It just struck me in the shower recently that we seem to be living in two distinctively different worlds today that are weirdly occupying the same space in time. That phenomenon is not terribly unusual in the overall scheme of things, but the intensity of it is almost freakish now. The “Us vs Them” mentality seems to have caused a VERY deep chasm between too many of us. That is what this unusually long post a about.
This phenomenon has several different faces. Let’s look at some of them.
Obviously the question in the title above is what this post is all about. Here is the definition of social media from Wikipedia. The biggies are obviouslly Facebook,Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, with many other a little further down the line.
In my generation most of us got married soon after high school or at least college. But I see from the recent New Yorks Times column by Tara Parker-Pope that as usual Millennials have taken a different path, a better path in my opinion.
I can still remember when I visited the 1964 New York World’s Fair on my high school senior trip. It was a mesmerizing place unlike anything I had seen before. I especially remember the General Motors “Futurama” exhibit. It was about looking forward to the year 2000. I couldn’t imagine that far ahead, I would be an old man by then instead of a kid just finishing high school.
Capitalism in America demands that we buy more and more stuff each year. Without that insatiable drive we simply couldn’t grow as a society today. I think that needs to be basically changed to match the successes of the rest of the world. Instead of requiring us to buy more this year that last, maybe we should spend it on our infrastructure or, here’s a wild thought, maybe making healthcare a right instead of a privilege! Ok, enought soapboxing for now, let’s get back to the point of this post.
Unconditional love is something I probably will never totally understand. I have problems even with the basic idea of love, let alone having it with no conditions attached, but even with that being the case, that is the main topic of today’s post. Let’s start with a more general discussion of trying to understand the perplexity of unconditional love, and then I will talk about it at a personal level.
In reality, this picture is more real than augmented. One of the things I really loved about Canada’s national capital is the reflection of the old on the new. That is, glass buildings next to the historical structures. It makes for some very interesting shots.
On a side note, when I renamed this “Special Project” to Augmented realities I didn’t know that that was already a defined term.
I know the general impression of the last post probably was that I am not very happy with my marriage of 33 years. While that is true to a degree, I don’t really regret the choices I made in life. I take my vows seriously and would not think about quitting my marriage, especially now. Even though we might not agree on things, we simply need each during these final years.
I think the crux of Monday’s post was that I was looking at today’s world and whether I would still marry if I were a 2019 college graduate just entering my adult life. Stepping out of context a little bit, one of my core life preoccupations is to imagine what things would be like if… I have been doing that since I was a very young man. I seem to equally look back and forwards with these dreams.
It seems that the 21st century is being geared primarily for those who don’t choose marriage as their life goal. Let’s face it, many young people today are finding that wedded bliss is just not for them. One of those was someone I got to know in the critical care unit two years ago after my SDH emergency brain surgery. Here is what I said about her on a March 12, 2017 post.
Sam, short for Samantha, was my critical care daytime RN for the two days I was in that part of the hospital. We spent quite a bit of time together and I felt I got to know her pretty well. She is a “traveling RN”, that is she moves around the country working in one hospital then another. Her last stint was in Alaska. She works three twelve hour shifts in the CCU and then has the rest of the week off to explore. She is a millennial who shuns high heels and makeup but has a very natural beauty that quickly shines through. She says she wants to be known for what she does, not what she puts on her body. With people like her in charge of the future of our country, I feel confident that it is in good hands indeed. I met a kindred spirit in Sam those two days but she was not the only one.
It seems that Sam’s generation has found a freedom that my generation only dreamed about in a distant corner of our minds. For us it was all about getting that job and staying on it for 30 years to get a pension and then living the life we are free to choose. We only dreamed of having the kind of experience that Sam has.
Today’s working world is much more free flowing than mine was. There are no lifetime pensions anymore to even begin to entice you to stay with a job you might not enjoy. As long as you have the education and qualification, you can often get an internship at a very reduced pay to prove yourself to the employer. Then after three months or so, you can choose whether you want to work for that employer or seek another opportunity. There so so many opportunities opening up in new fields that you could try.
Taking sabbaticals is also becoming common. Take a job for a few years and when that contract expires take a long vacation before you look for your next opportunity. To those who are not prepared for the 21st century job market “contract employment” is a negative thing. But for those ever increasing adventurers out there, it provide the the natural break to skip work and just live you life for a year or two at a time. You no longer have to define yourself almost totally by what you do to earn an income.
Many 21st century young folks have also pretty much discounted home ownership. They just don’t see themselves as being locked down to one place. If they do buy instead of rent, they choose and affordable “tiny house” of 400 square feet or less that is easily resaleable or moved.
Many have come to the belief that if you are not destined for the parenthood mold then don’t get married.
Plainly speaking, I am envious of those who will live their lives in the 21st century
For the 21st century it is better to be single than married. It’s as plain as that as far as I am concerned. If I could live my life again, this time in the 21st century, I would definitely do things differently this time around. But as I said, I don’t regret the choices I made in life but I kinda wish some of today’s option had been presented to me.
I am going to get a little personal and a lot philosophical with this post . It is about the state of marriage and my personal experiences with it. First of all I was forty years old when I got married for the first and only time. During those years, I thought I was destined to be a “single” guy all my life. My Aspie traits were just not conducive to the dating scene, so about this time I was pretty much done with dating. Too many first or second dates only. There was just too much frustration involved in the whole process.
I was a on-again/off-again Catholic during those years, who remembered the words of St. Paul about marriage. He basically said “get married if you must, but it is better to remain single.” It had something about a wife taking time away from praising the Lord. I took those words on faith and convinced myself I was better off without a spouse.
I also read the statistics that almost a third of marriages are broken within five years. My two brothers had already been married twice, so I joked that my family had used up all the allowed marriages.
But as often happens, just when I resolved to never marry it hit me in the face. My future wife asked me out on a date to a 1985 company Christmas party and we were married the following April. That four month stretch was very surreal. It was as if someone else was occupying my body.
Skipping forward thirty-three years, I ask myself if I would do the same thing?
But before I give you my answer to that I want to tell you that my Aspie traits demand that I be brutally honest and that fact seem to be taking charge of me in these senior years. Brutal honesty has gotten me in trouble more times than I can remember. So, my honest answer to the above question is:
I don’t know…
One of the difficulties with marriage that last for a long term is that the two people often grow apart in significantly ways. In some ways that makes marriage feel like a stifling thing, especially in our retirement years.
One person loves to travel and the other hates it.
One person loves philosophical discussions and the other thinks all that is baloney.
One person loves change and the other embraces stasis.
Even many of the once common interests gradually disappear.
How do you maintain a joyful life given those differences? Yes, we had a lot of pleasant shared experiences, but does that tilt the scale?
But then I also look back and wonder if I would have survived this long without someone to help me cope with the difficulties in life. If I had gone deaf alone would I have fallen deeply into depression and maybe suffered the consequences of that dreadful condition. I think the reasons for this post is because of a recent suicide of a nephew in his early forties. He seemed to constantly be trying to find himself and just couldn’t accomplish that. Would that have been me thirty years ago? I really don’t know.
Of course there have been many good times in these thirty-three years. Sometimes it is too easy to forget that when difficulties or differences arise. I know that the divorce rate among seniors is the highest of most any other age group. I kinda think it is mainly because of the two people growing apart.
I will start off this post with my decision to rename “Alternate Reflections” to “Augmented Realities”. If you have been around RJsCorner much you know that I am a wordsmith. I am constantly searching for the “right” words to express what I am saying. Augmented realities seems to better describe what I have in mind for these type posts.
Now don’t confuse this new title with “Alternate Truths” as promoted by the lies of the current Oval Office Occupant. All the pictures here are from actual photos I have taken. But then I use one of my numerous photo editing apps to give them a different twist.
Browsing my 30,000 photos to find candidates brings back a lot of memories of past adventures, and using these very artistic tools seems to satisfy my creative urge for at least the time being. Someday I may try to do all this stuff from scratch like a real artist would.
Enough talk, let’ get to the subject at hand…
One of my favorite retirement vacations was a month long visit to our northern neighbors. The people there just seem so friendly and interesting. The core of the trip was along the St. Lawerence Seaway, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The picture for this Augmented Reality post was taken on the St. Lawrence River at sunrise one morning. I am working on a “Painting in Words” post about the story behind the picture. But, I just couldn’t wait to show you the picture.
I’m going to start this post out with all you newbie retirees or soon to be retirees in mind but then finish it ups with some insights I have found for all us old-timers as well. I aim to cover the whole spectrum during my “seeking a joyous journey” project. 🙂
Having a joyous journey doesn’t mean your life is obstacle free.
In fact, it is more likely the opposite. I know I, and I suspect many other seniors, get depressed when we visit a typical retirement blog on the internet. Almost all of them are about the great time the blogger has experienced. They travel to many foreign places and tell you how mystical they are. They tell you about how strong and supportive their families are. They often bring up their spouses as those who support and agree with them 100%. Life is just great! Life is joyous!
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am struggling with what I want RJsCorner to look like in its post-political life. I know I want to boycott things that are keeping me from having a more joyous life. I know that is primarily the current Oval Office occupant and the poisonous atmosphere he has strewn across the political landscape.
But I don’t want RJsCorner to turn too “FLUFFY”
When it does that it, at least in my mind, has lost its purpose, and probably viewership. I am just not a “feel-good” type guy. That seems too shallow for my persona. I need to be true to myself. I question everything, that is who I am and that should be the primary emphasis of posts on my corner.
My new list of Special Projects as shown in the header above is meant to add depth to my corner, but never replace my “Having My Say”, I need to keep that fact in mind as I go forward here. I must seek my joyous journey in my own way.
I must say I am struggling with the “Painting with Words”. It is more difficult than I imagined but that just makes it more challenging and therefore more joyful. Doing artsy things with my photo portfolio via “Alternate Reflections” is very self-satisfying. And of course my decades long journey into my “Search of America” keeps me on an even keel so to speak.
Just because I have boycotted the political arena for now doesn’t mean that I can’t handle the serious stuff that challenges our world.
I need to always keep that in mind going forward. Thanks for being part of my “strategy meeting”. I promise RJsCorner will not get too fluffy. There are too many of those sites around today as it is.
I don’t know why I have these times when so much flashes across my brain? The thoughts come and go quickly unless I write them down. Getting down to it, I think one of the primary reasons the world is in such a turmoil has to do with neighborhoods.
For us in the U.S. it is about being bogged down in the Middle East. We have made enemies in pretty much every country in that region for one reason or another. Let’s face it, our nation building of the 21st century is an abject failure. When will we ever learn.
Let’s stick to our neighborhood instead of traipsing to the other side of the world to find “things to fix”.
Yeah, I know oil was the primary reason we got so engulfed, pun intended, in that area of the world. But for the most part our critical dependence on their oil is, or will soon be, a thing of the past. Thankfully, we are finding other means for energy we need as a nation.
By sticking to our neighborhood I mean let’s at least stay in this hemisphere. If we had learned this lesson by now, I’m pretty sure our supposed immigration problem would be non-existent. As is the case for the rest of the world immigration is primarily caused by citizens of of neighboring countries trying to escape the tyranny of a takeover government. Let’s worry about Venezuela and forget about Iraq.
Looking at an even higher level view of this stuff, The United Nations was a great idea when it was being conceived almost a hundred years ago now. It was meant as a non-military way to deal with rogue nations and the popup dictators that caused people to flee the country of their birth. One of the major problems with the UN is that there is just too much cultural differences from one region of the world to another. The predominantly Muslim countries see things very fundamentally different than western democracies.
Forward progress in the UN would be to break it up. Let’s have an Eastern Hemisphere UN and a Western Hemisphere UN and maybe even an Asia UN. Each would have a better chance of influencing matters that now cause us to go to war with each other.
I know, I know, there are alot of associated problems with even this solution. But, I just think they would be more manageable if we stuck to our own neighborhood.
For this joyous journey post I am going to tell you another secret. I know I might be getting myself in trouble here giving you all my secrets too early and not have more to share later. But personally I don’t think that will ever happen. 🙂
The foundation of this Alternate Reflections post is a photo from my recent visit to the Vincennes Rendezvous. He was part of a drum and fiffe corp. Why I singled him out here is because the drum was almost as big as he was. But, when he struck it with fury even I could hear (or at least feel) it.
Here is to you my friend. I look forward to seeing you again if a few years. Maybe by then you will have grown to oversize the drum you proudly play.