The Age We Are

We all age. It’s one thing, like death, we cannot change. In time, we need to accept the inevitable. We all get older and as scary as it sounds it is going to happen whether we like it or not. At some point, kicking or screaming or both we need to find peace within ourselves to accept our new, old age, our new lifestyle, that WE are now considered old.

thanks for old friends

thanks for old friends (Photo credit: Steve took it)

The trick to getting comfortable with your age? I have no idea. Once in a while I become a nervous wreck thinking about it. It usually only lasts about ten minutes at a time but when it hits it doesn’t feel good at all. Like now:

How did I get to be this old? I don’t understand. Wasn’t I just seven walking up the big hill to get to my elementary school wondering about how it would feel being old? I distinctly remember the comfort that I would not get old alone, that the friends around me who were the same age would get older too.

Junior high was a blur, it wasn’t the best time but it wasn’t the worse. It was something you had to go through to live another day. Students bothering you for your lunch money, dark hallways, new friends. Dreary, fenced in cement playground.

Then, I fell in love with high school, my sister went away to college and a new me was born. As my parents said “I blossomed.”  I adored high school, I was at school more than I was at home, in every club imaginable. Writing clubs, The New York Club, Yearbook Club, Acting, Jabberwocky Club (a magazine I, unfortunately named.)

Didn’t I go straight from there to college, when it snowed on October 2nd and finally got warm at the end of the semester for a few days and we played frisbee and sat in the sun? We had a cat named Boz.Those four years went by so quickly, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology. Parties, crushes, and one ugly hangover.

After that I was single, independent, living in my apartment in New York City, working at a good job, moved to Boston on a whim, I thought my friend Matthew was moving there, made a really good salary, convinced I would never meet a guy. I had a short romance or two. The next step was meeting a guy that for the first time I didn’t get tired of after twenty minutes.

My first love. My always love. We got married, we moved, we tried to have children to no avail and then (thank you G-d ) I got pregnant and what a miracle that was! We were blessed that after two and a half years of painful, intrusive infertility treatments, our son was born. When our son was one, we were thrilled and excited to be naturally expecting another child, another miracle, a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed daughter. I give thanks for my family every single night. That’s what love is.

If I had to pick a time when I was the happiest, THAT was the best time of my life, that time period when I was first pregnant with my son and then ecstatically with my daughter.

Luckily, we have our memories, at least most of them. Photographs too can fill in the spaces that time captured. We can all get scared of being older, it’s natural but here’s something that you can do to help: find other people you trust, and talk. It doesn’t matter what age they are. Pick up the phone, make a lunch date, reach out. Stay in touch with old friends, make some new friends. You will feel better. I assure you, you both will.

 

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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.

Plinky Prompt: What Makes You Feel Better When You Are In A Bad Mood?

  • When you’re in a bad mood, who or what makes you feel better? See all answers
  • Mood Enhancer
  • Let Me Just Clear My Throat……
    singing along When I am in a bad mood, I can rely on music to make me feel better. It’s my go-to, readily accessible relief. It’s hard to stay in a bad mood if you are singing loudly to a cheerful tune. (I’m not saying, by any means of the imagination, that I have a good voice) but it sounds and feels good to me. I usually play nostalgic songs (Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) from my past that I associate with good times, with youth, with fun, or with recent popular songs that I sing over and over again for months on end until I get tired of them. In a bad mood? Listen to some music, and sing loudly, you’ll soon forget your troubles.

Where Is Your Favorite Place To Drive? Plinky Prompt

Chestnut Horse

Image by Kris *V* via Flickr

  • My Favorite Place to Drive
  • “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
    Volkswagon Beetle 

    I would be driving on country roads, passing mooing cows and prancing chestnut horses. I would drive slowly past the dancing goats and the green grass vibrant with color and misty with dew. I would be in my (fantasy) yellow Volkswagon Beetle. I would have the windows down as the warm air breathed life into my hair and skin. Of course, my favorite music would be blasting. I would listen to old tunes, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell and my new favorite, Josh Radin. My dog would be in the seat next to me and I would talk to her and she would be stretching her face into a broad smile. Two bottles of water would sit next to me for when we both got thirsty. The trees would be in bloom, it’s the height of Spring, daffodils have sprouted and so too exuberant tulips in red, pink, white and yellow. I would stop for a picnic because everything tastes better outdoors and I would lie in the grass, on my back and let the soothing sun kiss my face my face and body.

Cheer-Me-Up Music (Don’t Bring Me Down)

Bruce Springsteen

It really depends on what I am feeling down about. First choice,  Bruce Springsteen gets me singing and rocking, rocking and rolling. You can count on him to elevate your mood; he’s better than Prozac. His music can get you out of your misery by the sheer joy of singing to his music. I even saw him in concert once, the best performer ever (Thanks, Claudine.)

When I need comforting and want to reminisce about the past and easier times it’s John Denver who comforts me. I think about high school and my friend Paula and our mini John Denver fan club. We were young, life was good, we just didn’t know it back then. Now we look back and remember the easiest time of our lives and probably the happiest. We lived, and breathed his songs, we argued endlessly about his lyrics, we had a crush on him. Hey, it was the 70’s, don’t judge! John Denver represented young people, happiness, nature and good times. When he died prematurely, we were crushed.

Also, old stand-byes like Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and of course, The Sound of Music are guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.

More recent cheerful music includes: “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, “hey tonight’s gonna be a good, good night, woo-hoo,” Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine.” I really could go on and on but instead, I think I will put on iTunes and listen to some music, right now.

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