Disconnect: A New Movie Sounds the Alarm About Our Hyper-Connected Lives

imagesAt Cambridge, Arianna Huffington was moved by Benjamin Disraeli’s 1845 novel, Sybil, which raised awareness of the British poor and led to much needed social reforms. Huffington has admired writers and thinkers who attempt to showcase cultural predicaments in order to effect change.

Recently, she was the moderator of a panel discussion with the director and Frank Grillo and Marc Jacobs, two cast members of Disconnect. Written by Andrew Stern and directed by Henry-Alex Rubin, the film also stars Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Paula Patton, Alexander Skarsgård, and Michael Nyqvist. Disconnect “interweaves three stories, each involving characters whose lives have reached a crisis exacerbated by their dependence on technology at the expense of real human connection.” Henry-Alex Rubin stated during the Q & A that many people “use the Internet as medication, to dull pain and disappointments. One thing leads to another and, before you know it, you’re missing your own life.

Sherry Turkle, an MIT professor and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Othernoted in a TEDTalk that although people are together, as at a dinner, they are also disconnected via mobile devices which transport them elsewhere. Turkle explains that we are substituting one thing for another: “From social networks to sociable robots, we’re designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship,” she says. As a result, “we slip into thinking that always being connected is going to make us feel less alone,” but “actually it’s the opposite that’s true.”

Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina and author of Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become states that our online habits may rewire our neural pathways. “And so, she says, your answer to questions like ‘how much time do you typically spend with others?’ and ‘when you do, how connected and attuned to them do you feel?’ can in fact ‘reveal our biological capacity to connect.’ And, the research shows, by changing the ways you connect, you can change your capacity to connect.”

This is something which we might ponder when rethinking our lives at the “preretirement” stage. We have so very much on our plates with work, relocation — or not, family, friends, dating if we so choose, continued or new work, volunteering or not, etc. How does social media fit into our personal blueprint for the future?




Spring Date Idea

freshVegetablesFor gourmets, cooking a spring holiday dinner party together can be great fun. Mark Bittman and Sam Sifton did this in Brooklyn last December. They decided to impress 15 friends with a big holiday feast; everything from shopping to preparing and serving had to be completed in 8 hours. This time they traveled to historic Charleston to sample local bounty for their nondenominational spring feast.

Read about their dishes created with only the freshest local ingredients and conjure up your own plans:


10 Best Cities For Retirement in the U.S.

MW-AP896_retire_20120228184940_MGWhere are they? TopRetirements.com founder, John Brady, tells us that “the absolute best cities and towns for older Americans have good weather, access to health care, low property taxes, and a certain ‘wow’ factor. Throw in access to adult education, cultural activities, job opportunities for older Americans, low housing costs and income-tax rates, low crime rate, and good walkability and livability — and you get a list of both well-known and lesser-known cities and towns that retirees might fancy.”

Sarasota, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, heads the list with its reputation as “the cultural capital of the Sunshine State.” Sarasota’s low cost of living is tempting with median home prices at $130,00, average property taxes of $1,800 and no state income tax. Disadvantages include crime rates higher than the national average, unemployment at 9.8%, many tourists and traffic during the hot summers.

See all 10 cities with their pros and cons at:


How to Date Like a Grownup

Mature couple in cafeMany people past 50 find themselves back in the dating game after a very long hiatus. “Unreliability and confusion do not have to be a part of your dating-over-50 experience, dating coach Bobbi Palmer told Huff/Post50.” 

The relationship expert shares tips for women, giving special emphasis to the sensitivities of men. “They’ve been rejected since they were 14 years old at the dance. We think we have to deal with rejection, but they’ve had it 100 times worse. Compassion is the key to having an enjoyable time when you’re dating. They’re just like us and we’re all people.”

Her six-step plan commences with falling “in love with yourself.” “If you find yourself dating again in your 50s, chances are a major life event — whether it be divorce or losing your loved one — has given you quite the beating.” It’s about familiarizing yourself with whom you’ve become over the years.

There is an accompanying slide show, Where To Meet Singles Over 50, which includes volunteering, joining clubs and going online.slide_196948_472818_freeStay tuned for the most walkable cities for retirement tomorrow.



Think you’re a certain type? Think again!

Dressing_Your_Truth_email_07According to Fab Over Fifty’s style and beauty expert, Carol Tuttle, there are 4 “types” of women. Carol has developed a plan to assist you in assessing  your inner style and showcase it with color, makeup, hair and clothing selections.

Three lucky FOF’s will win Dressing Your Truth, an online makeover program and a $200+ shopping spree to Carol’s store.

Enter here:


How to Retire Solely on Social Security

FE_DA_090602_BPL2_auburnIn March 2011, the average monthly Social Security benefit was $1,179 and a couple each earning that would retire on $28,296 per year. In US News:Money, Emily Brandon shares some towns where this income would suffice, starting with Auburn, Alabama. Many are college towns, such as Boone, North Carolina, which allows seniors age 65+ to enroll in classes tuition-free. Others have nature preserves, lakes, etc. for outdoor activities or active cultural centers, with museums, concerts and festivals.


See also:


Boomer Apprentice Nomad

Zetlin_in_kitchen-560x373Mitchell Zetlin retired early because of an offer he couldn’t refuse. Friends were renting an apartment for two months in Oaxaca, Mexico and wanted him to join them. Oaxaca is to be Mitch’s “training wheels” for a new nomadic lifestyle away from his horse and farm in Virginia. Having quit his job in New York and traveled through Europe in his 20’s with a girlfriend, Mitch hopes to continue on this path intermittently.

Using the Oaxaca Lending Library as their informal headquarters, “part-time and some full-time expats” enjoy getting together for lectures and organizing hikes, movie outings and bridge groups. Here is a sampling of Mitch’s activities so far:

“I have traveled the villages and archeological sites out of town, hiked in the Sierra Madres, gone to two cooking schools, visited the museums, sat in the zocolo (the public square) watching the world pass by and listening to music that is everywhere. There have been museum and gallery art show openings that made me think I was back in New York. I have discovered the bohemian late night club scene that on somenights play current French films and on others starting at 11:00 p.m. there’s a circus with acrobats, magician, clown, and jugglers, all to the music of Django Reinhardt, the gypsy jazz guitarist from the 1930’s, pure magic.” 

This speaks to my wanderlust.