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12.01.22 | Sage Advice

The Importance of Normalizing Grief

Pain and grief are a natural part of our lives and aren’t just things we see or feel at the end of life. In reality, these feelings surround us daily whether we know it or not, and while they’re typically associated with sadness, they don’t always have to be. And while grief is often seen as taboo, it’s important to alter the conversation around the subject to create a safe and supportive community for all.

It’s critical to know that there is no perfect answer to everything with grief; everyone has to find what works best for them, and this may look different depending on the person. So, try to be patient with yourself, and take every day one step at a time. 

One of the best ways to normalize the process of grieving is simply by acknowledging what you’re going through. Let yourself feel everything, and allow yourself space to feel comfortable sharing those feelings, even if that means you need a break here or there. Ensure that you also have a way to do something with your feelings, which can be anything from talking to friends or family to writing or painting. 

While looking for support from others can sometimes feel selfish, it’s not. Lean on as many people as possible and remember to look for the good in the situation. By being vulnerable, you allow the opportunity to build trust, relationships and support.  

Grief is something we all experience. It’s not something we can hide from, so why not face it head-on and create a safe and supportive experience not only for yourself, but for the world? 

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11.03.22 | Sage Advice

Pause, Reflect, and Celebrate Your Wins

Life can often feel as if it’s moving at uncomfortable speeds. From working and errands to relationships you have to take care of, rushing through life can be a lot on your wellbeing. And, if you’re not careful, it’s easy to get misplaced and lose track of your goals, which is why it’s important to remember to pause and reflect every so often before journeying ahead. 

Because lives are more of a marathon than a sprint, pacing yourself to what you feel comfortable with rather than rushing ahead is crucial. Pausing is a great way to take a constructive break on your journey, and it gives you the time to thoughtfully evaluate your accomplishments. Take a look at your goals and purposes and ask yourself if you’re still on track, if you need to speed things up or slow things down and if you have the resources to continue. 

Too often in life, because of busyness and day-to-day, it’s paramount to celebrate your victories, and thankfully, pausing leaves the perfect opportunity to do so. It’s crucial to remember that no matter how big or small they may be, you should be proud of every accomplishment and victory you achieve. Take a moment to celebrate each one and reward yourself for your efforts!

While it’s essential to evaluate achievements and celebrate victories, it’s also important to acknowledge your mistakes so you can learn from them in the future. While some mistakes are obvious, others are hidden by bias, but in all cases, you should look at every mistake as an opportunity for learning, not a failure. Besides, learning about your previous mistakes ensures a lesser chance of repeating them in the future!

Taking a moment to pause and reflect gives you a chance to ensure that you’re still on the track for success, no matter your goals. So, as much as you may want to rush to your dreams, it doesn’t hurt to take a break – it helps!

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07.21.22 | Sage Advice

Personal Statements and Manifestos

As we continue our Vibrant Living Programming, we also want to resume sharing rich content that compliments our spirited training, and this month’s theme is freedom. Along with independence and opportunity, freedom can mean many things to many people. Today, we’re exploring how independence inspires purpose, how personal manifestos can propel that purpose even further and how you can create one of your own. 

A personal manifesto performs as a declaration of what you truly want from life, which makes it the perfect tool for engaging personal independence. Traditionally, you might know manifestos as published statements declaring the intentions or beliefs of organizations, similar to our Vibrant Living Manifesto. However, manifestos are fluid and can be similarly used by individuals to act as both a statement of ethics and a call to action and are powerful in giving life meaning and direction.

Whether you’re in search of a guiding compass, a frame, a reminder of your priorities or simply inspiration, creating a personal manifesto is sure to provide your life with a foundation of additional meaning and direction. Learn how to write your own below: 

Begin your manifesto by writing down your values, beliefs, behaviors you apply to life and other areas you want to address. If you’re having trouble thinking of what to write, it might be easier to ask yourself questions about those themes. Remember, personal manifestos are exactly how they sound, personal, so yours is likely to be unique to itself. 

After creating your list, start to transform each point of interest into active, declarative statements; use powerful language, don’t worry about the length and remember to keep it uplifting and positive. When finished, make a copy and put it somewhere you will see every day; your manifesto could be the perfect tool for vibrant living, write and live it now!

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04.07.22 | Uncategorized

The Importance of Knowing Your Family History

For many, digging into family histories may sound like a wholly worthwhile experience, while others may find it too time-consuming and extensive of a process – a common misconception. However, it’s more important than ever for all of us to learn, record and preserve the rich history connected to each of our lineages for our well-being and the well-being of future generations.

Our family histories are more than just birthdates and family tree charts; they’re full of rich information that helps each of us gain a stronger understanding of who we are. The information tied to family history has the ability to empower identities and build self-worth, especially for those who might not currently have access to information tied to their family’s past. 

As we collaborate with family, community members and other resources that may help us discover our family history, we not only build connections with people in the present but also from the past and into the future. 

Along with empowering identities, family history knowledge can have dramatic effects on your health and others in your family. Have you ever had a blank mind when the doctor asks if certain health conditions run in your family? Taking the time to reach out to family, and learn more about their medical history, is the best way to avoid this and discover what you might be at risk for. Knowing this history can help you make informed choices concerning your health to live a more vibrant life

There are countless resources online and in-person that you should take advantage of when starting your genealogical journey. The first resources everyone should look to are the ones you might already have, like family trees, scrapbooks and other family history basics. If you don’t have any yourself, connect with distant relatives to gather materials that you believe would be helpful to you. 

Websites like FamilySearch.org are perfect for those of us who want to dive even deeper into their identity and background, and it’s free to use. Another way to stay involved online is by joining the family history conversation online. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are perfect for making connections and expanding your resources through a network of family historians. 

Whether you already have a great deal of knowledge related to your family history or you’re new to the ancestry trend, having access to genealogy can change your life. Try taking an hour out of the day to poke around and see what you can discover for yourself.

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12.28.21 | Sage Advice

2021: A Year in Review

2021 was a year of growth for Sage Collective, as we continued evolving and celebrating exciting milestones. Today, we’re reflecting on the past year and sharing our proudest achievements:

Breaking Ground on Our King Drive Properties

In 2020 we acquired our first two properties located in the Bronzeville community at 4108 and 4112 South King Drive. This year, we were proud to officially break ground on the project. In September 2021, Sage Collective’s Board of Directors and various members of our wonderful construction crew including, the General Contractor Shevaz Freeman, Owner’s Rep Ernest Brown and the Architect Gregory Williams, gathered to celebrate the event. In addition to the groundbreaking, we sat down with Board Member and VP for Legal & Development Dwain Kyles to learn more about the project and how it contributes to Sage’s vision for the future.  

Partnership With Chicago Commons

At the beginning of April, Sage Collective collaborated with Chicago Commons, a longstanding trailblazer of change in our community. The two-part live Q&A event addressed both facts and myths regarding the COVID-19 virus and vaccination that was new to everyone at the time. Rear Admiral (Ret) James M. Galloway, MD, FACP, FACC, who is one of the brilliant minds on our leadership team, helped answer a variety of questions and addressed the medical inequity in Black and Brown communities. Stay tuned for upcoming events with Chicago Commons in the new year.

Expanding our Vision

Following the launch of our website, blog and social media platforms in 2020, we have continued to share engaging material that enlightens audiences with our rich vision for the future. Along with elaborating on our 9 Vibrant Ways of Living, we were able to have meaningful conversations that amplified our work as we continue celebrating the historic community of Bronzeville. With the wealth of knowledge and experience from everyone on our team, we have broadened a collective understanding of older adult living, health and wellness that has led us to become changemakers in our community, where we are focused on creating innovative strategies for older adult programming, residences and lifestyles. 

We can’t wait to continue sharing this journey with you and see what 2022 brings!

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12.23.21 | Sage Advice

Best Winter Day Trips Close to Chicago

While Chicago brings a variety of enjoyable activities to partake in during the winter, sometimes a break from all the bustle and noise of the city is welcome. For our fellow Bronzeville residents who might need a getaway this winter, here are the best day trips you can take to brighten your perspective with a change in scenery:  

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Only a 1-½ hour drive away sits the quaint city of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The beloved destination has been a top destination for Chicago residents for generations and offers a variety of fun-filled activities and stops for all ages. While the summer months are Geneva’s most popular tourist times, winter brings a much tamer atmosphere. 

For lovers of the outdoors, Geneva’s Lake Shore trail is the perfect opportunity to enjoy spectacular views in the brisk air. Once February arrives, the famous lake becomes filled with extraordinary ice sculptures, bonfires on the beach and more. While it is the coldest season, don’t miss your chance to experience the incredibly warm community.  

Lake Geneva’s impressive ice sculptures

Michigan City, Indiana

An adorable city located just off of Lake Michigan’s shores, Michigan City should be high on everyone’s list to visit this winter. The town is only one hour away from Chicago and is surrounded by one of America’s most stunning national wonders, the Indiana Dunes State and National Parks. While winter isn’t typically the time of year many choose to visit the lakeside landscape, witnessing the sand-swept mounds covered in layers of soft snow is sure to delight all visitors.  

While many enjoy a stroll on one of the many trails found in the park, the town offers guests a variety of other ventures, including shopping at the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, dazzling architecture at Barker Mansion and an array of wineries and breweries. 

Take a Joyride up Lake Shore Drive 

Sometimes the best day trip is just hopping in the car and taking a drive to enjoy your surroundings, which is exactly what Lake Shore Drive delivers. Arguably the prettiest extended urban parkway in the nation, the 18-mile expressway runs from Ardmore Street on its north end to 71st Street on its south end, and lucky for Bronzeville residents, the best place to start the journey is from the south.  

The ride is filled with recognizable Chicago landmarks that include the Museum of Science and Industry, Soldier Field, Navy Pier and Lincoln Park alongside spectacular views of Lake Michigan. However, once you reach the end of the trip, don’t be afraid to stop there. Exiting on N Sheffield Road will take you through several alluring suburbs filled with even more attractions and impressive architecture. 

Whether you’re taking a thrilling trip to a neighboring state or simply enjoying a joyride down a historic street, we hope this inspires you to find your new favorite winter getaway from the city! 

The stunning view of Lake Michigan from the Indiana Dunes near Michigan City, Indiana
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12.14.21 | Sage Advice

Deliciously Healthy Winter Dishes For Any Gatherings

When winter comes around, no matter where you end up, it’s not difficult to find the sweet treats and savory meals that are traditionally associated with the season. However, for those inspired to maintain or start conscious eating habits, the winter can be a difficult time filled with temptation. Today, inspired by our vibrant living principles, we’re sharing a few deliciously healthy winter dishes that anyone can enjoy this winter. 

Sweet Potatoes

A favorite during this time of year, sweet potatoes are hard not to enjoy. While most people enjoy sweet potatoes even sweeter, baked with brown sugar and marshmallows, there are various methods to cook the vegetables that are just as enjoyable but much healthier. Like a standard potato, sweet potatoes can be served in a variety of ways. Baking them whole, mashing them, and even dicing them in a salad proves how versatile the vegetables can be. No matter how you cook them, we promise they won’t lose the sweetness that makes them so delectable in the first place. 

Winter Crudités

Who doesn’t love a mix of fresh vegetables? Crudités make the perfect winter dish for that reason. Not only can the appetizer appeal to virtually anyone, but it comes with a plethora of highly vitamin-packed vegetables that you can personally pick and choose. If you want to put a twist on the classic appetizer, make your own tasty dip to pair with the refreshing produce. 

Festive Fruit Salad

While it might seem out of season, a festive and healthy fruit salad is sure to excite taste buds in the winter. Similar to the crudités, not only is this dish healthy, but you can bring it and eat it anywhere and anytime. The nourishing food makes a perfect option for a morning snack or a late-night dessert. Along with the fruit, don’t be afraid to add in extra ingredients that bring even more flavor to the salad like mint, basil, lavender or even cayenne pepper for a little heat. 

Seasonal Squash

Another versatile food, squash is the perfect vegetable to substitute in and out of almost every traditional meal. Typically harvested in the fall, the nutrient-packed acorn squash, sugar pumpkins, spaghetti squash and butternut squash are available for cooking your favorite dishes year-round. Some seasonal favorites include butternut squash mac and cheese, soup and casserole, stuffed acorn squash and roasted spaghetti squash with kale

Even with the sweet temptations that surround us throughout the holiday season, healthy options are never too far out of reach. Whether you’re serving food at home for yourself or preparing a dish to bring to a gathering, there are various methods we can each take to continue practicing conscious eating habits and living vibrantly.

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12.09.21 | Sage Advice

The Power of Music

There are many ways older adults can keep their minds sharp as they age, including scrapbooking, mentoring or even owning a pet. However, one of the most significant ways to actively exercise the brain is simply by listening to music. Many of us will play our favorite song or put background music on without any thought, but the melodic sounds have the power to stimulate our brains unlike anything else. 

Music and The Brain

If you’re seeking to retain your brain’s powerhouse abilities with age, John Hopkins Medicine affirms that listening to or playing music is an extremely powerful tool in doing so. What many don’t understand is that when we listen to music, mathematical puzzles are simultaneously being performed in our heads. With each note that passes through our ears, our brain toils to compute how it connects to each previous sound.

The unique tool can help assist in gathering memories that have felt lost in time. Sometimes a specific song will have the power to transport you to a specific moment in history; that’s because studies have discovered that music has the power to attract itself to memories, and with that, improve cognitive skills, and recognition and working memory. 

Engaging with music frequently has the ability to retrieve forgotten memories for older adults living with diseases contributing to memory loss and reduce anxiety, depression and pain in those who are battling other disabilities, like PTSD. 

The Intersection of Music and Medicine

Experts are continuously trying to understand where music fits in with medical treatment. Robert Gupta, violinist and social justice activist, has been a chameleon in both the music and medical industry nearly his whole life. Now, after realizing he can be involved in both of his passions, Gupta is finally understanding the sheer power music has in succeeding in areas where traditional western medicine isn’t able to reach, especially for vulnerable communities. Explore more in Gupta’s TED Talk here: 

 

Instilling Music in Your Life

Although the easiest way to integrate music into your life is by simply pressing play on your favorite album, there are numerous other ways you can reap its benefits at home and within your community. Attending concerts and musicals, in person or through a virtual environment like your television, are perfect ways to stimulate your brain while entertaining everyone in the room. 

While listening to music is just one of the ways you can engage with the effective tool, playing an instrument and singing produces even more marvel responses. Music groups are excellent ways to enjoy the sounds of music while also engaging with those around you in meaningful ways. They can be found anywhere from community-organized troops to the choir at your local church.

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12.07.21 | Sage Advice

Sage How-to: Carefully Shopping Online

With the giving season quickly approaching, stores are becoming overwhelmingly packed with gifts and crowds looking to purchase them; what many forget is that online shopping offers the perfect alternative to finding everything you’re searching for this holiday season. Although, as accessible and exciting as the experience is, it can come with unexpected events that may lead to negative experiences, especially during this time of year. Today, we’re highlighting the necessary steps everyone should take while shopping online to make your experience effortless and enjoyable this winter and throughout the year.

Use Familiar Websites

One of the most significant steps you can take to make sure your online shopping experience finishes without any troubles is by sticking to the websites of companies you know are trusted. It’s tempting to explore new stores, especially with the convenience of online shopping, but venturing into new sites isn’t always the best idea. To make it easier on yourself during the holiday season, make sure to bookmark all of your favorite online retailers throughout the year. If you want to shop somewhere you haven’t before, make sure to search the Better Business Bureau website for any complaints made against them, check out their online reviews, or simply call the business to verify their credibility. 

Only Shop In Secure Locations

You should avoid shopping in public spaces or businesses as much as possible if you can. Whether you are in an airport or your local cafe, public Wi-Fi connections offer the possibility for trouble. Because it can be easy for scammers to collect data through Wi-Fi connections, it’s always safest to either stay off Wi-Fi when in public or make your purchase from a secure location.

Go Mobile 

Shopping from a mobile device is easier than ever and offers some of the safest ways to protect your data while making your big purchases. Not only is shopping from your phone usually more accessible than shopping from a computer, but more and more companies are also developing apps for their customers to buy from, which frequently provide heightened security compared to their websites. While going mobile, you can also take advantage of its other affordances, including secure mobile payment options commonly protected by passwords and facial recognition. 

Check Your Statements

After making your online purchases, make sure to periodically check your bank or credit card statements for anything that looks out of the ordinary. Some accounts will even let you set up notifications alerting you of any new activity made on your card. In most cases, if possible, it’s best to use a credit card for your holiday purchases. Paying with a debit card grants easy access to your bank account for scammers, and while a compromised credit card is still not ideal, most companies offer $0 liability in cases of fraud. 

Whether you’re buying for a friend, family member, or even yourself, don’t hesitate to take control over your digital environment with these simple steps that can make your online shopping experience safer than ever, especially this holiday season.

A person with a laptop on their lap is holding a credit card ready to type the numbers in to buy something online.
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12.02.21 | Sage Advice

Exploring Bronzeville: The Little Black Pearl’s New C47 Work and Experiment Lounge

Bronzeville is a community whose residents are known to appreciate and demonstrate their love for their community. Sage Collective has been a part of Bronzeville since 1978, and we certainly aren’t the only organization that shares a deep respect for the historic persons and events that lived and transpired there.  Little Black Pearl, a thriving nonprofit found near Kenwood, is just one of the many other organizations actively engaged in bringing inspired change to the people of Bronzeville and its surrounding areas. 

The Little Black Pearl is popularly known as a ground-breaking educational program that provides youth with a safe environment within which to learn new skills, explore various programming and be surrounded by positive leaders and role models. The organization has been at the forefront of change on Chicago’s South Side for nearly 30 years. 

With this track record now established, Little Black Pearl is using its experience,  knowledge and appreciation for its community, to expand its programming initiatives to an older audience. Little Black Pearl’s founder Monica Haslap led the organization in its launch of  C47 Work and Experiment Lounge in November 2021. 

The lounge, which is found at 1060 East 47th Street, invites adults into a collaborative space to inspire creativity and explore new passions. Built with innovation in mind, this new environment includes fully operational workshops that range from culinary classes, to art projects and office spaces where anyone looking to escape the hardships of the past two years will gladly find tranquility.

Members who join the C47 Work and Experiment Lounge will be exposed to numerous creative visionaries and experts in music, technology, fashion and finance. For adults interested in becoming a member, memberships range from $50-$200 per month, and all offer a variety of different opportunities within the lounge. 

With hopes of serving longtime members of the community as a safe, creative space where unconventional ideas can thrive, C47 Work and Experiment Lounge embodies the values that Little Black Pearl has demonstrated for decades. And, like Sage Collective, the organization will likely continue leading change in the community for decades to come.

C47 Work and Experiment Lounge Interior, Photo Courtesy of Armand Morris
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