Ever ask yourself why there’s so much bullying and hatred in the world today? Social media has a great deal to do with it but it can only manifest and spread with the help of those participating in it.
I remember a time when you’d happily share good news with friends and family through a phone call or a mailed letter. Sadly, now people seem to prefer criticizing and making fun of others’ news because so much of it is put out there with no regard for personal responsibility or accountability.
We try to teach our children about respect for elders but all they see around them – especially from politicians, clergy, teachers and coaches – is a growing epidemic of name calling, physical and emotional abuse and blatant disrespect.
No one, regardless of his/her bloodline, was born into this world any better or more deserving than another.
It is not up to us to judge but, rather, to be the very best we can be. It’s well past time to concern ourselves with our own wellbeing and to let others just be themselves!
A diamond is forever – with divorce rates up, is that still true?
A dog is man’s best friend – I love dogs as much as the next person but shouldn’t your spouse be your BF?
A skeleton in the closet – let’s hope that isn’t a literal meaning.
A watched pot never boils – a quaint expression but, obviously, untrue.
I understand and appreciate the feeling cited above. But we cannot live fortune cookie lives. We can’t possibly take a few nice words (written on a small, folded piece of paper and shoved inside a dessert) seriously. We hear about tragedy and suffering on the news all day long. We see injustice and cruelty all around us. Sure, it’d be great to live in a world wearing rose-colored glasses but, eventually, reality will cross our path and bite us in the butt.
So, by all means, think positively and be considerate of those around you. But know that, against our better judgment, words CAN sometimes hurt!
Sunday morning I decided to take the train into NYC to visit my boys. What a mistake. Not the visit but the method of transportation at that particular day and time. I didn’t realize it was a Yankees-home-game and that suburban families from upstate NY would be making the long journey with me. And I didn’t even bring headphones…
Toddlers cried incessantly and crawled all over the seats until their indulgent parents gave them their very expensive phones to play with… Men, way too old to still be wearing the names of other grown men on their Yankees jerseys and t-shirts, strutted around the aisles ‘replaying’ past Yankees highlights.
Look, I have nothing against America’s favorite pastime. I think it’s an overpriced day out but to each their own (the train ticket price alone was staggering for these families and I can only assume the stadium ticket price was well beyond my monthly car payment).
But where was the ‘old time’ fun? I remember going to games with my parents and older brother. It didn’t bankrupt us and we needn’t bring our own food from home because it was mostly affordable. And actually keeping score was a skill we perfected after repeated attendance and something that made us feel like a part of the entire ballgame experience.
Somewhere along the lines the rules changed. Prices skyrocketed and manners plummeted. I wouldn’t bring a young child to a game today – they’d hear foul (pun intended) language; reek of warm, spilled beer and be exposed to a world of entitlement, rudeness and bad sportsmanship.
But, hey, how else will they learn how to act on their own school turf?!
There’s nothing wrong with getting older. It’s almost as if the ‘over 65’ crowd is ‘the new normal.’ Aches and pains aside, more people than ever before are living into their eighties, their nineties and even living long enough to hear Willard Scott read their names (not as part of a memoriam but) on a Smuckers jar.
One noble aspect about aging is that it doesn’t discriminate – all races and genders, if they’re lucky, can be members of this inclusive club. The only rule is that you do it right… the living, that is, not the dying.
Old people are constantly portrayed as those suffering from incontinence, heart disease, arthritis and memory loss. They’re seen as cranky, unattractive, frail and forgetful. The fact of the matter is, today’s elders are actually computer literate, taking classes, starting new jobs and finding ways to improve their lives.
It’s no longer enough to just sit back and enjoy your retirement. You must keep an open mind and not be afraid to fail. You have to be open to discovery and appreciate life – especially knowing that your time may be limited.
Always remember this… You don’t get to choose how you’ll die but you sure can choose how you’ll live!
We are always waiting for something – a check to arrive in the mail; a parking spot to materialize; a job to magically fall in our lap. We sometimes spend more hours waiting for things to happen than we do actually livingour lives.
Here is a small sample of a daily ‘self-induced’ holding pattern:
Waiting to take the perfect selfie
Waiting to win the lottery
Waiting for Ed McMahon to show up on the doorstep (well, maybe 30 years ago)
Waiting for Godot
You might laugh at the absurdity of listing the well-known play but, really, isn’t that what we all do? We have our ideas and our opinions but most of us never act on them – deciding, rather, to just discuss them, over and over again, with anyone and everyone who is unfortunate enough to be within earshot.
With all the tragedy going on in the world today, we offer prayers, we speak the names of the victims, we color our monuments with their flags but, really, we do nothing. The truth of the matter is, no matter how upbeat or positive we try to be, we’re always just waiting for that other shoe to drop!
They tell us: “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Nobody can predict what tomorrow will bring so why procrastinate? I wonder how many people never got a chance to view a sunset or see the leaves change or watch the tide come in?
These aren’t earth-shattering events and most of us probably take them for granted. How many of us, do you suppose, actually stop and look up at a full moon or count the stars up in the sky? We’re always in such a rush. Even the biggest moments of our lives – weddings, births, graduations – they’re usually captured on film, with our eyes behind the lens of a camera instead of on the subject at hand in that crucial moment.
In life, there are rarely second chances. Do overs are something we play at as children. They don’t really exist. As they say: “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Convincing yourself or others that you’ll get around to doing something ‘next year’ is a bet you should not be willing to take. Because you just never know…!
Once a year on Thanksgiving, we sit around a large table filled with an abundance of food. I won’t even bother mentioning how gluttonous that is. But what I’d like to focus on is the custom of giving thanks. It’s not a custom in every home and it shouldn’t only happen once a year. But it usually does. And it goes something like this:
I’m thankful for…
But what we’re really thinking is:
I’m thankful for…
The big screen tv we’re about to watch the football game on
The yelling and screaming around the table that is ‘expected’ and somehow okay on the holidays
The weight I will enjoy putting on today because I can always go back to dieting tomorrow
Like most holidays, we’ve lost sight of their true meaning. They’ve become commercialized, money-oriented and largely NOT having much at all to do with why we’re supposed to be gathering to celebrate in the first place. One day observances have now stretched into months-long events. Between over-advertising and decorations, it’s all a bit nauseating. And, instead of spending ‘that’ special day with friends and family, we’re more apt to spend it out shopping for the next ‘big’ day.
So, what’s the solution? I’m not sure there is one. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate canned goods at any number of locations to ease your conscience. But, at the end of the day, your thanks ‘giving’ is really a self-giving of yet another year of excess!
In my community, I recently saw a sign posted that offered a class in defensive driving for seniors. My initial reaction was that it was a bit of an oxymoron. After all, more people today are living longer lives and driving vehicles long after they really should be. No offense to anyone whose faculties are still intact but there are some statistically accurate points that need to be addressed.
Reflexes slow down as a person ages. There’s no disgrace in that fact but that doesn’t mean that you can react with the same speed and accuracy you once did. Your eyesight is less sharp and that, added to slower reflexes, is more of a menace when faced with a sudden oncoming obstacle. Even though you’ve clocked an impressive amount of years (even successfully) behind the wheel does not guarantee you immunity from error – both in judgment and in action.
So, next time I see a senior driving over the speed limit, or over the center line, or over my shoulder as I’m walking, I will secretly hope they attended that driver’s training class but will, nonetheless, give them a very wide berth!