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Stage of Life® is a free writing community for Baby Boomers in the Empty Nest and Retirement stages of life.  Get involved with our educational mission:  Share a life experience about your empty nest experience or retirement planning, explore our retirement and empty nest resources, such as information about the Baby Boomer generation, quotes about Retirement, statistics about Baby Boomers, and more.  Plus, save money with our coupons for Baby Boomers.  Whether you're a retiree (or soon-to-be retiree) or "Empty Nester" - we look forward to reading your essays about and helping you save money during the empty nest and retirement years.

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Recent Writing Contest Winners

Winning Essay WritersWinning Writing Contest EssaysBefore you scroll down to read the essays, stories, and blogs being submitted to StageofLife.com, let's celebrate the recent writing contest winners.  We select one essay each month from across all of the non-student life stages to win our monthly blogging contests

Basically...these winning essays are selected from all of you "grown-ups" out there writing on Stage of Life...

Past Writing Contest Winners

Empty Nest & Retirement Stories

It was 1966 and her name was Mrs. Garrett. She was young and sported a very blond '60s haircut, you know the one--poofy with the big flipped up curls that lay above her shoulders--and she was very strict. There was never any doubt that Mrs. Garrett was the one and only boss in her second grade classroom.Back in those days, corporal punishment was THE acceptable form of classroom management and, most likely, Mrs. Garrett's sole reason for becoming a teacher. She made swift u...
The year that I got my iPad I realized that cookbooks were becoming obsolete. Suddenly, right at the touch of a fingertip, I had every incarnation of recipes and foodstuffs visually explained to me; and, not by Martha or Julia, but by good old-fashioned home cooks with just an iPhone camera. The intimidation factor was limited; and, the cooks were sometimes international. It was entertaining and informative. It was appointment cooking at its best. I viewed recipes fo...
We helped our older granddaughter with her model of a mission, a requirement of everyfourth-grader in California. It’s such a big deal that the craft stores have whole sections devoted to this endeavor. There are Styrofoam kits for the various California missions, with dozens of plastic accessories.We bought a kit, because it seemed the easiest thing to do. I found a jar of Christmas snow and used it to spread over the walls, giving them a textured effect. We put in pi...
Recently, two items precious to me disappeared: one a wedding ring, the other a charm from my late husband, inscribed “all my love.” I left them on my dresser and then they were gone--lost, strayed or stolen. The security officer in our assisted care facility took my information and suggested a prayer to St. Anthony, the retriever of lost items.That sounded fine to me. Although the saint and I are not members of the same tribe, we’re certainly on the same wavelength. The pr...
Many retirees work their entire lives towards and arrive at the date and age of retirement, seeking time to do nothing, travel, or quite frankly get the hell away form the stressful mundane rat race or the hamster wheel of life. This is a pivotal time to seek out and determine what your heart and soul truly wants and needs. Retirement is also a time to de-stress, from all of the responsibilities you come to believe is necessary in your life. A time to reflect and de-clutt...
Doris Baker, a 96 year-old resident of Atlantic Shores Retirement Community in Virginia Beach, and a member of the Greatest Generation shares a special story about her dad in honor of Father’s Day:My father has always been special in my life. His arms held me up in a muddy lake near our farm so I could learn to dog-paddle. I knew I was secure. He would never trick me into learning by letting me go. One spring day he dug down in our lawn to plant some bushes and found a very...
I was certainly my father's daughter. Though he died too young and too soon at age 55 on a Father's Day, he is always with me.Eli, better known to me as Pop, began work early in life in the Upstate New York cotton mills. He told us about having to be hidden in a box whenever the child-labor inspectors came checking.Although Pop’s older siblings went to college--his sister to study business, one brother to become a pharmacist, he and another brother, Frank, opened a ju...
What do a song, a fragrance, and a friend have in common? If they are old enough, they have the power to transport us back in time. Luckily for me, when it happens, I typically end up in a good place. I am not sure if that is because I have blocked out most of my painful memories, or if I just choose to see my past as positive. For instance, I can hear Crimson and Clover, by Tommy James and the Shondells and think of my first slow dance when I was in Junior High. T...
Graduates,When you think about this day in the future, and you will think there are things you won't remember.You won't remember the scratchy robe, the awkward hat or the colors you wore. In fact, you probably won't remember the names of your classmates at your 20 and 30 year reunions. But I can tell you one thing you will remember.You will remember the feelings you had in your heart today. You will remember the feelings.You will remember how this day made you fe...
As each day goes by, I am asked whether I remembered to take care of the chores that burden my life. In this Independent Living set up where I live, it is anything but independent. For every request, there is a form which must be filled out in a timely manner; their time, not mine. As part of the aging process, I gave up my car--a big mistake. Ironically, most of the approved drivers are older than I. My hearing is good, and I am only slightly near-sighted, which i...
Soon it will be your yahrtzeit, the anniversary of your death. You died on Sukkot, your unfavorite Jewish festival. You didn’t think much of the lulav and etrog, the palm frond and citron fruit--thought it looked pagan. But you passed away on Sukkot and had to wait for a few days to be buried. Jessica remembers how she and our other grandchildren sat with you so you wouldn’t be lonely. I should have gone, too, but I didn’t think it was permissible. Wi...
DUTCH COURAGE“Dutch courage,” he informed the bartender bringing him his gin and tonic, a hipster with flat brim ironic cap and big glasses.“Seven fifty.” Why did he pick such an expensive place? Was it pretentious?“Why do they call it ‘Dutch’ courage?”“Dunno. Need change?”“No, thanks. I’m nervous – meeting a woman here –first date in nine years.:No reply. The bartender couldn’t care less. Why do some people say ‘culd’ care less? God, I am pretentious,...
It was reported by several news outlets on April 29, 2014, that Harper Lee who authored the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” has agreed allow the book to be available to the public in EBook format on July 8 2014, which is the 54th anniversary of the original publication release date.As a young fifty year old, I consider myself between the tail end of the baby boomers generation with one foot and the other in the world of technology. I grew up reading books the old fashion way ...
I was sixteen, going on seventeen. It was in January of 1957 when I met my future husband. I walked into College Prep English and surveyed the room. It was an overflow class that consisted of only seventeen students. The room was filled with great-looking and smart students. I looked around and picked out three good-looking fellows that interested me. Almost immediately, I eliminated two of them. They were super cute but I realized they were probably out of my league. ...
When I retired in my early 50's, I moved to southwest Florida for the warm weather and available outdoor activities. Once I settled in, I immediately noticed seniors in groups of two, three, and four or more running, walking and bicycling throughout the day, and they were not moving in these activities with a leisurely stroll. Most were in a full on cardio sweat, no matter what activity they were engaged in. They all wore brightly colored clothing along with their match...
The style in which you live is constantly in flux as you age. Obviously your bedroom as a young adult was different from what it looked like when you were a teenager. As people marry, pursue careers, have children, the style of living that works for them will also morph and change to fit their new needs and socioeconomic status. That living style undergoes a final change as people retire and choose how they wish to live the rest of their life.[b]Moving to a senior neighbo...
ON BEING SCHIZOPHRENICBy Margery WakefieldMy eyes are different from your eyes. No problem.I weigh more than you do. No problem.You are taller than I am. No problem.My brain is different from your brain. BIG problem, especially if I happen to have schizophrenia, which I do. Because I am schizophrenic, I can be fired from my job, thought of as a deranged killer, called names like “nuts,” “psycho,” “fruitcake,” “wacko,” “crazy,” “weirdo,” loony,” and many othe...
March Madness: Grumpy Old Men My friend Danny will be happy. Danny was probably born grumpy. He is a pessimist who claims to be depressed even when he sleeps. He has a scowl permanently imprinted on his face. And whenever I try to press optimism on him, he gives me his best evil eye and reminds me of what he has so often said: Simply, pessimists were disappointed less often because they didn’t expect much. Optimists, on the other hand, those with happy expectations...
“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports; the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Jim McKay, Sportscaster As the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games begin, that introduction to ABC Wild World of Sports from 1978 keeps ringing in my head. Very few of us will ever experience the thrill of victory in the form of an Olympic medal, but most of us can relate to the agony of defeat. In 1962, my mother decided to treat my sibling...
After our brief first meeting, my future husband phoned for a date, offering:…wert thou as farAs that vast shore washed with the farthest sea,I would adventure for such merchandise.That was a pretty good line to try on an English major; not as prosaic as saying that his sister-in-law’s sister was my neighbor. A favorite stanza he had learned as a child was:[i]Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I: But when the trees bow down their heads, The wind...
It's 2014 and time for your yearly update. I think you'd be happy to know that all your old friends are doing quite well. Eternity is still chugging along (rather swimmingly last time I checked). She is still the same thoughtless girl you knew, never stopping or turning no matter how many men plead with her to reconsider. Death is still the kindly gentleman you used to love to walk with. I go on walks with him often. Sometimes he'll even bring out that rusty char...
Any minute now, we'll be buying a new car. How exciting! Pay a fortune for something that depreciates 100 percent before you get it home, unless it’s a very short drive. OK, so maybe it’s not that exciting. Memorable? I can't remember buying my first car.Motorcycle or Car?I was a grad student working at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, needing transportation. Heriberto, a co-worker, offered to loan or sell me his Harley Davidson motorcycle. As an ...
I am researching unique places to retire. They usually do not have elaborate chandeliers. The people who live there are liberal-minded, caring human beings who enjoy walking and hiking and used to go camping and maybe still do. The place is probably rather small and environmentally somewhat remote. I mean, not in the middle of NYC (a joke).Maybe the people like to play scrabble of a somewhat advanced type.They have good senses of humor. These characteristics also apply to tho...
My mantra has been “somebody, let me outta here” and after twenty years that somebody was me. A journey filled with the domino effect of medical issues that led to brain surgery, wheelchairs, walkers, canes and handicap stickers. Of course we cannot forget all the normal stresses in life, even my soul was on spiritual life support. Like everyone else who finds themselves in a world of chaos and mayhem, a personal choice is made…to live or give up and die. I choose to live and...
Teaching in an elementary school is the perfect place to witness a definite lack of civility. It's also the perfect place to begin to understand why civility is dead or dying. I suppose one could blame it on technology or social media or reality television or even the idea that civility is an antiquated idea that has no place in today's progressive society. But I believe it has more to do with poor parenting. I see students walking around school dressed in self importance s...
The psychology behind this question is far too complicated to thoroughly explore in the word requirement. Age, level of intelligence, home environment, socio/economic background, ethnicity, geography and religion are just a few of the factors that contribute to an individual's perception of manners. What my parents taught and expected of me in terms of manners is entirely different from what I taught and expect of my child. I was born into a southern household in the...
A friend of mine chooses a word each year that she can relate to as a guiding light of sorts. Last year she inspired me to do likewise. My thinking is that one word, thoughtfully selected could promote change, as well or possibly better, than a long list of New Year Resolutions. Last year I wanted to do more than resolve to change; I wanted to "define" a singular focus that would guide me to change. So, I searched for one tidy, little word that would sum up my hopes and ...
Not that long ago, while transferring bags from shopping cart to car trunk, I realized I had forgotten to buy bread. I reentered the market, grabbed the forgotten item and, when checking out, did something I hadn’t done anywhere in a very long time: I paid with cash. Fortunately, the cashier knew exactly what to do with the five-dollar bill I tendered. She handed me the bagged loaf and, after consulting the cash register, two one-dollar bills and coins. At home, when I re...
Energy, invincibility, and the spirit of adventure are descriptive words that one visualizes of college graduates. It is exciting to be a 61 year old college graduate with the energy, renewed sense of invincibility that interconnects with the spirit of adventure. It has been an eye opening journey having been exposed to the social media, diverse technology, and critical thinking or lack of. The stability of society is based on shared core values. We baby-boomers had t...
Ring, ring. Ring, ring. “Hello? Oh, hey! How was your trip?”“Who is it?” I asked my mother.“It’s grandma. She and Georg just got back from their cruise. Where did you go again, Mom?” “They went to Hawaii. You want to talk to them?”I nodded and she handed me the phone, “Hey Grandma!”My grandparents were always traveling. In the winter, when it was too cold for them to come up and see the family in PA, they would travel to exotic locations such as Hawaii, Alaska, Australi...

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