with the best. I am proud to be living and growing in a robust marriage of 55 years. I survived motherhood, and so did my now-adult children. I was an award-winning woman business owner when there were but a few of us. I've learned a whole bunch of lessons, and more importantly, I've earned my fair share of Wisdom, too. I am Pro-Age!

According to Chip Conley, one of today's leading thought leaders: "Experience is making a comeback. Wisdom never grows old." Chip created the hallmarks of the Modern Elder*: "learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, cultivating a beginner's mind so that learning never ends, exemplifying a willingness to evolve both as a student and sage." Research shows that shifting our mindset about Aging can add 7.4 happy years to a person's life.

Proud to say I am a graduate of the Modern Elder Academy as well as an active participant in Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit programs. As one of the creators and hosts of the Thrive@55 event, we celebrated our female community leaders who were 55+.

As long as I'm able to see the sunrise every morning and keep a curious mind, there's more living to do, so much more to learn, and so many new ways to serve. Trailblazer that I am, and always will be, I recognize my next mission: by example and demonstration I am committed to Changing the Face of Aging: One Modern Elder* at a time!

I welcome both local and national speaking engagements as well as one-on-one coaching opportunities to delve more deeply into navigating life transitions. Email me Here.

Juicy ways and energizing action steps: how to soak in the wisdom and energy of becoming your own Modern Elder*
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