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This Old Woman Has Lived On A Cruise Ship For 7 Years

This Old Woman Has Lived On A Cruise Ship For 7 Years

Would you want to travel the world every day of your life? That’s what 86-year-old widow Lee Wachtstetter has been doing for the last seven years. She calls the 1,070-passenger cruise ship Crystal Serenity her home. Mama Lee, as Wachtstetter is affectionally called by the crew, has been cruising since her husband died in 1997, but not before telling her, “Don’t stop cruising.”

Throughout their marriage, the Wachtstetters cruised the world. “My husband introduced me to cruising,” Mama Lee told USA Today. “Mason was a banker and real estate appraiser and taught me to love cruising. During our 50-year marriage, we did 89 cruises. I’ve done nearly a hundred more and 15 world cruises.”

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Dancing through life

After selling her Fort Lauderdale home that sat on 10 acres of property, Mama Lee had enough money to live on the high seas for years. High on her list of requirements for her permanent home was the entertainment available on the cruise ship. For Mama Lee, the only entertainment worthwhile on cruise ships is ballroom dancing with dance hosts. Mama Lee lived on a Holland America ship, part of a cruise line owned by Carnival, prior to living on Crystal Serenity. For three years, Mama Lee enjoyed her stay with Holland America. However, she soon had to leave.

“The day they announced they were stopping the dance host program was the day I decided to leave,” she said. Mama Lee decided to jump ship to Crystal Serenity. The luxury liner is one of two ships of Crystal Cruise Lines, a Japanese luxury cruise line consistently rated highly by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure for 19 years. More importantly, they offer dance hosts for their passengers. Mama Lee told USA Today, “I enjoy dancing, and this was the best of the remaining ships that still use dance hosts. My husband didn’t dance, just didn’t like to, and encouraged me to dance with the hosts.”

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The cost of cruising

Being a permanent resident on Crystal Serenity is not cheap. This year, Mama Lee expects the high life on the high seas to cost her $164,000. That cost includes a single-occupancy stateroom on the seventh deck of the luxury liner, full board including the specialty restaurants on the ship, along with all of the ship’s services, amenities, and entertainment available. No mortgages, no groceries to think about, no other bills to pay. Isn’t that the life?

Been there, done that

Mama Lee has been to almost any country with a port, but rarely goes ashore nowadays. She just enjoys the quiet and solitude of having the ship all to herself when the rest of the passengers get off the ship to explore. That is, except when Crystal Serenity docks at Istanbul.

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“I can’t resist the Grand Bazaar,” Mama Lee said. “You can find gorgeously regal or glitzy outfits there, perfect for formal or casual wear and not terribly expensive. I have to restrain myself every time because of my limited cabin space.”

Whenever the ship docks in Miami, Mama Lee visits her sons and grandchildren and keeps in touch with them with her laptop. She remembers, “When my children were all young, I took them on cruises many times. Now they have families of their own and do what’s right for them.”

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Living it up

Mama Lee usually holds court in the Palm Court lounge doing her second love, needlepoint. She has been living on Crystal Serenity longer than most of the 655 crew members. The crew dotes on her, often accommodating her needs and wishes even if they’re not readily available on the ship. With her 87th birthday fast approaching, Mama Lee is looking forward to another great year on the ship.

“All the time I’ve been here I have never had a sick day,” she said. “I’m so spoiled I doubt that I would ever be able to readjust to the real world again.”

Mama Lee certainly has figured out how to live out the rest of her life, and on the seven seas to boot. Have you figured out how to live yours?

Featured photo credit: Cruise Ship – Celebrity Infinity/blmiers2 via flickr.com

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Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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