Aging in America

Ahhh, the indignities of middle to late middle age! We laughed uproariously at age 40 birthday party, when they presented us w inflatable walkers, hemorrhoid cream, hair dye to banish the gray hairs, memory pills, you get the idea! We were not yet in that time frame, so it was funny! And we danced for hours, after that, with not a care in the world!

Bah humbug! No Viagra, Cialis, blood pressure pills, penis inflators, round the abdomen accumulating fat, which is anatomically disposed to be the landing place for any extra calories over necessary consumption based on activity. Soon, you won’t even see the penis, as the fat accumulates! Arthritis, as who knew joints go kaplooey with too much kneeling, bending, lifting, walking, running, even working out, which was supposed to be good for you? Who can do that anymore?

Go ahead, but the key word is low impact workouts. Long distance slow and easy, biking, in whatever way you can, weight lifting, but little by little, as tolerated. Walking, then up hills, as you are able, with gradually increasing distances. No more getting down on those knees, which are not constructed to withstand that burgeoning gut and increased poundage. I know, not everyone, but increasingly the majority are in this class, especially women who are proportionately designed to store more fat than men do, anatomically.

Invest in adult diapers, for the stock market will be overflowing its banks on this! Baby Boomers are aging out, and there are so many of us! Many are living long long lives too, which is a mixed blessing, because while you do everything right, eating healthily, exercising, losing weight, you are still trapped by your genetics, which will betray you at some point. Even  model specimen who does everything right recently found an abnormal EKG rhythm! Warning of mortality, no matter what you do. Take your hints, your vitamins, supplements, your regimen, your greens, lean meats, vegan or vegetarian with appropriate protein sources replacement, it doesn’t matter…

Look at your family history. What happened to your parents is not exactly destiny for you, but it’s a heavy influence. Then factor in your lifestyle, satisfaction, high stress, how your job either values you appropriately or not, how your kids are doing, and are they prospering? All of it matters. Also factor in risk taking, education and awareness of risks, like predilection for mountain climbing, skydiving, jet skiing, hiking alone, you name it…Do you maintain your car as the prudent do? Do you assess weather every single time before  you go driving? Do you drink and drive, or do drugs and drive? Do you text while driving? What about the next person who doesn’t pay attention or care?

Pantiliners, then pads, coughing and sneezing, stress incontinence, anal sphincter not tight anymore?? Oh my. Hair dying every 2 months, shower stool and bath bar for support, because elders past had fallen in the shower, with catastrophic damage. Can’t climb stairs anymore, out of breath on the hills…permanent disability issues. A panoply of ills, and lungs are at age 80 already because of exposure to very serious airborne contaminants, out of your control because of poverty of the past, or exposure to Ground Zero contaminants, not publicly admitted, with flimsy dust masks good for nothing, and especially not for residents nearby, in a zone with carcinogens everywhere burning for months and human flesh absorbing same…

It’s later than you think, Boomers. Time to make up and fill that Bucket List with your wishes, and your ability to fulfill same…because the Hourglass is running out of sand. Like Judy Garland in the Castle under the Witch’s clutches, that’s us. But this is no movie, and we don’t have any trio of Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion to come get us. We just have the litany of the medical doctors telling us to quit smoking, lose weight, get therapy for mental illness, move, get a better job, drive less, walk more, as if any of these things were really in the realm of the doable…

We aren’t solo, most of us. We have to consider how our choices impact who we live with. If it’s a no go for them, many times that means it’s a no go for us too. Even if that means having to drive 70 miles each way to a job, or 100 miles or more. And weather impacts too, in the Age of Global Warming, increasingly severe storms, which may destroy your very home…and strand you on distant shores, because of flight cancellations. And that ever ticking I need to make more money…because that is security. Yeah, stress, beyond your control, because of tariffs levied on everything, even things you need, like food, water, medicine, rent, gasoline…and your salary doesn’t rise to compensate for that. Just suck it up. The 1% won’t be covering you (unlikely).

The American Dream is dying. Now if immigration would just figure that out, we wouldn’t have 15,000 arriving daily from other broken places, in search of something better….we don’t actually have it either. We did, but now not as much. Ask the millennials and the younger folks. What of rich America, every generation doing better than the last? That died too. Concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands will beget a 2nd American Revolution, because people lose hope and sustenance en masse. Democracy cannot stand on its ideals when the vast majority are denied the tools to get to at least the middle class, which is also dwindling. Look at the suicide rates too, of veterans and other people who are marginalized, and the incarceration rates as well, borne of desperation to earn a buck…

I count myself lucky, even with what is wrong with me, which is much. I lived in the times of profound change, and survived it well. And am inclined to help others as well, whatever way I can. I have a mission. And I can also blog all I want, which is good, because I have way too much to say. SHUT UP ALREADY, MARSHA! IT’S ENOUGH! 

BANG, ZOOM TO THE MOON, ALICE!!! – RALPH KRAMDEN, CHARACTER OF THE HONEYMOONERS, played by the late great Jackie Gleason.

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Things Not to Do, Part 2

  1. Be a slut and run for office.
  2. Be a whoremaster and expect to know how many children you actually fathered. What, you expect all those vengeful bitches are all gonna tell you?
  3. Be a contender for The Iron Throne: you are apt to swim with the fishes. (In the Soprano’s parlance, that would be getting whacked.).
  4. Shoot up heroin, meth, etc. You are likely to die from it because Fentanyl will be mixed in and OD is the result. Every day 4 Americans die this way.
  5. Mix Geritol with Viagra, Cialis, or the like. Hang it up.
  6. Stand on your terrace naked. As long as you are in your home, it’s ok, but really not on the terrace, damn it! I told you, you can’t be naked outside!
  7. If you are prone to getting an erection at the beach, avoid wearing Speedo’s. Likewise, be advised that cold water doth harden nipples, involuntarily.
  8. Wear stilettos in ice, snow and sidewalk grates, unless you welcome imprisonment.
  9. Get fitted for a chastity belt.
  10. Leave a drink unattended with someone who wants to screw you. How do you know you won’t be rufied?
  11. Wear chain mail at a Game of Thrones event. They will think you are cannon fodder.
  12. Avoid buying stock in adult diapers as 10K Americans age 65 every day.
  13. Be a driver who’s blind, on illicit drugs, on prescribed drugs that cause impairment of judgment, reflexes, etc, or even too sleepy, which is the same thing. All of these mean you don’t care about yourself or your fellow man. Add in drunk too; over 0.08 BAC (blood alcohol concentration).
  14. Allow peers or elders, who are clearly impaired, to drive. That makes you an accessory to any killing they do.
  15. Collaborate with spies or traitors. You don’t want to know what happens in Black Ops sites, unless you prefer to die by torture.
  16. Finally, be an ostrich with head in sand, regarding your own children. Times have changed radically. Do teach them to navigate the muddy waters of this world now. And yes, that means NO SEXTING! Naked pix and the internet are forever, you naked terrace guy!!!!

Now, Things to Do

What, you’re surprised? Of course you have to have the corollary list to contrast w the preceding. Here’s a list of things that you should do, if you have the moxie.

  1. Be fantabulous, that is to say, your unique self. Wear high stilettos if that’s your thing, in boots, up to the thighs. Interpret as you see fit.
  2. Be the parents that you wish you had, if you are a parent. Use their example of how to be and how NOT to be, if they went wrong with something.
  3. Have a moral compass. Whether it’s an organized religion, straight spirituality, or just plain a higher being to pray to, a la AA’s mantra, be sure to be on the straight and narrow, in case there is a God, that many believe that there isn’t.
  4. Love with your whole body and soul at least once in this life. If you don’t, you will regret it. If you can, find your soul mate, and keep that person.
  5. Find what you are good at, and are interested in, and evaluate whether this is good for future development of a career, even if unlikely. Give it a shot at least, to see if you are that shooting star in the sky. Develop hobbies to foster self esteem.
  6. Write a Bucket List at an appropriate life stage. Try to check off as much as possible on that list. Do things with the closest people you know, from that list.
  7. Be kind, especially with those who are less fortunate than you are. They are out there, no matter where on the ladder you are. It’s your job to find them and help.
  8. Be the solution to a problem you see in the world. Implement steps to make your solution a reality. Seek resources from Googling experts in the field, if necessary. There are many charitable foundations that will be delighted to help, if they can be helpful with a major goal. Eradicate AIDS? Stand Up to Cancer? There are millions of worthwhile projects to help, if you can.
  9. If your genetics suggests you are at risk for a disease, it will also suggest ways to combat that predisposition. Follow guidelines as much as possible. Genetics is not all destiny.
  10. While you have your sanity, (which could change, of course, due to a life stressor, like a divorce, death of a loved one, homelessness, etc), make out papers like a health care proxy, living will, a regular last will and testament, or if circumstances warrant, a revocable trust, because you might have your life circumstances significantly change, somewhere down the line. A trust is preferable in large assets positions because it gets assets to beneficiaries much faster. These documents will save your life, or potentially save yourself countless months of suffering, or longer, if you have thought of this ahead of any sad event, like recently, Luke Perry, dead at 52. Update your papers when major life events occur, like a wedding, perhaps engagement, adoption, birth, etc. The people you love will know for certain how much you loved them by doing this ahead.
  11. Take all recommended vaccinations, when they are available, and are applicable to your life stage. To not do so is to say that you don’t care about your child’s safety and health, as well as the public at large, via herd immunity. Will you care when you see children again in wheelchairs, due to polio resurgence? (As an example).
  12. Save for retirement, if possible to do. You are hereby advised that in the USA Social Security will be insufficient to even likely cover your rent/mortgage, as inflation is a known factor over time. And about half of people will be forced to retire before they intend to, because of health reasons. Try not to be one of them, but be prepared ahead. Save early and often. Also, keep in mind that people are living longer than ever in this country, as a whole, so count on living a good long time after you retire, and calculate with a financial adviser how to manage your living standard accordingly.
  13. If you are apt to run out of money before long, well, you might opt for a strategy of whoop it up, eat whatever you want, without cares, avoid exercise, drink, smoke, do drugs, have unprotected sex with strangers or go play in traffic…take your pick, and your poison. You don’t want to wind up dead in the subway after all, or cold, in snow, naked…Or you could go to one of our red Southern states, get a handgun, and do what comes naturally…Some of the loonies have done that too, with no holds barred. 2nd Amendment enshrined forever in this country.
  14. Be a good parent, grandparent, husband/wife, brother/sister, son/daughter, friend, cousin, aunt/uncle, etc. These are the most important people in your life, in one way or another. Honor that, and forgive, before it is too late, if that is possible to do. The hurts we hand out to each other are what nightmares are made of. “Love one another, as I have loved you.”- Jesus. Great advice.
  15. And for Heaven’s sake, do wear a bra, or a jockstrap. I don’t think gravity is leaving us any time soon. We want to be upright in all ways!

Things Not to Do

  1. Get involved with murderers
  2. Automatically trust strangers
  3. Invite strangers, from bars or otherwise, to your hotel room or apartment, 4 sex
  4. Walk naked in front of your smart TV, which can see and hear u, potentially broadcasting to others, without your knowledge or consent.
  5. Also, be aware of your Echo device, Google Home, etc. They can also hear u.
  6. Take $ for nefarious schemes, that the police will look askance at.
  7. Climb tall building, neither in a single bound, nor without permits.
  8. Eat dairy excessively, when lactose intolerant, even w lactase supplements. Results not pretty. Also goes 4 gluten intolerance. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
  9. Stay w someone as a partner or spouse, when it is clear that u r better off without them, than with them. Life is too short 4 that. And u will harm the children also by staying, if u have those. Like Shatner said: “Get a life!” Really.
  10. Be desperate. Assume the order of the Universe is that u will get what is coming to u, by karma. Your destiny is written, so it shall be done.
  11. Stay sick in your bubble. Avoid others, get depressed, do nothing, wait out your life sentence in home confinement. Such is how mass murderers r made.
  12. Post sensitive info on any social media platform. Upload sexting and the like to the Cloud. It will prevent your future happiness.
  13. Get addicted to any substance, sexting, sending naked pix, especially underage, which is a crime already. Be aware of the Cloud sharing of your cell phone.
  14. Avoid excessive usage of cell phones and computers, PlayStations, Xboxes, tablets, etc. We r making a generation of connected zombies, who do not drive, watching the road. They text, watch every single minute, addicted, when at a traffic light…this portends future accidents, both serious and fatal, on the road, increasing.
  15. The rules have changed 4 everyone. Learn them. “Do. Not do not. There is no try.” -Yoda, Jedi Master, creation of George Lucas. Just a paraphrase here, but u get the idea. Learn the future, which is now.
  16. And lastly, if u have a Narcissistic Personality, do us all a favor by staying out of both parenthood and politics. U haven’t the skin 4 these jobs, and the results might be calamitous, or funny, if u r inclined to see it as a Comedy of Errors…your child is NOT a Mini-Me, after all, and will never be one. Not entirely anyway.

Economic Discrimination

Pray for the less fortunate: I just read of 3 houses that were consumed by fire in my old neighborhood. 3 persons injured. I gasped at the news of a mansion on fire in Colt’s Neck, New Jersey, because that is where Bruce Springsteen lives! 4 persons dead there, 2 of them children. I go through a litany of people and intentions nightly, as I pray in bed, unable to kneel anymore, reminding myself that while women are likely to live longer than men, we are also statistically more likely to become disabled. If I had a choice, I’d choose sudden death, cardiac, because men have the edge on us all through life. Power, no need to wear high heels, makeup, dressing to impress, sexiness is our currency. If we don’t have that, and the look of youth, what use are we? Men don’t have to conform to that standard. They can come on national TV wearing an undershirt, like Simon Cowell does! And get away with that, because he looks like he does, and is rich and famous. Cocksure they are! They keep the cherries for themselves, engaging in a society wide economic terrorism, which keeps women most often in their place, because money is power. And women routinely are undervalued with the studied rate of 72 cents to every dollar a white man earns, at jobs that are more plums, and even when a woman takes on more, and more, in duties, in county government, she is still undervalued, when she shows what she has done, and still, paltry raises, like 1% per year, which lags inflation, which means you get poorer over time…and so does her family. Everyone around her suffers as she is undervalued, and can’t get the things that improve her life, like a fancy gym membership, with 1 on 1 boxing classes, that are directly responsible for an over 100 lb weight loss, as part of a regimen to overcome, and have a good life.

They take extra jobs, like fire inspector, doing more hours, saving the county oodles of budgetary dollars, but when it comes time to reward her for her vigilance and so much more, they say she is in the union, even though she is not. She doesn’t pay dues anymore, and has been let go from that yoke. Being in the union keeps her salary artificially low. She is management, but they won”t give her that title, or the salary commensurate with the new rank. They piss me off, because she is the best they have ever had!!! And they are throwing her away, as so much unnecessary detritus, basically unvalued, and admitted by some, because she is a woman, and sexism is rife in middle America.

When you unvalue someone’s work and sacrifice, you are declaring power over less fortunate people, and the men by extension put more pressure on themselves to perform, to be breadwinners, to drop dead faster, from high stress, because they didn’t want women to be equal. They cut off their noses to spite their faces! Makes some real sense, right? Go out on top, with power, a smile on your corpse face, because when you unvalued the women, you also unvalued yourself. And your families all suffer, collectively, when women don’t get what they are worth. Time for this travesty to STOP! 

“Get a life” like William Shatner said, re Trekkers, long ago. But this means treating us all equally, no matter if man, woman, black, white, Asian, Latino, LGBTQ, young, old, disabled or not, as long as the work is still doable with reasonable accommodations, wearing a long beard, shorts, skirts, sandals, work boots, makeup or not…these are not the criteria by which we consent to be judged!!! Judge us simply on whether we are adding value to your enterprise, and deserve to be rewarded thus.

I was also a victim, in my work life. Over many years, of a working lifetime, with suppressed wages, which impacts Social Security later, contributing to senior years poverty for many, as SS is the only source of retirement income, for so many. Only because my mom was married to my dad for over 10 years, she was able to collect his much higher SS rate, when he died, which covered the loss of alimony, upon his death. And even then, I had to take in my mom, because the money ran out, and was never enough. And that is part of why I live alone today, paying for this societal disgrace, with my very life. Poverty of women continues through the generations. STOP NOW!!!! 

The Tapestry of Social Media/Other Ways

Well, presently a disconnect exists in civilization, all because of the ubiquity of the cell phone, in Western society. We are ignoring the real life, in the flesh, by virtue of the fascination of the pocket internet. Even when we dine, or cross the street, or perilously drive, our noses are in our phones! How many deaths have to happen to show that we need to FOCUS on the road, or even the person in front of us??

 

Even I am guilty, while I rail against it. My car is paired to my phone, so calls incoming ring in the car, and even messages click on my dash. I choose to ignore the messages until I am parked, but still….I have sent photos to friends right in front of myself, usually with an intro text. You might excuse that, because sending a pic is different than chattering, but it feels artificial somehow, because the person is right there! Couldn’t we just show the pic and see if the person likes it, before sending it off?

 

Similarly, my life is not my Facebook posting. I deliberately post almost exclusively the good stuff, ignoring the mundane or the sad stuff, or the private news, or stuff about others. I get permission first before posting likenesses, like pix, or anything that is personal to another person. I am most certainly NOT only a traveling photographer, even though that is part of what I am now, but I am sharing the good because I don’t want anyone’s pity. I am striving for balance in my life, where the pendulum is swinging in the right direction, because for too long it has swung negatively. Even now, there is much negative, but I do not share that. Only close friends know my real life, as it should be.

I am not alone in posting happy episodes on social media. Many people announce engagements, weddings, births, travels and anniversaries on Facebook. Is that the totality of our lives? Clearly not. I adapt the best I can to my life’s circumstances. So do not envy me, by my FB profile or postings, because it’s not the whole story.

I give thanks every day for what I do have however, and try to bring comfort, and joy even to those who matter to me the most. I may even surprise myself by living longer than I intimate to those close beings, simply because my capacity for joy is still intact! And I have had some of that, even occasionally documented in pictures! I give thanks every day, and urge everyone to do good for their families, not harming anyone close to you, because what you do to those people will follow your own fate.

I have a close friend whose husband is very very sick, and is now going to the Mayo Clinic. I continue to pray for that family, because this illness affects the other people in the household. And so, it has ripples in the stream of life, for so many…because we are all a tapestry, a gorgeous tapestry of humanity, interwoven, like an Amish quilt, so tenderly woven by hand, over many months and years. What I do for them is merely love given, and an act of God, because this is His will. That we help those in need, whenever we can. My life purpose is to simply be here as a helpmate to my circle. And I am content with that role.

So am I only a blogger with poetry and pictures? Well, no. And neither will all of you be simply categorized as an occupation. WE ARE ALL SO MUCH MORE! Our only need is to communicate what is expedient to our tapestry of life, our community.