since you asked…

Summer days in Westchester may include nature walks, tending to your vegetable garden, swimming laps, playing golf with friends or simply relaxing with a good book and a cool beverage outside on the deck. Five Westchester residents share their thoughts on staying positive, favorite summer activities and life lessons.

How did you keep your spirits up this year?
In addition to reading science fiction and setting up her basement as an art studio for drawing and painting, Somers resident Patricia Humphreys makes time to walk outside and photograph swans on the reservoir. Retired after careers as a para-legal and reference librarian, Patricia adds, “I also discovered new kinds of entertainment like watching Chinese dramas on You Tube!”

Everett Fields, a lifelong Greenburgh resident, says, “I have a lot of stuff around the house to keep me amused.” A songwriter in his spare time, the retired Verizon technician enjoys writing songs using computer software programs.

“Fortunately, I am a creative individual,” says Jerry Becker, a retired New York City high school science teacher and Yonkers resident. “My interests allowed me to be distracted positively from all that’s going on.” Jerry listens to classical and new age music and plays piano, drums and harmonica. He maintains a schedule of one hour of tai chi, yoga, weights and aerobics every day. “I also have a very creative wife, a dancer,” Jerry notes. “I have survived and thrived.”

Janice Boland of Bedford kept her spirits up over the winter by reading travel, gardening and nonfiction books, going out for nature walks, and practicing tai chi. A retired editorial and art director for an educational publisher, as well as a children’s book author, Janice says, “I play the piano for my own enjoyment and I also take a weekly creative writing class over Zoom which challenges me to write stories for adults.”

Heidi Candell, MSW, LCSW, traded commuting from Scarsdale for working virtually from home three days a week as a psychotherapist. “I made a list of things that I had not been able to do before,” explains Heidi. “I enjoyed reading novels, cooking more, exercising, and being home with my dog. I was able to spend time with my three adult sons who are the funniest people in the world.”

What is your favorite summer activity?
Jerry Becker enjoys walking in the park. A world traveler, Jerry and his wife hope to resume traveling in the not-too-distant future. Patricia Humphreys and her husband have fun discovering new hiking trails in Westchester. She also plants flower varieties in her garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Everett Fields looks forward to hosting family cook-outs in the backyard this summer with “steak, chicken and ribs.”
Summer plans for Heidi Candell include biking with her husband around Larchmont Manor and attending outdoor music concerts with the family. Janice Boland’s favorite summer activity is going out on the lake in her rowboat. “It’s very peaceful and calming,” she says, “and good exercise!”

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Heidi says, “To not feel in a hurry to hit all of my goals and to trust your gut that things will work out the way they are supposed to.”

“Follow your interests and dreams and don’t take the practical route,” advises Janice Boland.

Everett would encourage his younger self, “Be more adventurous and try new things.”

“Be more adventuresome and outgoing,” agrees Patricia Humphreys.

Jerry Becker reflects, “Knowing what I know now, I would say to be more accepting of myself as a human being and not to be so demanding, driven or competitive.”

Sage advice. Be kind to yourself and applaud your resilience and strength. You’ve earned that extra scoop of ice cream, my friends!

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