Innocence, Lost

Lately, I feel that the world is a very scary place. I KNOW you can’t live your life with utter fear, every second, but it feels overwhelming at times. Actually, you probably could live your life that way but I’m sure it

would be a miserable life with no joy at all. Sometimes, it feels like you just want to stay home in bed, huddled under your blankets, safe and warm. However, you can’t appreciate joy and happiness if you don’t know what fear or sadness feels like.

I have to talk myself out of thinking about worrying and taking chances every once in a while, sometimes I have to force myself to brave the world but I do it.  I go out into the world, at first tentatively, treading carefully, trying to be cautious of mine fields.

Now, it feels like there are mine fields everywhere. I’m sure there are millions of people who are more scared than I am that don’t even have the ability to leave their homes or rooms or beds to put one foot on the ground after another. I feel bad for them but I also can relate.

I am not joking, believe me. I think it takes a lot of courage and strength to live in today’s society.. I can only judge what I know. I know that in the beginning “baby boomer” years I felt peaceful, it was all about “love and peace and songs filled with that message.”

Now? I can’t /won’t watch the news or read the newspaper, it’s all too overwhelming especially when my daughter was traveling abroad. I felt happier when she landed and I could see her face than the entire two weeks before.

There seemed to be a bit more control way back then when I was growing up but maybe it was because I was a child instead of an adult? Maybe my parents protected me, but of course there was violence. The killings of JFK and MLK were terrible acts of violence but they weren’t so often and unpredictable like the school shootings that have happened here multiple times, or the killings of police officers etc. Why?


I miss those days in the seventies, the days of simplicity. I am grateful to have grown up in those days where peace was the motivation and simple music was mainstream, in concerts with regular guitars not high-tech with sound effects. Where people actually talked to each other instead of texting, where the phone was attached to the wall and not in our children’s hands.
The one thing I insisted on when my kids were growing up was that we all ate dinner together, no phones, no television, every single night. It gave us a chance to talk about our days.We played the “What was the high, low, funny of your day?” and everyone had to take part. I learned from my asking “How was school, what did you do” to which they both answered: “Good, Nothin.”
I knew parents who were never home to see their children, parents whose children were more attached to their nannies and had so much more money than we did. We had very little money but our family ate dinner together every single night and we talked about our days.
I knew a mom who sat her children in front of the television with”tv” trays and that was dinner, every single night, the children’s father worked very late hours and didn’t see his children much at all. Our kids once complained that they were not allowed to watch television during dinner and I drew the line right then and there.
It was less complicated back then where the gourmet ice cream was just Hagen Daas not thirty other brands where choices were unlimited and not wildly scattered like
English: Dandelions in the Tuira district of t...dandelions in the wind.
Sometimes having too many choices is harder than having limited choices, it’s more anxiety provoking for some people, more frustrating.
When I go shopping, I stand in front of the toothpaste or the shampoo aisle and just stare. How many choices can there be? Apparently too many as I stare with glazed over eyes not even focusing on which one I want. Does it really make a difference? Aren’t they all pretty much alike? Of course they are but today there seems to be a need for more and more and big, bigger, biggest and 50 varieties on one product.
I would love to go back to easier times, nicer times when the theme was Random Acts Of Kindness, how about we get that started again? Some have never stopped but many have stopped because of no income or just focusing on their busy lives. Let’s try to get on track, again. If nothing else, it will take away the fear and replace it with appreciation, it also doesn’t need to cost one cent.
 The sandwich generation, we are taking care of both our parents and our children, say “Peace Out” and “Keep On Trucking.” After all we need to keep our boomer sense of humor. It’s pretty much all we have left.
Picture of John Lennon's Strawberry Fields For...

Picture of John Lennon’s Strawberry Fields Forever Memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Happy Yellow Friday #5

I am not into fancy cars, a car is just a means of transportation for me. If I won the lottery I wouldn’t buy an expensive car, the only car I have ever wanted was a Yellow Volkswagen Beetle.

Not the new Man Beetle, the Beetle from a few years ago, the one that had a small vase in the front for a flower, a daisy.  It was the perfect baby boomer car. It’s still a car, I think, that is just meant for me to drive.  Happy Yellow Friday to all.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Paradise OR Grieving Does Not Have A Time Schedule

Vegetables in a grocery store, Paris, France.

Vegetables in a grocery store, Paris, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m lying in my bed, still in my pajamas, it’s almost three o’clock in the afternoon. My husband and I had planned to go out to dinner tonight but there is no way in hell I’m going. He thinks I will change my mind. He tries guilt “but I’ m going to be disappointed….” Apparently he doesn’t know me as well as he thinks he does. I do not like to go out when I  feel blue.  I will not step out of my house today unless there is a fire, even then, I would find a cozy corner for me and my red dog that seemed safe enough. I would protect her.

Sometimes I get delayed reactions to things, things that I THOUGHT I had handed well, or maybe this is just a blip in the radar. I used all the right buzz words, “when one door closes another opens” I was practically playing Mother Abbess role singing out loud to “Climb Every Mountain” from “The Sound of Music.” Not now. I’m stuck in mud, not the kind that you can joyfully wade through and play in but the one you feel where you feel trapped in cement and cannot move. Yes, it will change eventually, Patience is not one of my virtues.

This is too familiar we’ve gone through this before. My husband got laid off from his job, I know it’s not his fault, the state of the economy is horrific. His age, doesn’t help, I’m quite sure. He is probably competing with 22-year-old youngsters, bright and bushy-tailed. that will accept less money. It’s those of us who are in-between that suffer the most.

Call us “Baby Boomers,” call us “Empty Nesters” but pretty much, call us what we are: F—ed. We’re taking care of or worrying about our remaining living parents, we have children in college, and we have no idea what to do ourselves. Where should we live? Should we stay, move twice, do nothing? Stress! I live in a town whose school systems excel, one that my kids both graduated from. The taxes are high but the thought of moving twice makes my blood curdle at the thought. I like a town that is peaeful, not divisive, where we help each other, not fight.

The only good thing for my husband and me is that we ARE open to moving, anywhere. If my husband got a job offer in California we would definitely consider it.(Sorry, kids) But, what are the chances?  Right now not very high at all. Besides, no matter where we end up, our children will ALWAYS  have a home. That’s one thing they never, EVER, have to worry about.

The days now are dreary, cold and grey. Wind is chilly and goes right through my winter jacket. I despise going out when the sun sets around four pm, even the grocery store is dull with its flat vegetables and fruit. I miss plums and peaches, cherries and magnificently bright-colored fruit that made summer so cheery. The ripe taste, juice dribbling down your chin, laughing. I’m stuck, we’re stuck and there really is nothing we can do about it.

I know, I’m procrastinating on writing my book. True. That is one thing I SHOULD do. It’s one thing I COULD do and have in my control. That, and what I eat. Food you can also control. I don’t have an eating disorder but it feels good to be able to control something. Yes, things will change, I need to be patient but it is okay to be sad. Dwelling on it, that’s a whole other story, I don’t want to go there. Tonight, I dearly miss my children, I can’t wait to see them in a few weeks, even when they make fun of me, especially when they make fun of me. At least, I will laugh.

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.

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.

Plinky Prompt: Escape!

  • English: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C...

    English: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. closeup view of vocalists Joan Baez and Bob Dylan., 08/28/1963 Español: Bob Dylan con Joan Baez en la Marcha por los Derechos Civiles en Washington, D.C. (1963) Italiano: Joan Baez e Bob Dylan durante la marcia per i diritti civili a Washington, 28 agosto 1963 Polski: Bob Dylan i Joan Baez w 1963 Deutsch: Joan Baez und Bob Dylan beim Marsch auf Washington am 28. August 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Live at the Troubadour (Carole King and James ...

    Live at the Troubadour (Carole King and James Taylor) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from). See all answers

  • Escape!
  • I’m escaping from STRESS and I’m taking my husband with me. I can’t possibly hang on much longer with my twisted, achy stomach which might very well be an ulcer or worse, losing weight, and being tired and upset. I’m watching my husband feeling down and defeated and unhappy too. I’m taking my husband, my best friend, whose stress level I share and intensify, out of here.He needs a new, good job PRONTO, in the computer field (something about Software and Engineers and Project Management) where people are not mean but decent and NICE. It’s been too hard, waiting for the pink slip which is coming except they don’t even GIVE you a pink slip anymore. Now, they just take you into a room, avoid your eyes and mutter about lay-offs. The unemployment drill.
    Let’s sell the house, then tell our kids in college, take the nutty dog with us (she’s always up for an adventure) and rent a van, or small mobile home. We can become the baby boomer hippies we never were. Let’s go down to the basics, we don’t need all this “stuff” that you, okay WE cling to. Imagine, having no agenda, no plans, no watches. We’d be living on money from the things we sold. Our college kids might even have to work (Gasp, what’s that??) Let’s go cross-country (you never believed me but I meant it.) Maybe somewhere we can settle down and open a breakfast place or lunch, maybe ice cream?
    Let’s go now, before we change our minds. We won’t sell the CD’s, because the one thing we need, wherever we are, is music. Music makes us happy and we need to sing loudly out the windows with joy. Our dog, Lexi, hanging out the window having a blast. We will sing all the oldies, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Carole King, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez….just to name a few. No stress? Sounds like heaven to me.

Mellow Yellow Monday – Twinkies

In honor of a product which is dying a rapid death, ladies and gentlemen, I show you the most beautiful yellow item of all,

THE HOSTESS TWINKIE.

Twinkies were an icon for generations, for baby boomers and more and now they are leaving us. Shame on you Hostess and Drake. I know they weren’t the healthiest of items, but still, seeing them on the shelf was reassuring. It’s a sad moment for many of us.

PS. I’m not at all happy about those orange cupcakes or the snowballs going away either! It was a

Christmas tradition. One you have destroyed. I hope you are happy.

Twinkies (Hostess Twinkies is a trademark of I...

Twinkies (Hostess Twinkies is a trademark of Interstate Bakeries Corporation). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)