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Slowing down; put the phone down and live life

Dear Annie: I retired 11 years ago, but I could have been the obsessed woman addicted to her iPhone before I retired.

But in the previous decade, as I lay in my hospital room, recovering from serious stress-induced internal surgery, I kept addressing the “pings” on my phone.

My oldest daughter, a special needs faculty member at a local junior high school, took the phone from my hand and said, “Stop.”

At first, I was frustrated. I felt cut off from my busy executive life as a local elected official. Eventually, I adjusted.

Following six months of difficult recovery, where I only worked part time, I announced my retirement. My daughter was shocked, my husband elated.

I still check my phone, and I still stay in volunteer roles, but life is different for me, and I am a happy 76-year-old grandmother, much less stressed.

A person may listen, but they need to make the decision themselves. Nagging doesn’t work. — Just Grandma in Washington

Dear Grandma: I love the idea of slowing down and putting away the iPhone. While technology is amazing, like any good thing, it needs to have its limitations and a time and place.

Dear Readers: In the spirit of slowing down and smelling the roses, I’m going to treat you with my favorite excerpt from “Walden”:

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”

Dear Annie: I’ve got to be the luckiest guy ever. I married a great girl, who is the mother of our four children. I got fixed to not have more children and was married to the hottest sexiest woman ever! Now I’m in my 80s. I’m married to the 80-year-old who I’ll go to the nursing home with, who I am confident will be with me all the way. She has four children, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren (soon to be nine). IT’S ALL THE SAME GREAT WOMAN!!! We got married in 1960. — The Luckiest Guy in the World.

Dear Lucky: I love your letter so much. Congratulations on finding true love. Your gratitude comes through in spades.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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