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.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carry On Tuesday – Everybody hurts sometimes

Cover of "Tea for the Tillerman"

Cover of Tea for the Tillerman

Katie remembers clearly that when her older sister, Susan, had bi-polar episodes, more than she could count on one hand, Susan was always so loving to her. She was warm and kind, she would take her trembling hand and stroke Katie’s cheek softly, like a moth circling around soft yellow light. Susan would also apologize to her then, telling her how much she REALLY DID love her and appreciate her and they would be best friends for as long as it lasted.

Now, they fight often, usually on the phone or misinterpret what the other one says on e-mail. Katie takes things too personally, Susan thinks about herself first. It’s been an on-going battle for years.

“I won’t change” said Susan, defiantly. “I am who I am and you are a martyr” and finally, about a year ago Katie said, “I will not take any more pain from you.”  It was hard and she cried but she could not stand the constant anxiety she felt when she was on the phone with her older sister, assessing her mood, her tone of voice, her impatience, the thick tenseness of her angry words. The proportion of pain to happiness was so unequal that she wanted to stop the bad feelings altogether.

There was pain, all the time, consistently flaring up old feelings; it felt like the same serrated knife that had plunged in her epiglottis when she was so, so sick except this pain stabbed her heart. Everybody hurts sometime, Katie thought but the pain from her older sister was constant. They had tried too many times to fix it without success. “I’m trying” Katie wanted to scream out, but Susan would not listen or did not hear her. “Look in the mirror” Katie yelled ” I’m not the only one who feels this way.”  She was fighting a losing battle in which she felt so emotionally destroyed she decided to finally end the war. However, In a war, no one comes out unscathed.

That’s not to say that there weren’t good times too. In the past, among long bouts of feuding and not speaking, there had been good talks and family fun. When it was only about the two sisters, it was never a safe topic and tension filled the air like a smoke bomb which everybody inhaled, even the cousins.

They had exchanged roles when Kate was 15 and Susan, 21 when Susan first was “sick.”Kate became the older sister and Susan, the child.  Even though it was the last place Kate wanted to be, she thought maybe Susan never forgave her for that. Not even when they sat in the back seat of their parents car, holding hands and singing “Sad Lisa” by Cat Stevens together, a song they had both listened to individually. It was NO ONE’S FAULT they all know rationally. No one. If anyone was to blame it was their parents who abdicated their position of decision-making to Kate. On the other hand, Kate had disappeared to them as a child. She was hushed when she tried to come in the apartment door because Susan was trying to sleep, their parents held different standards for the two sisters and it started then and never changed.

Things don’t always come out the way you want them to; it would have been sublime to be one happy family with equal part of love and nurturing. For a little while it was, when their father was alive and he was the moderator, Katie’s soul-mate of a parent. When he died, their mother lost a spouse, their daughters both lost a dad but Kate lost a friend and ally, someone who understood her sensitive personality perfectly. It became a war, two against one and Kate felt very much alone with two strong, self-involved women and herself. She survived for a number of years playing that game; she took it for as long as she could.

One Mother’s Day brunch, two years ago, she slid back from the table, wiped her lightly pink lipsticked mouth with the white linen napkin, collected her matching pink pocketbook from her lap, smiled sadly, and stood up. She would no longer participate in a war she didn’t believe in. She walked away but she couldn’t help it; she always looked back.

Top Albums I Listened to While Growing Up

We Listen To The Same Music Now…

Sexy Boys

I started listening to my older sister’s music: The Mama’s and the Papa’s and Chad and Jeremy (does anyone else remember them?) When I was in high school I listened to John Denver, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, Carly Simon and Cat Stevens. I still listen to all of them with the exception of Chad and Jeremy, but I am going to listen to them now, because whatever was old can still be new. Enjoy.

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Dedicated to my sister, Emma