About Bev Bachel

I'm a freelance writer and the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go for It.

My First Attempt at AI-Powered Writing

Artificial intelligence is all the rage, so I decided to use it to generate my February Word Sisters post.

My request: write a rhyming poem for women 50+ about the joys of aging (though I also briefly considered “the realities of aging”).

First I tried anyword.com, but didn’t love what it generated, so I turned to chatGPT. In less than 30 seconds, here’s what I received.

As we age, we gain wisdom and grace

Our wrinkles are lines that tell our life’s pace

We’ve lived through hardships and moments so sweet

And we’ve learned that life is a journey, not a defeat

We no longer chase fleeting trends

Instead, we embrace our truest friends

Our bodies may change, but our spirits stay strong

And we continue to sing life’s sweetest song

We relish in the simple things

Like watching the sun set, and what the day brings

We find joy in a book or a warm cup of tea

And appreciate the beauty in things we see

We know that time is fleeting and precious

So we take moments to pause and reflect, never reckless

We find beauty in the moments we share

And embrace every opportunity to show we care

So let’s embrace this new chapter with pride

And enjoy the joys of aging with every stride

For we know that with each passing day

We become wiser, kinder, and better in every way

As a career writer, I’m still pondering how I might use AI-powered writing, but there is one thing I do know: I couldn’t have written a poem so quickly. And while I don’t think it’s a great or even a good poem, I do believe there’s value in not having to start with a blank page.

Have you experimented with AI-powered writing? If so, what tools have you used and what’s been your experience?

Reclaiming My Focus

Focus. It’s an ability I used to take for granted. But not anymore. For whatever reason—age, information overload, pandemic-induced anxiety—I’m just not able to concentrate the way I once did.

Is the inability to do so a warning sign of cognitive decline?

After coming across conflicting opinions online, that’s a question I plan to ask at my next physical. In the meantime, I did what I usually do when seeking answers, I found a book to read: Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention and How to Think Deeply Again byJohann Hari.

What I learned—that our attention is being stolen—was disturbing enough but the fact that Facebook and other social media companies have intentionally designed their sites to keep us online and coming back so they can maximize their revenue has prompted me to shy away from logging on.

Despite this, Amazon knows what I’m reading, and Alexa often knows what I’m having for dinner. Google Nest knows if I’m home, and Google Maps knows where I’m at when I’m not.

While there are some positives to this—for instance, I no longer have to look up and then print directions—I don’t like feeling that I’m being surveilled.

So I unplugged Alexa and put her in the basement, and I closed out 60+ accounts I rarely use. I also unsubscribed from dozens of e-letters.

And, after a University of Oregon study found that if we are focusing on something and get interrupted, it takes 23 minutes on average for us to get back to the same state of focus, I’ve turned off the ringer on my phone and no longer leave email open all day.

The goal: to return my focus to what I really want to be paying attention to: my family and friends and the causes I care about.

Anxiety: It Often Gets the Best of Me

I was an anxious kid, an even more anxious teen. So much so that the nuns at my Catholic school let me skip mass each morning because of how often I threw up or fainted. Even in college, I did so now and again. And while it’s been decades since, anxiety once again has become a near-constant companion, in large part due to COVID.

And I’m not the only one who is anxious.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that anxiety increased by 25% across the globe in the first year of the pandemic. And this fall, a panel of medical experts recommended for the first time that doctors screen all patients under the age of 65 for anxiety which, involves asking questions about symptoms: How often do you feel nervous, anxious or on edge? Do you have trouble concentrating? Does worry present you from falling or staying asleep?

I’m not sure why I and all the rest of us age 65 and older aren’t covered by the WHO’s recommendation, but I do believe we ought to be. After all, it’s not like anxiety goes away with age. In fact, I and many of my friends and colleagues who are 65+ report an increase in anxiety, in part because we no longer have the self-esteem and support system that came with our jobs. Health issues are also a factor.

Some of us also report an increase in hang-xiety, which is anxiety some people experience after drinking alcohol. I certainly did shortly after the start of the pandemic when I found myself indulging far too often in a second or even third cocktail, which research shows can decrease dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in keeping anxiety under control.

It’s one reason why I reluctantly gave up drinking this year. It’s also why I’m doing other things as well:  


Setting reasonable goals

Striving for progress, not perfection

Asking for help and support

Trying eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy

I’m also admitting that I’m struggling. Doing so has been tough for me but it’s getting easier thanks to the love and support of family, friends and my fellow writers/Word Sisters.

Learning a New Language: Love

“Every household has a first language, a kind of language of the home,” says Alex Kalman in The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration and Discover Joy in the Everyday.

If that’s true, the language of the home I grew up in was chaos.

My dad worked long hours in a Honeywell factory, assembling parts for our nation’s space program.

Sometimes he came home after his 12-hour shift. Often, he went out drinking. Sometimes he got drunk. Occasionally bad things happened. Like the time a buddy who was driving plowed into the back of a parked car, sending my dad through the windshield and to the emergency room to have his scalp stitched back together.

I learned about that the next morning when my mom sent me into my parents’ bedroom to wake my dad. I was in sixth grade at the time and, nearly 60 years later, can still picture his dried blood on my parents’ white sheets and the rows of stitches that ran up my dad’s forehead and into his balding scalp.

There was also the time my dad drove his car off the road and into a house. And the many times he just didn’t come home. By then, he owned a neighborhood bar where he and his favorite customers often stayed drinking until the wee hours of the morning.

And, no surprise, there were the frequent fights his drinking caused, fights he often didn’t remember but that I still find hard to forget.

Although there’s a lot about our COVID-induced isolation that I resent, one thing I do appreciate is that it’s given me the time and space to think more deeply about the patterns of behavior I grew up with and which ones no longer serve me.

Therapy and a supportive partner are a big help. So is Dr. Gary Chapman, whose work centers on helping people learn what he refers to as the five “love languages”:

  1. Affirming with words
  2. Giving gifts
  3. Offering physical touch
  4. Performing acts of service
  5. Spending quality time together

Although I wish the language of my home would have been different when I was growing up, I’m working hard to make love its language–and mine–now.

Shhhhhh. I’m Quietly Quitting. Are You?

Walking 10,000 steps a day.

Dining out.

Shopping in stores.

Drinking alcohol.


Going to see plays and movies.

Attending meetings.

Visiting my aunt in her care facility.

These are just some of the things that I’ve quietly quit since the start of COVID. Some because I worried about succumbing to the virus. Others for a variety of reasons. For instance, I stopped walking because of hip pain and stopped drinking alcohol because I was overindulging in my quest to find the perfect tequila.

Surprisingly, at least to me, I even came close to quitting phone calls, in part because so many people suggested turning those calls into video calls, which was inconvenient to my stay-at-home self who was taking fewer showers and not worrying about styling my overgrown hair. Heck, somedays I wasn’t even getting out of my PJs.

Many of my friends and colleagues have been quietly quitting as well. Some because of their health or the health of a loved one. Some because driving has become more challenging due to failing eyesight. Others because they’ve retired and now spend more time traveling or with their grandkids.

However, I didn’t realize we were “quietly quitting” until just a few weeks ago when I came across several articles about China’s young workers, many of whom are making it clear that they—unlike previous generations, including mine and that of my fellow Word Sisters—are not willing to work themselves to the bone.

Instead, many are “lying flat” by doing the bare minimum to get by. For some that means refusing to work extra hours. For others it means forgoing a job altogether. For still others it means not getting married or having children.

While most of my quits have felt like a natural evolution from the years in which I often put others’ priorities ahead of my own, I recently realized my pendulum has swung too far and although I am still not venturing out much, I am once again spending time with family and friends, volunteering and even traveling. 

How about you? Have you been quietly (or even loudly) quitting? If so, what have you quit? And perhaps more importantly, have you found new ways to engage? If so, please share.