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 (Photo credit: aftab.)













Simple Truths

Mind sets: we all draw a line in  our minds, a dividing point, a moral measure, for a variety of  issues: religion, romance, love, food, friends, work, relationships. The list goes on and on and how we stand on something can change like a puff of wind to a dandelion. We all have our own truths. We make our own rules, adjust accordingly and somehow, someway, sometimes because we have no choice, we find our way back. It isn’t always easy.

I met a woman at a party a week ago, Kate,  and her face is still sketched in my mind. Taut, tanned skin, blond, perfectly highlighted hair, her body upright and rigid, wearing a swimsuit with a long flowered wrap tied at her waist.  We were talking about graduations and I said that I will definitely cry when my son and daughter graduate. She said “I never would cry, never at a happy event, as long as I have all my loved ones around me.” Her comment took me by surprise. Her face was hard, still and emotionless; the words emphatic and cold. She swept her hand towards her extended family including her children, her sisters and her elderly parents.  It was as if she was wearing an emotional shield, made of armour, but tiny, invisible cracks were beginning to form.

I felt bad for her, for the innocence that one day will be lost. It’s as if there was a vulnerable and frightened five-year old girl inside her, covered up with layers and layers of an impenetrable facade. It won’t stay like this forever, I thought.  Her family will not always be in this perfect order. I felt sad because I know what it feels like when someone you love dearly, dies. Nothing is ever the same, it’s before and it’s after and nothing in-between. Your world changes forever at that moment, frozen in time.

I nodded my head in agreement with her bold statements but mostly, I wanted to somehow keep her safe, or prepare her though I knew I couldn’t.  I knew she was appreciating everything she had now but was in no way prepared for the future. I am NOT saying that you can ever be prepared but I knew, in my heart, that this particular woman, will become undone, so unable to cope. I hope I am wrong but I had that strange eery inner sense that I get sometimes, that 6th sense. I’m usually right. Let’s face it, we don’t know how WE will react when an unknown situation is strewn our way.

I have been that little girl, in some ways I still am.  I was the girl who grew up worried and anxious and afraid. I’m not entirely sure why, part nature, part nurture perhaps. Can you ever be prepared for a life that can change in a second’s time? Do we worry about everything because something is bound to happen? Why can’t I imagine the good, the great popping up like beautiful purple and yellow, blue and red wildflowers instead of focusing on the bad?

I try so hard, and have failed so many times, not to worry about the future. “Don’t meet problems half-way” an old, lesbian, Irish ex-nun friend once told me. She was absolutely right but sometimes my mind wanders, drifts to the “what if’s.”  I have to remind myself, like I am doing now, that we have no control over ourselves or our future.

Who would have predicted a massive oil spill in the one element, water, that I have always loved so dearly. My fantasy was to live near the beach somewhere, next to the turbulent, gentle, overpowering ocean with its moody green waters and it’s whipped foam topping, crashing relentlessly against the giant rocks. The dream seems gone now, because of the BP gas spill that threatens our waters and our animals, innocent animals.

Not worrying is a lesson I need to learn and relearn and I must be failing because it happens over and over again. Why can’t I learn it, I wonder?  Maybe it is just the way I am?  Maybe I was never reassured enough as a child? I have faith too and even with that, I sit up nights, anxious, with my head playing mind games, rolling tape like the old-fashioned movie cameras, reel to reel, over and over and over again.