Category Archives: Aging

A few Thoughts on Retirement

I am doing my 20’s for the third time so I am getting closer to “that age” for retirement. In my opinion, retirement is a thing that died out with pensions and my parent’s generation. I know, not the entire generation is gone. My mother is the last in my family from her generation. It is the Baby Boomers who are now retiring. Or, trying to. I think the word may, one day, fall into disuse being categorized by the dictionary as archaic.

I do not feel I will ever stop working unless I drop by death, stroke, heart-failure, or some other malaise that ties me down. It’s just not in my DNA. I get restless if I don’t have a job. But, I do keep it real….I’m strictly a part-timer and I keep my calendar open for long vacations. I still have to visit the Isle of Man, New Zealand, Australia, and most of Europe. Visiting farmer’s markets in every state? Now THAT’S a great idea!!

What does retirement look like for you?

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This post inspired by a friend of mine who posted her thoughts on retirement. I ended up writing a reply that was nearly as long as her post.

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A Puzzle

It is funny how some people fit into life just perfectly from the day they are born until they are taken away in a fine pine box. They are like puzzle pieces that have the perfect shape, and colors that fit just where they are supposed to.  They are able to see themselves and their lives stretch out before them and with so many possibilities they find their place in the puzzle early on.

There was a man I once knew who attended college to learn an entirely new language then spent his life creating things from this language. It is fascinating to see how a series of odd numbers, letters, and symbols could be strung together and, once completed, could come to life and help a scientist solve a theory, or a student to write a term paper. He continued to expand his knowledge through books, seminars, and real time learning. He problem solved his way through his career and, in the end, found himself at the pinnacle. He was no longer the student of this language, but the master and teacher of it.

On the other hand, I never quite fit anywhere and found myself wandering through my life flitting from place to place and job to job. I did the obligatory fast food gigs and waitress jobs that are needed to be able to say on an application, “Hey, I really do have experience and I’m actually good at any task that is given to me. Please hire me.” Money was not an issue for me and found that the less money I earned the easier it was to find a job.

From one little job to another I learned many, many things, but never really mastered any one of them. I rebuilt car engines, repaired jet planes, and built mouse traps. I completed four years of college and spent twelve years in the photography industry (which, as it turned out, to be my longest stretch in any one career). I designed jewelry, sold skin care treatments, and made the best chocolate candies your mouth could ever experience. I wrote stories, painted landscapes, and sculpted minor monsters that never terrorized any hamlet or town.

I spent a lifetime doing all of these things and find myself here in this small town doing yet another minor task in a world that is filled with so many major possibilities. I long to turn the clock back so I might find that one thing that I could do for all my days. To fit just right in a jigsaw puzzle. There are those pieces that, with just an arm and a leg, hold two large parts of the puzzle together, or the one that fills part of the edge holding the rest in place. A jigsaw puzzle is what I am a part of and I know that in the end, I will be the final piece of the puzzle. The one piece that has been tested and tried in every place of the puzzle, never quite fitting anywhere, never quite the right shape or color. And, when that last piece is found, and it is held carefully at just the right position, and slid down with a final gentle tap, the puzzle will be complete. All of the pieces would have found their place and with that final piece I will finally find my place. Then, and only then, will I die.

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Filed under Aging, Arbitrary Thoughts, Dreaming

It Sucks!

If you are under 40 you may want to stop reading now as you may not “get it” yet.  If you are over 40 then read on and feel free to nod anytime you hear something familiar.  Aging sucks!  There it is.  Bold as brass and hanging out there for the world to see.  If you are still in your youth, you too will get older and get those cranky moments in the aging process.

The first thing to go is eyesight.  You might be one of those lucky few who wore glasses your entire life and are now over 40 and no longer need them.  Most likely you are in the different group who either wore glasses all these years and need thicker ones, or you are now in glasses for the first time.  Your eye doctor may have said to you, “I’ll see you when you’re forty.”  You, in your humble opinion, may have begged to differ and told him/her that you, in fact, won’t ever be back.  Luck went to those who actually made it to 45 before having to learn the art of glasses care.

Next on the aging agenda is the digestion tract.  If you ever experienced Aunt Martha’s ability to clear a room then you are in for some fun.  You too will have this auspicious ability.  You will soon discover that the methane you produce will increase with foods you never imagined would create such an aroma.  Of course, your first experience will be at your boss’ house as you celebrate that promotion you worked your entire career for.  This is all capped with the fact that everything that goes in your mouth comes back out in a whole new manner of gurgles, grunts, groans, and consistency.  Oh yes, it is joyous to age.

Before you get out of bed every morning you  may wonder what will hurt today.  As you lay there, looking at the ceiling at sunrise (no, you won’t sleep until noon on Saturday anymore), your first thoughts may be, “Will I be able to stand up?  Will it be my feet or back today?  Yesterday it was my shoulder so hopefully that worked itself out.  The day before was my neck, and the day before that….hmmm, I don’t remember.”  Your body will betray you at every possible opportunity so be prepared with a cabinet filled with your favorite pain reliever.

Speaking of not remembering….you will be noun challenged before you know it, and soon after, your short term memory will become shorter.  The day you walk into a room and wonder what the heck you are doing there is the first day, in a long sequence of days, that you will be lost in your own house.  Try explaining to someone where you left that whatchamacallit without having to stop and figure out how to get to the upstairs bathroom and open that thingie above the, “Oh hell, I don’t remember what it’s called!”  Instead you just don’t go there in the first place.  They didn’t really need it anyway and now you can’t remember what you were talking about.

For women, there is a whole set of problems specially designed to make aging even better.  Let’s have some hot flashes ALL NIGHT LONG!  Gentlemen, just so you might have a hint on what this feels like, (if you have an ancient and tender stomach you might want to skip down to the next paragraph) let me take a moment to enlighten you on what a hot flash feels like.  You know that hot, queezy, ichy feeling you get when you have the stomach flue?  It’s the part right after that; when you have a sudden flash of heat on your brow, your body temperature jumps at least 50 degrees and you immediately lose the contents of your stomach.  Take that hot feeling and make it last 5-15 minutes and have it occur every 1-4 hours every day 24 hours a day!  For some ladies this goes on for YEARS.  OK guys, don’t throw that hormone replacements out there thinking all women should take them.  Remember, those things cause cancer.  Today’s doctors are telling women, “Just tough it out…it won’t last that long.”  You got it….male doctor.

Anyone who is under 40, and actually read this tirade on aging, please note that it all isn’t all gloom and doom.  Excersise (that dirty little word) is a perfect weapon against many of the aches and pains that will plague you, along with a good diet (sorry, the methane will still be amazing).  The best medicine for aging is to know it’s going to happen sooner or later.  Go into those Golden Years with a happy heart, a daily dose of humor, topped with a slathering of understanding.  Although there are a whole new set of experiences to have as you age, you will be at the height of your life.  Even if your body is all brass underneath, you can always paint the outside in gold and no one will be all the wiser.

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