What was I thinking?

I scheduled my mammogram, my bone density scan, and my Medicare consultation all during the same week — right smack in the middle of the holiday season.

Glaring reminders of the fact that we’re getting older can be like a visitation from those scary ghosts in A Christmas Carol.

But one of the keys to remaining positive and joyous — not just during the holidays, but all year round — is to focus on those things we’re grateful for. My health check-ups are simply another way I can prevent REALLY bad things from happening and fulfill my goal of living to 120.

Are you feeling particularly Scrooge-y this holiday season? After all, 2020 has been a particularly nasty year. Here are some antidotes to the Bah Humbugs.

  • Do something childish. For example, I went to a drive-thru holiday light show with a girlfriend.
  • Bake, knit, or otherwise create something fun to give as a gift.
  • Volunteer. In-person opportunities may be limited this holiday season, but many local organizations are offering options for remote acts of kindness.
  • Create a festive atmosphere in your home. Twinkling lights, the music you love, and other little touches can lift your mood (especially while we’re trapped much of the time indoors).
  • Only commit to those events that will bring you joy. I’ve learned which ZOOMs are snoozefests and which ones connect me to fun and interesting people. One advantage of getting older is that we feel less guilty about saying no to boring or toxic stuff.
  • Try to bring a little levity to routine and dreaded activities. For example, I found a Medicare broker with a sense of humor. (Imagine that!) When I went for my health tests, I struck up conversations with the technicians. Our healthcare workers have been through a lot this year. We should thank them for their service.
  • Buy yourself a present. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, but it should feel like a treat. Maybe it’s just some fries with your burger or a new Audible download.
  • Make a list of some fun things you’re going to do and new skills you’re going to learn in 2021.

I would have much rather have been lying in a comfy king bed at the Bryant Park Hotel, looking out on the skating rink this year than lying on a table getting my bones scanned. And I’d much rather be getting kissed under some mistletoe than having my breasts squished by a stranger during the holiday season.

But small miracles still occur every day.

This year I’ll focus on those and the memories of holidays past. (And next year I’ll plan my doctor visits for October or January!)


  • Nancy A Shenker

    The Silver Hair Playbook: How to Be a Bad Ass >50™

    Nancy A. Shenker is a marketing innovator, brand builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule breaker. Over the course of her 40-year business and marketing career, she has been a C-level executive, an entrepreneur, and a mentor to hundreds of small businesses at all stages. Founder of theONswitch marketing, Nancy was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, and publishes a women’s entrepreneur community (www.sheBOOM.com), as well as AI/machine learning/robotics site www.EmbracetheMachine.com and travel and lifestyle site www.BleisureLiving.com. She also wrote a column for Inc.com called Bots & Bodies (about the human side of tech) and is a contributor to a wide range of consumer and business media. She recently won the "Killer Content Award" for a major project for a fast-growing technology company.