Archive for the ‘aging’ Tag

08/21/2021 The Sum of Our Fears   Leave a comment

One of my favorite things is examining the human condition since we’re all filled with dozens of phobias and fears that have been deeply ingrained from childhood. Most human beings have a few things that scare the bejesus out of them but they hesitate to speak of them. Most people are somewhat embarrassed by their fears and don’t understand why they have them at all. Many times they haven’t a clue as to what created the fears in the first place and just don’t want to look for those answers. I’m not about to try and explain the reasons but I would like to look at the fears themselves.

The following is a sample list of ten fears. Most people have a few fears in common but each persons list is specific to that individual. Read the items closely and you can almost picture in your mind what this fictional list maker looks like and how they’d probably act. To me this list brings to mind the person in high school who had no social skills, no close friends, and always dressed in black. A person afraid of everyone and everything.

Sample List

10-Losing Your Freedom, 9-The Unknown, 8-Pain, 7-Disappointment, 6-Misery, 5-Loneliness, 4-Ridicule, 3-Rejection, 2-Death, 1-Failure

I guess it’s time for me to put up or shut up. Here are my two lists. One is for my early life and the second from my so-called Golden Years. The differences are blatantly obvious.

Childhood List

10-Death, 9-Darkness, 8-The Unknown, 7-Lack of Bravery, 6-Needles, 5-Bullies, 4-Sex, 3-Girls, 2-Public Speaking,1-Claustrophobia

Adulthood List

10-Hospitals, 9-Loneliness, 8-Aging, 7-Retirement, 6-Lack of Independence, 5-Claustraphobia, 4-Blindness, 3-Heights, 2-Doctors, 1-Death

So there it is. Baring my soul for all to see with almost no fear of embarrassment. My early list changed dramatically as I aged from fears of how to live, to the later list of fears about death and dying. Is it depressing? For me it is but so what. Every person ever born on this planet has had the same fears as they grew older. They all handled it, sometimes well and sometimes not, and so will I. And so will you.

I always remember this quote from Socrates, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Spend a few minutes and make your own lists.

EXAMINE IT!

01-17-2014 Journal Entry–Aging!   Leave a comment

You know, there is a time in your life when you’re forced to deal with getting older.  It’s a little difficult because mentally we all still feel like we’re in our twenties.  As in growing up there’s a process that you must experience and when growing down (aging) you must again go through a somewhat similar but more depressing process, like it or not.  I think it’s just a way for us to slowly over time confront and accept the reality of our mortality.

It really began to bother me a few years ago when I received an email from a former high school class president requesting I attend my 45th high school reunion.  I read the email and never seriously thought about attending.  You see, I hated high school and really had no desire to see any of my former classmates.  I had two close friends during those years and both  have passed away. The first died just months after graduation in a nasty car accident and the second died about twelve years ago during liver transplant surgery. Any old girlfriends with their accompanying sexual adventures have long since been forgotten.

I was given a webpage to visit created by my old classmates that had updated information on just about everyone in the class.  I took a look around the site and the only thing that caught my eye was the death list.  It was a huge shock to see that almost forty percent of my graduating class had passed away.  It was surprising but not totally unexpected.  I adjusted over time to the shock and began to deal with the reality of it.  I never attended any of my class reunions that were held over the years because I preferred to remember my classmates as they were and not be slapped in the face with the new reality of what they are now.  Too damn depressing.

Time goes on and age continues to creep up on you.  You can see and feel the physical changes as they occur and you adjust.  Aches and pains continue to worsen and again you adjust.  You spend a great deal of your life adjusting to changes that you knew were coming but really didn’t take all that seriously. It’s a slow and never-ending shadow in the back of your mind that you try to ignore but can’t.  Every time you have a quiet moment it pops up to let you know the process is continuing.

You’re probably wandering what prompted this depressing monologue so let me explain.  Yesterday I was given some news that at first didn’t shock or surprise me but later kept coming back to haunt me.  My ex-wife of many years had remarried shortly after our divorce and had given birth to a son. We’d been divorced a couple of years but she still made the effort to meet with me because she wanted to introduce me to the boy.  She and I had tried for years to have children but could not.  We met for just a few brief minutes and I held the little guy in my arms for just an instant. Before I knew it they were gone and I never saw either of them again.  That little baby boy now 31 years old had just died from a lethal drug overdose.

Life as always goes on but it was just another reminder of how quickly and easily life can be taken from us.  Sorry about the depressing post but I needed to tell someone about it. No one is exempt from this aging process and I’ve done my part to remind all of you of that fact. Live your life to the fullest every blessed day.  It could end tomorrow.

06-24-2013   6 comments

I spend a great deal of my time these days adapting to a whole list of changes to my life I never anticipated or expected.  I thought that as I grew older things would settle down somewhat and the amount of change I’d be forced to deal with would lessen.  Wrong once again.

One  obvious change that occurs to us all eventually is getting older.  Adjusting to it sounds easy but as all of you will find  out eventually, it isn’t.  You must learn to adapt to your new position in society of being the older person, constantly accused by almost everyone with being out of touch with our current reality.  Even people you know and love begin treating you differently and it can be hurtful.

Everyone assumes that once you reach a certain age you’re all of a sudden a mouth-breathing moron with no working memory.  Snide little comments from loved ones are especially hurtful but you must learn to adapt.  Some seniors become bitter and spiteful only because they can’t think of any better solutions.  Those kind of actions just further that ugly senior stereotype that require the infamous eye-roll or the subtle shoulder shrug between people you’re talking to when you’re not looking.  It’s disrespectful and rude but your hands are tied.  If you confront them then  your being old, difficult, and set in your ways.  If you turn the other cheek it just makes the possibility of it occurring again much more likely.

So here’s a few tips for you seniors out there.  Keep up with all of the Pop Culture nonsense so when someone in their teens or twenties mentions a celebrity you have a clue.  Be able to talk about something other than your current medical conditions.  Fight the stereotype everyday.  If you take a backseat to discussions that make you uncomfortable that’s where you’ll be relegated to stay for the rest of your life. 

Our past memories really don’t interest most people because "it’s all about them”.  Only people your own age can appreciate many of the things from our youth and the drastic differences we now must deal with.  It’s hard work to keep up with  this balls-to-the-wall insanity we call our every day life.  Spend time with people other than other seniors.  Carry on meaningful conversations about politics, relationships, and child rearing.  Not everything we remember is just old-folks reminiscing.  We’ve already experienced this stull and can be helpful if we pass the information along intelligently and not preaching.  No one likes to be preached to.

The following information should make most seniors smile.  If read by anyone younger it would seem to them like they’ve been foraging through an archeological dig in Egypt and found a transcript of life in the days of old.  Read on and learn something if you’re interested, if not don’t.

* * *

HIGH SCHOOL — 1958 vs. 2013

Scenario 1:

Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack.

1958 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2013 – School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:

Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1958 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2013 – Police called and SWAT team arrives — they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They’re both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3:

Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.

1958 – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2013 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:

Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1958 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.

2013 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse, Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 5:

Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1958 – Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.

2013 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:

Pedro fails high school English.

1958 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2013 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7:

Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.

1958 – Ants die.

2013 – ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents – and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 8:

Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1958 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2013 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

* * *

Is it any wonder why we at times choose to look back.  This is the reason we occasionally reminisce and really, do you blame us.  If I could go back and do my life over again I sure wouldn’t do it now, in this time and place. Just saying.

06-08-2013   Leave a comment

I have a lot of fun teasing my female readers but I hope they understand that it’s all done with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek.  I’m positive being a women is no bed of roses these days because almost every women I’ve ever known has spent a great deal of her time and mine telling me about it.  I’m really very sympathetic to their plight but for the most part I have no easy answers or solutions for them.

Here are a few things I know would happen if I were suddenly turned into a warm, soft, built, attractive, and fire breathing woman with a man’s attitude and outlook on life. I suspect that slutiness would have a new poster girl.  I’d find it  extremely difficult to keep my panties on if I actually chose to wear any.  I’d be like that famous women of yore who was known as a real "man eater".  Married women would hate me, single women would envy me, and men would desire me.  I’d give it up (if you know what I mean) at every opportunity much like General Robert E. Lee gave it up at Appomattox. 

Like most women I’d refuse to admit my age and would do everything in my power to remain young looking and sexually active like good old Mae West did.  One of her favorite quotes was "I’m not concerned about the men in my life, it’s the life in my men that worries me."  That’s not an exact quote but you get the idea.  After reading Mae’s quote I decided to search out a few more informative female quotes pertaining to aging and life as a senior.  Here are a few quotes and short poems to help you ladies enjoy this posting even more.

  • Please don’t retouch my wrinkles. It took me so long to earn them.
    ~ Anna Magnani
  • You’re not 40, you’re eighteen with 22 years experience. ~Author Unknown
  • After 30, a body has a mind of its own. ~ Bette Midler
  • Getting old ain’t for sissies. ~ Betty Davis
  • It’s sad to grow old, but nice to ripen. ~ Brigitte Bardot
  • Forget about the past, you can’t change it.
    Forget about the future, you can’t predict it.
    Forget about the present, I didn’t get you one."
    – Unknown
  • Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, but it’s up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. ~ Coco Chanel
  • The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you’ll grow out of it. ~ Doris Day
  • We know we’re getting old when the only thing we want for our birthday is not to be reminded of it. ~ Unknown
  • I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart. ~ Unknown
  • You’ve had many many birthdays,
    Too many for me to mention,
    But there’s still one or two more
    Before you  draw your pension.
    ~ Unknown
  • Life has got to be lived – that’s all there is to it. At seventy, I would say the advantage is that you take life more calmly. You know that "this, too, shall pass!" ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Looking fifty is great–if you’re sixty. ~ Joan Rivers
  • If you survive long enough, you’re revered-rather like an old building. ~ Katherine Hepburn
  • The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. ~ Lucille Ball
  • I like my bifocals,
    my dentures fit me fine,
    my hearing aid is perfect,
    but Lord I miss my mind!
    -Unknown
  • I’m at an age when my back goes out more than I do. ~ Phyllis Diller
  • Few women admit their age. Few men act theirs. ~ Unknown
  • "They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body." ~ Unknown

As for all of you men out there, don’t worry I’ll be sure to dedicate a posting only for our gender at some future time.  I thought it was only proper to give the ladies their due after  all the fun I’ve been having at their expense in recent weeks.

O2-04-2013   2 comments

I’ve arrived at this point in my life where TV is becoming more of an irritant than entertainment.  Between the endless commercials, drug ads, biased politicians, and government propaganda, I’m reading to scream.  Recently I listened to three of those infamous talking heads on the tube telling me that video gaming is responsible for all the ills of the world.  As Don Imus would say, “that’s a pant load”.

In past years I’ve posted long lists of things I love and things I hate. They’re always fun to do and also a great mental exercise. I find that as I’ve aged my mind is slowly folding in on itself and beginning to stagnate.  Old memories can easily take over and consume my thoughts which while fun at times is ultimately destructive.  Keeping mentally alert and mentally active is the secret to living a longer life that is actually worth living.

These last few years convinced me of those facts as I watched my mother and aunt slowly fade away and die.  My mother lasted a bit longer mentally than her sister but died sooner.  My aunt was suffering from an affliction which may have been Alzheimer’s where she mentally faded away quickly but her body just kept on going.  I realize that there are some things we can’t combat and I am realistic enough to accept that and move on.  I also believe there are things we can do to fight off the effects of mental aging with a regimen of mental and physical exercises. It will help greatly to keep you mentally in the present for a much longer period of time.

I’ve been a game player, both computer and other types, for all of my life.  With the advent of video games and HD I was in heaven. I know there are a lot of people in this country and elsewhere who would like nothing better than to control gaming and through the games control us.  I’ve never believed that violent games lead to violent behavior.  It’s easy to do the math and realize that millions of people play these games everyday but aren’t the least bit violent.  Unfortunately there are unstable people in this world who choose to do violence to others.  It’s not the games or guns that are the problem but mental instability.  Take all of the guns away then they’ll try and kill people with whatever else is at hand.

I’m getting off message here a bit and ranting about gun control is not what I’m posting about. Video games provide me with improved hand-eye coordination, problem solving capabilities, and the ability to focus that if not maintained can fade with age.

I get strange looks from people my own age when I excitedly tell them of a new video game I’m involved with.  I get those looks that say, “grow up, that stuff is for kids not someone your age”.  It’s that kind of backward thinking that tends to piss me off and makes me a little crazy.  Maintaining a full physical program in a gym is fine for some people but not to everyone.  As you age your body isn’t always able to perform like it did when you were twenty, no matter how hard you try to push it.  I’ve resigned myself to doing as much physical training as I’m able but even more important to me is exercising my mind.

To those folks out there who insist they have all the answers I can only say this.  You don’t!  We each grow up, age, and die at our own pace so just stay out of my life and let me handle it.  I never thought I would get to be this age and would have so many know-it-all politicians and religious groups interested in baby-sitting me and second guessing my every move.  I guess it will finally stop when someone slams my coffin lid shut.  Here are my words of wisdom for today and I’m sure they would certainly help our country return to it’s former greatness.

STAY OUT OF MY FUCKING BUSINESS

Forgive the profanity but there are times when something this important can only be expressed bluntly.

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