Sunday, February 26, 2012

Get out the sledgehammer......

Assisted living centers.

Nursing homes.

Clunky plastic shoes.

Unending doctors' visits.

Arid, sexless unions.

Steel gray hair.

Golf carts parked in the carport.

Rocking chairs.

Ticking clocks in the silence instead of rock and roll at full volume.

                  Do you have the visual yet? Go ahead....I'll wait.

Now that you have it, destroy it! With a sledgehammer if you must.

Apparently my subconscious had that visual in place for decades, just biding its time until the clock ticked over to age 60 for me a few years ago. I didn't realize that I had that perception of life after that particular age, but based on my reaction when the calendar flipped over to December 28 a few years ago, that is exactly what I thought.

I was OLD. Life was essentially over for me. I was depressed for months that year. And I know that most people under the age of about 50 have that same perception. If  you don't believe me, just ask them at what age they will be "old." I bet that most of them say 60.

With that, they think life will consist of the list I provided above, with the essence of existence sucked right out of them. 

Instead I find vibrant people who not only refuse to buy into that stereotype, they are secretly amused by it. They don't have to prove anything to anyone, and they know it. 

I know it now.

And then the fun began.....just ask me about it. I'll be glad to tell you!

The old are in a second childhood.


Monday, February 20, 2012

I can but I don't want to......

I can hit a softball pretty good.

I can shoot a basketball and get it near the net at least.

I can organize and pull off an event, from a parent's sports meeting to a church social and everyone will have a great time.

I can park outside a VERY large discount store that sounds like an amusement park and walk all the way to the back to buy, well, whatever they sell back there in the mists.

But I don't want to.

And by the time one reaches my age, we have the right to say that. No excuses, no diversionary tactics, no verbal deflections. Simply, "I don't want to do that."

We no longer have much to prove to others, or, perhaps more importantly, to ourselves. I know my strengths, and I got to be a master at them. Sometimes I still even enjoy participating in the activity once it starts, but the planning, the internal stress, the snafus that always happen, I don't miss those at all.

So, I step aside and let the younger folks knock themselves out. I sit in my hot tub, or go dancing, or sit on the dock and watch the clouds pass by overhead in the sky. I'll be glad to offer my advice, if I am asked, but other than that, I have better things to do.....or not. The choice is mine.

I also shop at stores that only park about 20 vehicles.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My name is Deborah and I'm an addict.....

I'm a Facebook junkie. Who would have thought, especially for someone who isn't 20 any more? I get up in the morning, turn on my computer on the way to the coffee pot and then spend the next 30 minutes catching up with all my "friends" and their lives. At least as much of their lives as they want hundreds (thousands?) of people to know. I usually post a status update about the day ahead of me or the one just passed, and then sit back and wait for comments to my post. Or their requests for a reputable auto mechanic or plumber. Or they pass along inspirational or motivational quotes. Some great photos or unusual music. And on it goes, like an unending coffee shop conversation. Where the whole coffee shop gets involved.

It's easy to send the Facebook page up into the minimized folder as I sit down at my office desk. Every once in a while I sneak a look to see who else has signed on and what they have to add to the conversation. And heaven forbid a political topic comes up, because everyone starts weighing in with their two cents and away we go. 

I realize I'm a bit out of the norm here. My age alone, at least in the studies done about social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace (is that even still around??), indicate that most of my peers are not joining me here in these cyberspace neighborhoods. I won't bore you with statistics; let's just say that I'm closer to social security than most of you. Take my word for it.

But I have found a community on Facebook that defies what most people believe about it and similar sites. Mainstream media routinely trumpets headlines about the lack of social and relationship skills young people will have due to texting, emailing, and Facebooking. It is kind of creepy to watch a group of 20-somethings sitting together in a bar and see them all texting. To whom? (Hopefully not each other. Then we really do have  a problem.) The art of conversation might actually be taking a hit here. I'll leave that to the social scientists, though.

Yet, I have found that my network of acquaintances has actually grown and been strengthened as I follow up on former classmates (notice I didn't say "OLD"?) from high school or college, one leading to another and then another. My college roommate was friends with my first husband on Facebook, which put me back in touch with him, too. I didn't even recognize his photo. Don't know what that means, but it was a shock, anyway.

Then someone suggests someone else who has common interests and maybe some valuable contacts in the world of those interests. I have also reconnected with friends I used to work with and then we continue to stay in touch. Sometimes Facebook "friends" become real friends. I have several that I didn't know other than through my computer screen and then we got together in person, thus widening our circle in very real ways. I have some whom I have never met in person, yet feel very close to, even though that sounds kind of creepy. We share a passion for something, in my case it is usually other writers or creative types, and we commiserate, critique, and commemorate each others' work. Over time, I will probably meet some of these people in person, too. And who knows who THEY know? Networking at its best.

No, I don't own a piece of Facebook, although that will soon be a possibility. All I know is that is has widened and strengthened my own community and has added an interesting dimension of camaraderie to my life. 

Even if I am old.

The thing that we are trying to do at Facebook, is just help people connect and communicate more efficiently. Mark Zuckerberg

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Old dogs and new tricks.....

You have all heard it, too:

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

Oh, yes, you can. I'm walking proof of it, so I have no patience for others in my age group (or older) who use the statement as their default excuse for everything.

You know, the ones who say things like, "I've been this way my whole life! I can't change now." Mutter, grumble, whine........

What they really mean is that they don't WANT to change. They want everyone else to pat them on the head, either literally or figuratively, and give them a free pass to demean, moan, belittle, and complain their way through the rest of their lives.

Don't plan on it around me, that's all I can say. Although I have no definitive explanation for it, I went through one metamorphasis at age 35 that reconfigured my personality and thus, my life. I often "joke" that I learned to talk at age 35 and haven't stopped talking since.

It's not a joke. Those who have been on the receiving end of some of my verbal dissertations can attest to it, too.

Then about a year ago I morphed again, but this time I know why. It was deliberate and well-planned, although it has worked better than even I had envisioned. I was bored with myself. Life presented itself to me each day in shades of gray, the mist hovering around my head like a perpetual storm cloud just waiting to envelop me. To be honest, it didn't matter to me if I woke up the next day or not.

And then a book offered me a way out of my ennui, and I embarked on a year of new experiences that has delivered me out of the gray mist.I dance through my days, I smile all the time, and most importantly, I have taken back my life.  It's up to me to be happy.....and I am.

So, don't default around me. I have no patience for it.

Plus, I'm just having too much fun to listen to you!

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. ~Chili Davis

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Jimmy Buffett and I need to hang out. You know those people who are famous or otherwise high profile that you know in your bones would be great friends if you could just get to them? JImmy is one of those for me. (Simon Cowell, too, but that's a story for another day.....for sure.)

I was listening to one of Jimmy's greatest hits albums in my car the other day. The specific song is not important.....and I don't remember the name of it anyway.....but he was lamenting the concept of "supersizing" at movie theaters, ending with the cry "I don't want that much organization in my life!"

Me, neither. A little order is necessary, especially if one is in a professional position. But a little of that goes a very long way, to fall back on a cliche. Yes, a VERY long way.

This particular point smacked me in the face last week as I traveled out of town on business with the young woman who runs the company I work for. For a short period last year, I ached to buy an iPhone. Other expenses took higher priority, though, so I am forced to stick with my tiny, outdated cell phone.

Well, hallelujah is all I can say!  Technology has added much to our lives, there is no doubt about that. We can keep in touch in ways that were unheard of a few years ago.But my traveling companion spent the entire trip, right up until her head hit the pillow each night, answering email and text messges from customers and the office back home.

She is never off duty.

I don't want that much organization in my life. Ever. But we are allowing one another unlimited access to our lives through the use of these devices, our stress level rising every day until we each reach our personal flash points.

And I don't want to know what that point is for me. So, Jimmy and I are sitting out here by the pool with my antiquated phone silent next to me.

Plus, I bet it's five o'clock somewhere.