First, welcome to all new subscribers and welcome back to those who have been reading this newsletter for some time.

This month there are 3 topics: 1. A special joy that only elders have 2. Green tea tip 3. Getting free of stuff

1. Special joy of elders.. "What are you going to be when you grow up?" That question is often asked of children because one of the tasks of the first stage of human development is to imagine and dream of future alternatives. If you know any children you realize that they often plan to be fire fighters, doctors, rap stars, sanitation workers, teachers, pilots, writers....sometimes all in the same week.

In the second phase of human development (adulthood) some of those day dreams are abandoned in the quest for a stable work life and taking on the responsibilities of family and community. In fact some adults almost lose the ability to imagine different futures for themselves. For these retirement can be like an end. They have no idea who they will be without the identity of work and/or parenting. Of course we hope they can grow past such limitations.

Anyone who can not give up the limitation of thinking of themselves only in their adult roles, the third stage of human development appears to be a long draw out decline and they make a frantic effort to retain adulthood. They spend their days exercising and learning so as to PRESERVE as much of their adult powers as they can for as long as they can.

But elderhood can be an exhilarating ride. Elders can ask themselves what do I WANT TO DO this year, what do I want to learn, where do I want to go, what cause do I want to embrace? In other words elders have all the fun of anticipating just as they did when in the first stage of human development BUT because they have the skills and experience from their adult years, they can work through problems and actually DO the things they want to do. Theirs is a fulfilling life and those living such a life find difficulties fading into the background as they pursue their elder dreams.

I do not know how you will do this. Some people draw up lists - 10 things I want to do this year. Others create longer lists: 80 things I want to do before I am 85. Others ask themselves each week or month.

Whatever your method I wish you much joy in the journey. Only elderhood offers so many the opportunity to dream AND to fulfill those dreams. This is YOUR time to be who you really are and want to be. Enjoy it!

2. Green Tea - If you drink green tea - and many of us do - consider buying organic green tea. A recent study found that more than half the brands tested were contaminated by DDT, a pesticide long outlawed in many countries. It is worth the few extra cents you will pay for an organic brand.

3. Clutter is depressing. Many of us have more 'stuff' that we need or use and believe it or not, it weighs on us and can have an effect on our health.

Suggestion: Plan to clear a room a month or a closet a week. Go through all your things - savor the memories they bring. Then ask yourself do I need this? Do I want this? If the answer is NO, ask yourself who might want or need it. And remove it from your house or apartment.

Take all the things you have NEVER used and either begin using them RIGHT NOW...or put them in a box to be sold or given away. Some people in their 70's still have unused wedding gifts! If you haven't used something in two years, you do not need it. Sell it. Give it away. Pitch it out. But do not keep stuff --- it weighs on you in ways you may not realize.

If you have children, you might make a box for each - a box that will hold any of their things that you still have. And you might want to make another box of other things from they years they lived at home.

Then invite them for a 'claim it' afternoon. Tell them you are clearing out and that there will be a CLAIM IT party on such and such a date. Some families turn this into a celebration - take out food and all. For others it turns out to be a day of stories and reminiscence.

Ask your children to go through the box in which you have put their things and decide what they want. Anything they do not want, goes in the 'dispose of it pile.'

As for the other things, put it all out on the floor or on tables and invite each to claim any one thing...then others make their claims. When everyone is finished allow them to pack the things they are taking and haul them off.

Some families find this a wonderful time of reminiscences. Others find that the adult children have so many things that they really do not want any more stuff...not even stuff full of memories. So be it. You are decluttering and you will feel better for it.

What no one wants, dispose of. Give it away.....sell it on ebay...ask an antique dealer to come by and see if there is anything s/he will buy....put it in the trash. But clear it out before the end of the month!

You will feel freer - really. As the title says 'an incredible lightness of being' and you now have room for your 'joy factor' to increase.

Oh, yes. some feel an initial disappointment if they find the children do not want some things or ANYTHING. But really it is all part of elderhood - letting go, allowing others to be who they are....as we free ourselves to be ALL of who we are.

That stuff in the closets, cabinets, dressers that you really do not use or do not plan to enjoy binds you. Let it go and you will be free to live your NOW days more fully.

Thanks for reading.

Until next month...

Kate