Baby Boomers Stuck In Traffic

We’re a generation of being stuck, not really here nor are we there yet, we are right smack in the middle. In the middle of what, you might ask? Well, we are still a little unclear about that too but we know a big change is coming soon. A big, big change. Now, we are just about ready to handle it and we are patiently (okay, not so patiently) waiting for it to find us. It will, I’m sure. We’re looking outside and within.

Thankfully, unemployment has forced many people to plan for the next step in their lives  a little earlier than they wanted. The early push, through, made us go through the stages: the terrified, freaked out, tearful, frenzied stage and we have now started to calm down and have a game plan. We have some sense of what we want to do in the future, which in itself, is a huge step and stress reducing too. We have no choice.

English: Trees and sunset at the beach in Coli...

English: Trees and sunset at the beach in Colington Harbour on Colington Island, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What to do, where to go? Aging Baby Boomers in a frenzy? Yep, I’m right there with you, I agree, “it’s time to figure out our path.” Let’s face it our children are now grown adults, very soon they will be college graduates, they don’t need us, in the same way, as they did before. I’m not sad about that anymore ( of course, I was) I’m proud of both adult children.

It’s time to focus on my husband and me and to start again. Living in the same place for many, many years has been amazing, seeing my children grow from babies to adults has been the best present anyone could have given me. I both love and like these two very different people. They have their own lives and are accepting that their lives will change too, not necessarily by choice but out of necessity.

We can’t afford to stay in the same, expensive neighborhood, (paying for school taxes was FINE and (that were worth every penny  when they were still in school !!! )  but they graduated and they don’t go to school here anymore. It’s time to think about moving on. Where to go? We are not sure just yet but we both agree it’s time think about it. Where to go? The million dollar question. Any suggestions?  One state, maybe one country at a time.

Having worked through the age issue, the comfort issue, I am now looking forward to our next chapter. I know one important thing, for me, I need to live near water and we will rent a town house or condo, not buy, at least not for a year or two. That’s in my comfort zone and it’s my turn to have a say. A strong say.

Picture us anywhere, Florida, Maine, North Carolina, off the coast of Spain? We’re not sure where we are going but we know for sure we are thinking about being on our way.

It won’t be easy, change is always bittersweet. But, overpaying for something you can’t afford just because of familiarity is certainly not the way to go. Change will present itself to us, I’m sure. Our eyes and hearts are open, we’re listening.

 

 

 

 

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One Ex-Hippie Trying To Say Good-Bye

Dear Fellow Aging Hippies,

It’s only my opinion and mostly it’s a lesson I need to learn myself but I think our time has come and gone, forever. It’s a tough thing to admit, believe me, I know. Maybe, it’s time for us aging Baby Boomers to finally accept it and let the new generation take over the world instead of us reminiscing about “The Beatles and Peace, Love, and Rock n’ Roll.” As special as it was for those of us in that generation it is time  all of us to move on, to look forward and not behind.

Painted Hippie Bus

Painted Hippie Bus (Photo credit: terbeck)

You’re talking to someone who has fought this for a very long time. I confess. I was born in 1956 and while I missed the really good stuff like Woodstock I still claimed fame to being a Baby Boomer and all the power the name itself implied. Sure, my kids grew up on The Beatles, CSN and Y, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens and the Rolling Stones but I am still playing that very same music today. Somehow it seems wrong. We are way too old for that now.Will I change my music listening preferences? Hell, no.

That’s the hard part. Figuring out what to do now. Most of us can’t retire yet, a lot of us have been laid off but still need money coming into the house, to pay many bills. How are we going to do that? We have no idea and it’s not for lack of trying either. There are no jobs around, at least for us and we will move anywhere.

My children are in their twenties, it’s their time. I don’t care if they have a special name or a title ( Gen X, Y, Z? ) but their generation is having its time now. We need to start thinking not about where to retire but how to have enough money to get through the next ten years to be able to retire if we are lucky enough to do so.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t want to move twice. These cold, harsh winters are killing me, I have a list of maladies as long as the East Coast, so I’d prefer to live someplace warm but it’s not exactly easier to find work there. We’re trapped, right where we are, unemployed, and passed over, like yesterday’s mail tossed and disregarded in a pile of junk.

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arr...

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arrive in New York City in 1964 Français : Photographie de The Beatles, lors de leur arrivée à New York City en 1964 Italiano: Fotografia dei Beatles al loro arrivo a New York City nel 1964 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for our sons and daughters to take over the world, we are the leaders no longer. They haven’t yet set us to pasture, we have a little wiggle room, but we are closer to the end then we are to the beginning. Does that feel good? No, it certainly doesn’t. The days turned into years turned into decades, flashing before our eyes as if we stood still and the world moved at a rapid pace around us.

We didn’t realize it was happening until it was over.  When you are young and married you are so involved with your young children and family and play dates and school plays you don’t have time to really hold on to those special moments for too long. Because all the moments are special. Now they are memories, enjoy them.

It’s a rite of passage we all go through. It’s how you look at life that will give you a positive or negative outlook, the choice is totally up to us. I’m not saying it’s easy. Believe me, it isn’t, but realistically we have no choice, no choice at all. Acceptance is a good way to start.

Love

Love (Photo credit: aftab.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Boomers: What Are We Now, Chopped Liver?

English: The New York Times building in New Yo...

English: The New York Times building in New York, NY across from the Port Authority. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)LickIt must, because apparently The New York Times no longer wants the Boomer section anymore. Yep, they are kicking us boomers straight to the curb. that’s the reason that The New York Times has kicked Baby Boomers to the curb. Why? They won’t say and believe me their fans have asked.

Like a swift unexpected kick in the ass, readers of The New York Times (loyal readers I might add) found out that they were removing the Booming column that delighted us all. Really? Yes, true fact. No explanation other than “blah blah blah.” It would be in here or there maybe on Tuesdays but without Michael Winerip who we have all grown to like and respect. I liked this dude, he was real and approachable.

What the hell are you thinking? I guess we are not important anymore, make way for Generation Whatever.  I was born in 1956 to the best of my knowledge I’m a Baby Boomer. Please remember this, we haven’t dropped dead just yet. You needed us back then (hint: Woodstock) and now you have cut out a large part of your readership. We are still consumers and you have let us down.

Eliminating or phasing out the Booming section is disappointing, I could relate to Michael Winerip’s essays and now we’re getting shoved aside, as if we don’t feel old enough. The New York Times, with whom we’ve been faithful to, is giving us the heave-ho. It feels like yet another slap in the face to those of us in The Sandwich Generation.

Everyone wonders what the reason was that they decided to take that section out. But, of course we don’t expect them to tell us the reason. That is way too old-fashioned. Manners? Nah, that was in the fifties. Back where if you didn’t get a job the boss called you on the telephone and told you why, when things were simpler, more honest, and we didn’t have a hundred choices of everything from paint chips to lipstick to television channels to drugs.

Let’s face it, it’s not the best of times for many of us. The economy stinks (I’m trying to be professional here) unemployment is really high, we’re caught between taking care of our aging parents, ourselves and our grown up children.We are still known as The Sandwich Generation, remember that? It’s been the Winter from hell and it isn’t over yet and while the Booming Section didn’t change our world it added a little fun.

Don’t flatter yourself New York Times. You’ve become replaceable as apparently we have too. We stayed with you through all your changes, now it’s our turn to say good-bye.

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Boomers: 1946~1953 to 1964

This would make baby boomers, in the year 2010, somewhere in the ballpark of 46-64 years old.

Gen X: 1965 to 1976~1982

– See more at: http://theechoboom.com/2010/09/dateage-range-of-baby-boomers-generation-x-and-generation-y/#sthash.MrX7nqmo.dpuf

Boomers: 1946~1953 to 1964

This would make baby boomers, in the year 2010, somewhere in the ballpark of 46-64 years old.

Gen X: 1965 to 1976~1982

– See more at: http://theechoboom.com/2010/09/dateage-range-of-baby-boomers-generation-x-and-generation-y/#sthash.MrX7nqmo.dpuf

Maybe “Safe” Is A Better Word Than “Stuck”

English: The Mother Orange Tree, the oldest li...

English: The Mother Orange Tree, the oldest living orange tree in Northern California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often refer to my husband and myself as Empty Nesters, stuck between two worlds. We still live in the home where we raised our children,  paying outrageous school taxes even though both kids are in college. My mother and sister both live nearby and my husband’s parents live close by as well. But, I know, deep inside, this is not where I want to end up for the rest of our lives.  I’m sure you have heard the term  “The Sandwich Generation” before, it defines us as it does most of the aging “Baby Boomers.” I shudder when I even think of the term “Aging Boomers.” Us? Really?

I have wanted to move to the West Cost for a long time since I was a kid and my dad mentioned he had a possible job interview in California. For someone who is not good with change, I was so excited about the prospect.  I imagined a little white house and garden with bright red flowers on the boarders, an orange tree in the back yard and a red dog named Rusty.

Here, in the Northeast the weather is too cold and I’ve always hated cold weather. For those of you who enjoy the cold and love its sparkling freshness, enjoy it. For all you skiers out there, have a great time racing down those sleek, icy hills, I would be in the chalet drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream anyway. The cold weather makes me hurt all over in general and  living with the chronic pain illness, Fibromyalgia, the cold, bone-chilling weather makes my bones and muscles hurt even more. There is nothing I can do about that except accept it.

I admit, I used to feel closed in not knowing when and where we would move in the future but now it feels alright, in fact it feels safe. Chaos will surely occur if there is any major change and for someone like me, change is always hard. For me, ” A Good Change” is an oxymoron. For little things, I need 24-48 hours to get used to change that is even mildly disturbing, imagine a huge change? The mere thought of moving away from my sister and mother brings tears to my eyes. My children will come visit when they can, it is their turn to live now. So maybe being “stuck” is not so bad, maybe being stuck is just being “safe.” If I look at it that way,  I’m doing alright. Actually, pretty good. I’m enjoying nature in the suburbs, the sweet red cardinals chirping in the trees, the changing of the leaves, the different seasons. Change will happen by itself, there are things we can’t control, health, employment, our children moving away, us moving away, sickness, death. Life brings us one change after another, so right now where we are “stuck” is really a time to rest and appreciate. Whatever comes next, will be very, very different; we will get used to it in time but it won’t be easy to call that place home with all the pieces in the puzzle fitting right into place for a long time. I’m just going to appreciate what I have now, not look backwards and not look forwards, be in the present. Sounds good, right? I’m trying the best that I can.

a drawing of a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle

a drawing of a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The New Rude

noon8march8962

noon8march8962 (Photo credit: marymactavish)

It’s 2013, and you are an aging Baby Boomer just like me. Mazel Tov. I bet you are so proud. Our music was sublime, our culture was magnificent and yes, it still lives on playing on our iPods and even nostalgic rock ( or nausea rock as my husband calls it) on radio stations and in elevators. We loved peace and each other and now? We are probably unemployed and sulking or depressed. Sorry, I can’t lie and I don’t want to exaggerate either but basically if you were laid off in the last year or two and are an aging baby boomer, luck and time is NOT on your side. My husband and I and our friends are living through it now.

It stings. Because as much as we were popular “way back when” we are the antithesis of that now. We are old, used up. most probably depressed and the last people to be called in for an interview. Don’t believe me? Just ask. Not only are we not called in for interviews, if we are lucky enough to get an interview, there are new rules: rudeness. I worked in Human Resources for over twenty years and I have never seen what I am seeing now which is NOTHING.  There is no follow-up, no “Thanks for interviewing but we have hired someone better qualified” there’s not even a rejection letter. No one even tries to help you or does courtesy interviews, no one lends a helping hand, they just ignore you. People are smug and ill-mannered. Welcome to the unemployment line: it’s where it’s at.

Why are people being so rude? I guess they feel they don’t have to be polite because the alarming mass of people who want jobs, any job. In their mind, why bother with respect and manners, never mind a phone call to follow-up, that sure as hell ain’t happening. Don’t even THINK about it, because you won’t get it. When I think way back to all the acknowledgement letters we sent out for people just to tell them we did receive their résumé it’s amazing. After that we called and sent letters to tell candidates of their status or rejection. We did the best we could. Now? They don’t even try because they know that people are desperate for a job and that is just plain sad. And cruel.

Manners seem to have gone the way with the older generation, yes, us and our parents who we probably take care of along with our children. You wonder why so many of us are anxious? The Sandwich Generation has a lot on our minds, our parent or parents, our children (college age, younger or older) ourselves, health wise and job wise and that we are now old. Old. How did we get here, we ask ourselves? When did we become them?

Sure, we still listen to the same music: James Taylor, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young (God forbid Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young would do the honor of a real reunion concert but SOMEONE won’t do it)  Thank God for those who will: Paul McCartney and Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel. Apparently, they understand us and indulge us. Thank you, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel for the Reunion Tour, it was one of the best nights of my life. Growing old is hard, we miss the past and we’re scared of the future, thanks for sticking with us. I know the chances of another reunion tour are slight but we will keep hoping….here’s to you!

The photographs are the owners of the photographers.
Thanks to my friend Bruce, for the title.

These Things, These Days

Tide Pool 003

Tide Pool 003 (Photo credit: Sunburned Surveyor)

A penny flipped mid-air,  the sound of dripping water from an old rusty pipe, white pistachio ice cream in an orange, ceramic bowl. Many, many things will happen during the day, most won’t leave an impression, but some will, things you may have not even have noticed consciously. What have you remembered in the corners of your mind?  The pop of very dark, red blood on my ankle after I cut myself, fixing the sink without asking for my husband’s help and my subsequent satisfaction, the texture and exquisite taste of lemon cheesecake swirling on my tongue.

Still not feeling happy but not feeling as depressed, it may take a while. Being on this plateau is fine with me, I am not complaining. I am trying to place the world in different compartments.  There are parts of myself I do not like, I need to own these. I am less patient than I used to be, I am unkind when pushed straight up against a brick wall, lately, I get angry more easily, sadder too; I am most definitely, flawed.

Relationships, each one, are so hard. Our age must be a part of it. We are the aging boomers.Is it our age? . Not so much peace, love and rock n’ roll anymore. Who has the time, the money, the stress free life? There are no relationship that are easy, they all need work and nurturing.  Just what is the right ratio? You only know when you have bumped up against it. Things hurt me more than most but that is something I can’t change, people have called me an Empath Intuitive, for what that is worth. I need to know more about this. Anyone?

I try to let things roll off my back but they get stuck. I am too sensitive, yes I know. I’m sorry. When people show coldness it feels like stabbing to me. Whoever said “karma is a bitch” first is so deadly right but that is how we learn, isn’t it? The lessons we need to learn usually come from within us.

I feel my mood slipping away, as if I were once again, caught in a tide pool of waves crashing around me. For all the majestic beauty of the ocean it can also be terrifying, disturbing and very dark. When I was a teenager I wandered away for a very long time, stayed away for hours, longer than I ever had, hoping that someone would miss me. Many hours later, I came back  waiting for the howls of relief that I had returned and the shrieks of “where have you been, young lady?” but no one had even noticed that I had gone.

Where is my energy, (not just because I have Fibromyalgia but even before the diagnosis?  Where was my fight, my determination, my drive? I feel like I’m a 33 record in a 45 playing world. (ask your parents!)

My red-brown dog, Lexi, lies against my legs, her show of affection, I still miss my first dog, Callie. You don’t forget love. You can’t, it’s impossible, If only it was that easy. Love lies in your memory and your heart, it reminds you of what you have done wrong and what you have done right. It shows us all that we are fallible and vulnerable. Live your life, but stop and tell the important people you love that YOU LOVE them. Now, before it’s too late while riding the ups and downs of life. I’ve always hated roller coasters. In life, we have no choice but to hold on tight.

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All photographs are the property of the photographers.

The Slow Unraveling Of The Boomer Generation

Red Yarn | 331/365 (EXPLORED)

Red Yarn | 331/365 (EXPLORED) (Photo credit: mfhiatt)

Yes, it’s true. I know, I know, a lot of you are licking your chops. The baby boomers are getting old, who dared shout “you are already old?” Shut up.  What’s worse is that many people I know feel depressed  about it, and are whining, kvetching and complaining about it to everyone. Why me? Why us? Where did those last forty years go? Were we not just putting our kids on the kindergarten bus? Now our little ones are sophomores or juniors in undergraduate school or working at jobs they love or hate. How did it happen, more importantly, how did it happen to us?

Are we all having a later mid- life crisis together again? Didn’t Melanie sing that?  Hey, don’t ask me I have no memory left. I blame it on Fibromyalgia Fog but my memory is fading fast. Fibromyalgia just makes it a hundred times worse.  When talking to my female friends it seems we are all going through something. What the Boomer generation didn’t expect is that we would become the Sandwich Generation.  Caught right in the middle of taking care of parent(s) and still taking care of or paying for our not yet independent children.

We also have the worst economic disaster and many of us have lost jobs, have been laid off and if we are lucky to have a job it probably pays two-thirds less than the last job but hey, it’s a job. You don’t love your job anymore, you just suffer through it. Why? because it’s a paycheck which is better than unemployment. I tried to get a part-time job, right, good luck to me, if it wasn’t so sad it would be laughable. A lot of us, unless we are independently wealthy, are scared.

As my husband and I approach our 25th wedding anniversary we look at each other, depressed, feeling alone, not particularly in love like when we got married but we DO love one another. We love each other and are grateful to have each other in our lives. We are also friends,companions, the parents of our children. Sometimes when he snores we sleep in different beds. Romance? Apparently I have watched too many movies. My husband never knew the meaning of the word and I sure as hell don’t expect him to learn it now. Let’s face it, it’s a fantasy.

My husband and his friends are stuck at jobs that they don’t like but have to stay in to earn money, retirement is not around the corner. They have settled like we all have settled and it’s not a good feeling at all. Women, trying to get back in the workplace are finding the same thing the men are finding: there are no jobs, especially at our age. Did you say age discrimination? You bet and nobody cares. You can easily hire a 24-year-old kid than us “alte kackes” (Woody Allen can you help me describe it to them?) who don’t know social media from the NBC Peacock.

We can’t retire yet, well at least not us, we didn’t sell out ( sorry for holding that grudge, I would have probably done the same thing) like our beloved Ben and Jerry.  It’s scary but we really are all alone in this world. Truthfully, we have no idea what we are doing. Some people look at that as exciting and starting another chapter in their lives, whoever you are, I salute you.

It’s a new step, another change, another phase, one we honestly don’t like but we have no choice. We’re getting old, older and while we try to be gracious sometimes it can just take our breath away. It gives us a quick pain in the ass and stomach or whatever ailments we have by now. In addition to that, and I’m just telling  you this, there is a slight case of fear, ice-cold fear running up and down our veins every once in a while. We seek our friends to talk to, to share our feelings, they are the only ones who understand. We unravel, slowly, together.

Life, Celebrate It

Beauty

Beauty (Photo credit: TONY – M)

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness (Photo credit: mbgrigby)

I’ve been a little down lately and cranky and I feel just a bit lost. I’m trying to get my footing in a very fast-changing world and I don’t know where I will end up. I know a lot of people, my age, who have felt the same way, even worse. The world is a very scary place, sometimes a very sad place and I know that many people are feeling its effects. I feel them too. How could we not? We’re getting older, if we still have parents, they are getting older and our children are just about adults. The sandwich generation is taking its toll, we are looking back over our shoulders wondering where the last 40 years have gone?

Today I talked to a very close friend who shut me up in about 30 seconds when she told me her aunt was having much more significant problems with her child, they had discovered two masses in his body and were in the process of finding out what they were. Hopefully, they were nothing serious but the stress they were going through was paralyzing. It left me embarrassed with my petty annoyances. Sometimes you just have to look at life that way. Yes, whatever you go through is real for you, no one is going to get down on you for what you feel, but in this life we all need to keep thins in perspective. Keep YOUR problems in perspective.

In the meantime, stop focusing on yourself. Today, as I had planned, I filled out the form to be a volunteer at a Hospice, something I’ve always wanted to do. A few days ago I joined a gym for the summer to finally get myself in shape. (I’ve already lost 30 pounds now I just want to be fit) I won’t have to look away from my internist or down at the floor when she asks me the “how much do you exercise question?” I am trying to help myself, to keep my mind and body busy.

If I do more, I will get more in return. I remember my father teaching me that, long, long ago when I was looking for a summer job in college and hadn’t gotten very many call backs from companies after sending out some resumes: “The more you send out, the more you call, the more responses you will receive” he told me. That was then, when people were courteous and he was certainly right, now, nobody seems to care. I spent over 20 years in Human Resources, calling every person, acknowledging every inquiry, what they do now is horrific. They don’t do anything, even after an interview. Nobody seems to care. They don’t treat people like people. What have we become? In a country that needs good manners the most for the discouraged or unemployed, people treat others horribly. My husband went through this years ago for 2 and a half years…we know.

If you need any helpful hints or have any questions before an interview, feel free to write me.

If there is nothing sparkling new in your life now or nothing to look forward to be thankful and appreciate what you have and don’t think about what you lack. Do some good in the world, some random act of kindness. Volunteer, offer someone who is elderly your arm to cross the street or carry their groceries. Hold the door for people, it costs no money and means so much. Celebrate what you do have and don’t cry over what you don’t. It’s really as simple as that.

Celebrate your life with wonder, grace and gratitude and even if you don’t feel like it, smile. Yes, smile. Sometimes if you “pretend”smile, it can help you as well as others. A very special teacher I had, long ago, called it “The Confidence Game.” It’s worth trying. You have nothing to lose.

I wish you peace, I wish you luck, I wish you hope.

What I Learned From My Daughter’s Graduation (Plus Love Does Not Die)

Dad and Angel

Dad and Angel (Photo credit: nualabugeye)

“Live life simply. Be kind. Do what you love, passionately. Make mistakes, fail and start again.” At my daughter’s high school graduation yesterday, we heard quotes from Steve Jobs and Dr. Suess, no one mentioned getting an MBA or Harvard Law; it felt like the world was undergoing a much-needed change and this was the generation that was going to do it. I felt like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were humming “Teach Your Children” in the background and I felt proud.

Class of 2012, you gave renewed hope to all of us aging baby boomers who sat and listened with smiles on our wrinkled faces and aching feet. Yes, I have bunions and hammer toes and I did take my sandals off to walk in the grass for a few minutes but then I realized my daughter would never forgive me if she saw me or G-d forbid, heard about it through a friend, so I ran back to put those stylish pink flower flip-flops back on.

Graduation was a lovely distraction and a glaring omission. It was held on Father’s Day and my dad passed away almost ten years ago. My mom was there and my in-laws but not MY dad. I believe in angels and signs and that the dead communicate with those of us left here on earth. Love does not die when someone leaves the earth, I know that for sure.

Right in front of me stood a man, ducking to get through, that looked so much like my dad had looked, wearing the exact shirt my dad used to wear, that I gasped and caught my breath. “I thought that was Dad” I squeaked to my no-nonsense mother who refused to even listen to my “angel moment.” I knew, I knew in my heart that was my dad’s sign, he has always been present for ALL important celebrations. In my heart I knew that while it may have not been him in the flesh, it was his angel, a sign for me from him. Thank you, Daddy.

I wore the dress my daughter picked out for me, the shoes, the necklace, (or as she used to pronounce it when she was little Neck-a-less”) I can still hear her young voice in my head if I try hard. When I saw her walk in before the program started, I took a photograph of her in my mind that I hope will stay there forever. Her beautiful blonde hair, straightened for the joyous occasion, hanging from under her blue cap, her blue gown flowing from the breeze on a sunny day and her bright smile and wave when she saw her grandmother and me. It was a rare glimpse into her world and it made me so happy.

After the reception I knew it was all about her and her friends. In our excitement we forgot to take pictures as a family, how can that be? We’re human and we got caught up in time and it simply slipped our minds. That’s what memories are for, photographs that stay in our heart.

You are starting a new journey, my beautiful, grown-up girl. You are fearless  and strong, independent and wise. There is no doubt in my mind that if you want it badly enough, you can change the world. Keep the faith; I know you will do great things for this world. I know it in my heart.