This post started as an explanation/apology for yesterday’s post. But it ended up being a kind of call to arms for those of us facing retirement or already in it. It calls for a new way of dealing with aging, individually and with a little help from our friends. Collectively, we know a lot and have a lot of practical and professional information to share. You can skip the next three paragraphs, but don’t skip the rest. Be a part of our own solution. Read on.
In my first post on this site, I warned that I would be writing about life as an aging person. In January, I will be officially retiring, although the truth is that I have been “retired” for years–after the university campus where I worked was closed due to high costs (not the faculty, but other reasons–none of which made sense). After three additional surgeries–back, kidney, thumb tendon–I became unemployable because of physical limitations, none of which qualified me for disability, but nevertheless limited my physical capabilities on the job.
Yesterday’s post, “Happy Mothers Day!“, ended up being a stream of consciousness piece that didn’t meet the standards of a happy Mothers Day post. I’ve learned recently that stories/posts tend to take over you and write themselves. That’s what happened yesterday. After reading it in its published form, I was appalled by grammar and spelling errors, part of which are due to a crappy computer, but most because I simply didn’t edit before posting. I considered editing and reposting, but I really don’t want to return to it–at least not right away. It is more than I can emotionally face today, and probably for a number of days hereafter. Bottom line: I’m probably going to let it stand, warts and all.
What was interesting to me was that 6 people visited this post yesterday, but left neither comments nor “likes.” It’s hard to like a sad post, and I was grateful that a few friends either commented directly on FB where it posts automatically, or in private messages.
Part of aging is coming to terms with out past. For those who believe in reincarnation or channeling, I have no idea how you cope with past lives that are completed as well as past events along the timeline of your current life. I have enough trouble dealing with all the mistakes I made earlier, the corrections I’ve made–or tried to–and all the daily unexpected problems that come up on day-to-day basis. But whether you choose to follow this blog, disconnect from it, add it to your list of blogs to watch, or whatever, there will be times that happy things are posted–things shared by others, things that have added a positive touch to my own day, articles that I come across that may have meaning to post-Boomers or those trying to understand older people. Most of the time you will find a well-edited blog–one with all the errors fixed before publication–or a post that was edited after the fact because I simply missed something as I typed or read through the preview (where I catch more errors than through the normal writing window). Other times, I will write a streamof-consciousness post and simply leave it unedited, as I am doing with yesterday’s post.
But know this about people over sixty: We are a force to be reckoned with. (Please don’t critique on ending a sentence with a preposition–the sentence as written says it better than if I re-write in good standard English.) We have lived through much, starting with families that may not have been perfect because of a parent who served in World War II or the Korean War or the Viet Nam War. We saw the hey-day of television as it evolved from all-live shows in black-and-white, Million Dollar Movie which played the same ancient movie for a week at a time, The Twilight Zone, and many other shows limited to maybe 6 or 7 (if we were lucky) stations; to color TV and then hi-def renderings that touch on problems that exist in society that we never learned about as youth. We were glued to TVs–or perhaps even present–for the peace marches for Negro (now African-American or Black) rights, the continuing movement toward equality for women, Woodstock, the first Mets World Series win, the changes that shook college campuses and changed many from single-sex places of learning to co-educational institutions. We were there for JFK’s assassination and funeral which took over television and radio to the exclusion of everything else for days. We witnessed the first US flights to the moon and the progress of technology from better vacuum cleaners and toasters to the microwave and the all-powerful personal computer and smart phones. We lived through changes unanticipated in previous generations in the US and around the world. We learned a lot. We understand a lot. We can, therefore, understand the problems that military personnel are coming home with from recent conflicts with enemies that play by different–and often unknown–rules. We understand the problems of our young military personnel because we have been there before, long before services were available for our returning soldiers–whether as fathers, husbands, brothers, sisters, mothers, nieces and nephews, and close friends. We fought hard to ensure appropriate medical and psychological services for all soldiers who needed them regardless of war or mere conflict. We are here to help assure services for today’s returnees even as the Congress cuts funds and spending for their care and rebuilding–psychologically or physiologically.
Many of us lost money during the financial crashes that left us with little to look forward to in our IRAs, 401Ks and other retirement benefits, and we rally to ensure that the poor are taken care of and that so will we as we become financially dependent on a government that cares little for us. Because of ever-improving medical technology and techniques, we are looking forward to longer and longer lives, and are rapidly becoming a majority–ethnicity or country of birth notwithstanding.
Do not ignore us. Do not think that when I post personal problems on this blog that I speak only for myself. I do, but I represent many people over 60 who are experiencing similar difficulties and experiences. Right now, I am lucky to have free time to become involved in new hobbies to both improve my current functionality, to strengthen my brain so that any future stroke does not obliterate everything I know or can do now. I am training both sides of my brain to survive–not through games software that promises to improve our memories, but through challenges of learning to do physical tasks with my other hand, foot, leg, arm, etc. If I have a stroke, I want the other half of my brain and body to be able to take over–much faster than current techniques allow–to help me rebuild the damage in the other side of my brain and on the other side of my body.
To all you readers of my age who are trying to do the same, let me help you. Let us become stronger and more independent together. Let us help each other find the best help for the problems that each of us face individually. We will be around for an average of two decades longer than our parents, and we need to remain as free as we possibly can. I don’t care if you are a Christian who believes everything is in God’s hands, an atheist who believes that all the power lies in what you do for yourself, or all the shades of gray in between. Let us get together and help each other beyond what AARP can publish as suggestions and “facts.” We can use such organizations as sources of information and direction, but we need to help ourselves and each other more than what millionaire actors or business executives can do for themselves. For many of us, we and our faith are all we have.
Leave me suggestions for what you would like to hear about. Take part in comments and discussions. I can always make this blog independent of my other blogging sites on WordPress–either through WP or by other means that allows us to share ideas from ancient medical practices such as Ayurveda and Chinese or Tibetan medical knowledge. For example, I can tell you about some excellent anti-aging and all-natural products that are working for me, as well as things like Golden Milk made with a home-made turmeric paste that cleanses the system naturally and improves bodily functions as well as thinking processes by slowly and carefully getting rid of the plaque in our bloodstreams. If we get together, we can share diets that are outstanding for helping people with Type II Diabetes or with loss of body strength or loss of thinking abilities and memory. We can prepare for the possibility of stroke and its aftereffects. We can become stronger, and–because we are rapidly becoming a majority in the voting pool–we can change what government does for us. There is a big difference between socialism and social programs: The former is a restrictive political phenomenon while the latter is an outcome of the Golden Rule of helping our neighbor and treating our neighbor as we would want ourselves treated in return.
Leave a comment. Let’s see where an idea you suggest can take us in a subsequent blog or in a continued discussion format. Work with me to make life better for all of us.