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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Kellie Elmore: Favorite Ending of Song

Nobody Wants to Play With Me

Nobody Wants to Play With Me (Photo credit: tochis)

“And in the end, the love you take
is equal to the love you make “

“Life is a one big circle, that’s what I thought but at fifteen everything seems convoluted. My brain, practically has wires sticking out of it and one minute I was crying and the next I was mad as hell. I could be sitting on the couch with my mom not wanting any physical contact with her AT ALL and then a sappy commercial would come on and I would start to sob and wish that she would just take me in her arms and hug me like she used to when I was little. She didn’t because I didn’t give any sign of wanting to be hugged and I hadn’t given her any encouragement for the past three years to come anywhere close to me. But still, it hurt.

High School for a girl like me is hell on earth, I wasn’t one of those cheerleaders, one of the popular girls. I hated them. Or maybe I was jealous of them, I’m not sure. But I knew this, I would never be a cheerleader ever. My parents complimented me and said I was “wonderfully different” and “independent” “special” but the kids in school talked straight. They called me “weirdo.” That’s what I was, one big, tall nothing of a weirdo.

Sure,  I loved animals and volunteered at the dog shelter every day after school but that doesn’t make you prom queen or Miss Personality. It’s lonely being different, oh heck, I’ve been alone all my life. Even my over-achieving sports-minded brother didn’t care about me. He was too busy winning trophies and bragging about them. You should see his room it was like a shrine to him except he was still alive. You know, gathering more trophies and medals in college.

I guess I thought my life would be easier once he went away to college but nothing changed, In fact we had less to talk about at the dinner table. Except for my homework assignments. My parents always asked about that: For  English our assignment was: Write about every positive good feature we have. My English teacher was the only teacher I really liked and respected but this was going to be one short assignment. I sighed and rolled my eyes just thinking about it. Why couldn’t I write about someone else? Why me? I’d  rather write about my stupid older brother than myself. I put my pen to paper and started writing without thinking:

Dana: good person, helps others, kind, loves dogs, volunteers at dog shelter every day after school, tutors math to little kids, likes to write (but not about me) loves reading, don’t like myself, like my green eyes, hates nose and everything else, maybe not my hair, hair is ok. pretty good daughter, love my parents, don’t like hurting people’s feelings. love to watch people, hate being watched, or looked at, honest, fair.

I handed it to Ms. Wilson the next morning and quickly walked away.  I forgot about it until she had passed the homework back three days later and gave me mine with a big red SEE ME AFTER CLASS written on it. I thought I was going to throw up. I swear, I almost did.

I waited until everyone left and Ms. Wilson smiled,  ” Dana, she laughed, you are NOT in trouble, I just want to talk to you. I’m not Miss Wilson now, I’m Michelle. I wanted to tell you how much I admire you. Actually, you remind me a lot of me when I was your age. She laughed and said “don’t look so shocked I was YOUR age once!.” I couldn’t speak, I just sputtered. “Dana, you are one of the smartest, kindest  and most gifted students that I have ever known. You have a wonderful way with words AND a career in writing if that’s what you decide to do. I want to make sure YOU know that. I don’t feel you really know how special a person you are.” “But, But,  all the other girls…”she stopped me, “all the other girls? What the silly pom-pom girls with the fake blonde hair and blue contact eyes?” Nonsense, you, my dear are an original. One of my teachers taught me this and I’m passing it down to you because, I swear, it works. All you need to do is play the confidence game, smile even if it is pretend, carry yourself like you are the queen.

Soon enough, others will smile back and it will be natural for you. You are a lovely young woman and you give a lot of love to everything you do, it’s only a matter of time and self-confidence for you to get it all back, and you will, I promise. Do you know the word “karma” she asked me. Yeah, I said sheepishly, my parents are hippies.

“You promise, things will get better? I asked? Pinky swear, she said. So we locked pinkies and I felt better already. Miss. Wilson then  asked me for a hug which I gave her and I tried really hard NOT to cry but when I looked at her she was doing the very same thing. I left with a smile on my face and it was real.

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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: Favorite Rock Album

  • Favorite Rock Album
  • “On The Cover Of The Rolling Stones” The Rolling Stones I can choose one because it was so momentous growing up in the age of The Rolling Stones. It was the album, yes album, with the up close and personal photo of the…(hush) pants/ zipper on it. Quite titillating for a teenage girl and her friends. The Beatles were sweet and romantic, The Monkees were cute and funny but The Rolling Stones? They introduced sexuality, …p.s. I just realized at the age of 55 while writing this blog, I am surely the most gullible, naive, innocent and stupid person alive. “Sticky Fingers,”really? My kids are right, I’m a lost cause. Just shoot me.

If I Had the World's Attention for Two Minutes

“All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace A Chance”

“There is no need for bloodshed, in any country, at any time or place. There is a better way, fighting of ANY KIND will not be tolerated. Put down your guns and weapons, your scientific secrets for nuclear bombs and ambush, lay it down before you. We are all in this world for a short time and we should use that time to TRY to make friends with each other and not make enemies.” As a wonderful person once wrote, “Give Peace A Chance.” Then I would play the Beatles’ song:

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Music I've Been Listening To Recently

First Barbra Steisand, Now This. Unforgivable.

Paul McCartney

I’m listening to Paul McCartney and to The Beatles. I’m inflicting pain on myself by listening to Sir Paul McCartney on itunes instead of going to his concert. I am punishing myself for not getting tickets to Paul’s concert when he was in town. I could kick myself (and my husband) for not getting tickets, for not taking a chance with the weather, for not spending the money to go, for staying home and pretending it didn’t matter. What was I thinking? I don’t really know, but I know now, that it was a big mistake and I am a complete ass.” I should have known better…….”

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“(S)He’s Leaving Home, Bye, Bye”*

Kleinkind beim Laufen

Image via Wikipedia

(April, 2011)

My son, my first-born made his final decision for college in September. He’s excited, thrilled and after celebrating with him, I slipped away and am now holed up in my bedroom, sobbing. It’s not like I haven’t been prepared for this, it’s not like he’s still six it just feels like he was six a moment ago. He’s my boy and as much as I know how happy he is with his choice, the deposit put me over the edge. I fell apart; it was now official.

I know I am being ridiculous, this is not sudden bad news but it feels like a total shock to me. I am weeping and I can’t explain it except to say that while I am so happy for him, I feel vastly sorry for myself. This is my son, my first child, the kid I called “buddy” so many times my husband was worried people would think that was his name. This boy is a delight, a warm, compassionate, smart young man. At the age of 2 1/2 he stunned a grown-up friend when he used the word “compromise.” When the friend doubted him and asked him if he knew what that meant, he explained it beautifully: “If I want to go to bed at 9 and my daddy says 7 then we compromise in the middle.” You can’t argue with facts.

(June, 2011)

I lost it today, in the supermarket between the pizza rolls and the pizza bagels, two past favorite foods of my son. The tears welled up in my eyes and I started crying, quietly, discreetly but that was just strength of will on my part. I could have sobbed but I held myself together. My son is graduating High School in a week and a half. The day after, he leaves to go to his old camp to be a counselor. I never liked being left, that’s for sure. My parents left me alone a lot when I was younger so they could travel together in Europe. I would cry hysterically but once the yellow taxi disappeared from the view from my sixth floor kitchen window, I was alright.

I feel, like many other mothers and fathers feel that he is leaving me and us, the family. I know I am overreacting but this is how I feel. It’s a great thing, a joyful thing but the good feeling hasn’t caught up to my heart yet. In time, I’m sure it will. I just have to get used to it but it is a drawn out process.  I like to think that when he actually leaves FOR college I will be better, but who am I trying to kid?  I’ve never been great at change and this is a big one.

It doesn’t help that my daughter, only one grade year apart from her brother, will be a Senior in High School come September. This little girl of mine is smart, independent and always knew what she wanted from the minute she was born. She planned her birthday party themes four years in advance and stuck to each one of them. She is a fierce animal lover, and vegetarian, she is very smart, extraordinarily beautiful and has an incredible quick wit. This girl, wrapped her arms around my neck for years and wouldn’t let go. No one else could soothe her except me. Soon, she too, will be running out the door, this independent free spirit that I fervently admire.

In our hearts, our secret fear is that our sons and daughters will forget us. So, I am saying this now. Please remember we love you so much. Please don’t forget us or stop loving us. Keep in touch and the hug you give when you visit, try to make it last a second or two longer so that we can remember just how good it feels.

*Courtesy of The Beatles song

The Lingering Smell Of Basil

A cooked hot dog garnished with mustard.

Image via Wikipedia

As soon as I feel the first warm hint of spring on my shoulders and see the first crocus I immediately rejoice! It’s Spring, not officially, but in my snow-sickened world it is the start. As soon as Spring is even in the air I start thinking of having barbeques, especially the one BIG BBQ we try to have every few years.  I’m imagining all our friends and family out in the back yard eating cheeseburgers from the Weber grill, dripping with either cheddar or American cheese. I think about   grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and juicy hot dogs, and bright yellow mustard. I also think of potato chips, the real kind, the ones we had as kids and not the baked, healthy, kind either. There would be Heinz ketchup, (of course I’m brand loyal) potato salad made with a touch of mayonnaise, coleslaw and perhaps a large tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and a touch of light green extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the vibrant red tomatoes and the creamy white mozzarella cheese. I love how the earthy smell of basil lingers between your fingertips all afternoon.

In addition, we may have small roasted potatoes on the grill along side smokey-sweet yellow and white kernels of corn on the cob.  Red and white plastic table cloths, bright red or blue plastic plates (preferably the ones that have three sections, love those!) and disposable cups. Napkins would be stacked high in your hands as if they were towels. Messy and barbeques to me are happy synonyms.

Once we went to a barbecue at Charlotte’s house, (“Charlotte of the charmed life” as I call her) the table was like a set directly from a page right out of Martha Stewart Living. Everything matched, the beige, ironed linen table-cloth ( l-i-n-e-n),  the highest quality count, and the china decorated with large blue and yellow flowers bursting on the plates.  Of course, all the bowls, the silver utensils, they all matched perfectly as I watched in unmitigated horror and delight. This is not what I thought I was coming to, I felt under-dressed and ill at ease. It was absolute perfection just not MY type of perfection. It was for high-class people with lots of money and so very different from our dinners and us.

We dined on steak and salmon, ( I hid my salmon) a glossy arrangement of bright green, yellow and red fresh vegetables and imported cheeses. There were no sticky fingers and plastic glasses of lemonade, just a beautiful crystal pitcher filled with ice water, ice cubes that were in the shape of tropical fruit. I was afraid to eat, afraid to get the napkins dirty so I ate slowly and carefully and with my luck, ended up leaving a stain on the tablecloth which I fervently tried to hide underneath the matching napkin. There were no s’mores at this dinner, it was too elegant. We had assorted cookies from the expensive bakery in town shaped and iced beautifully like flowers and cars and ice cream cones but utterly tasteless.

At our barbeques we have cherry, blueberry and apple crumb pies glistening on the table inside with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream readily waiting in our freezer. I make my home-baked banana raisin-chocolate chip loaf and there would always, I mean always, be a chocolate cake and brownies.

I put my nephew, Jon, in charge of music so the sounds of Neil Young,  Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and various other oldies will be playing out the window like the days when music screamed from dorm rooms. It isn’t fancy or elegant and it may just be ordinary but I guarantee you, there will be, a lot of food, including s’mores and an equal amount of laughter. Hope you can come.