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 don’t think that teenage hormones have changed that much in the last fifty years. I know they were surging in me in the 1960′. But it seemed my Aspie traits overwhelmed them. I just didn’t know how to even approach a female of the species during those years let alone be sexual involved with one. The hormones are still there in teenagers today, so what’s changed?
Is the secret to lasting love to take it slow? As in really, really slow?
The millennial generation is putting that theory to the test, opting for what the biological anthropologist Helen Fisher calls “slow love.” Studies show that millennials are dating less, having less sex and marrying much later than any generation before them, and a younger generation appears to be following in their footsteps.
Of course, as usual, some of the experts say that is good and others say it is bad. The naysayers say because Millennials grew up in the social media area, they lack the ability to form 0ne-0n-one relationships and are unable to be intimate or make commitments. Others say that they are putting their sex drives at bay to accomplish more important things. Being an optimist at heart, I want to believe the latter.
If you ask me thinking with your head as well as your heart about relationships and future marriage is a good thing. Keeping everything in the perspective of achieving a joyous journey is what it should be all about. Now if we can just get all those forward looking Millennials focused on voting the most vile president out of office, they just might be able to accomplish things that us Boomer couldn’t get done.
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.
The exhibit showed us that robots would take over the mundane jobs so that it would not be necessary for any of us to work more than 20 hours per week. It would be like a four day weekend every week. Flash forward and much of what was in the exhibit was about has yet to materialize, but one thing that is quickly being realized is that robots are doing much of the work that was once necessary by humans.
But, instead of now celebrating that possible major accomplishment, many have come to fear it. They see themselves as possibly destitute and homeless because of it. They see the future as a “Mad Max” world. It is taking our jobs away from us. What a vast difference the mentality is today compared to that exhibit 50 years ago.
We will soon be at that point where we could realize the “20 hr work week”. Except for the last two and a half years, I am an optimist by nature. If our government puts the proper rules and regulations in place a 4 day weekend is certainly possible and I still have hope that that will happen. If not then the wealth imbalance will only get greater. If that doesn’t happen then the greed of Wall Street may just produce the world the fear mongers see.
A Well-Informed Electorate Is a Prerequisite for Democracy
I have let it be known many times here at RJsCorner that I believe the main reason we have survived as long as we have as a country is because of the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Their words put a firm foundations under our democracy. The Jefferson quote above may just be the most important one he gave us concerning the future of our democracy in our current days.
It has been about three months now that I have boycotted everything to do with politics. The primary reason for that boycott is the despicable person who currently occupies the Oval Office. He seems determined to destroy what Jefferson and Madison worked so hard to establish. Do I let this incompetent idiot keep my from being well-informed? NO! I think it’s time to go back into the arena with some strict rules.
The first and foremost rule is that I will not discuss anything that comes out of aforementioned person’s mouth or tweets. Secondly, I will not discuss the things he attempts to do. Nor, will I discuss the how the GOP seems determined in aiding him in his attempts to turn our democracy into an autocracy. These are the primary things that drove me toward the depression abyss that seems to surround these times.
Instead I will be concentrating on the next president and evaluating the people and their stands who seek to restore sanity to the Oval Office. Any of the 20 could do a better job than its current occupant. I wish I had a presidential candidate in the GOP to look at, but sadly that doesn’t seem likely now. There are currently 20+ candidates on the Democrat ticket that they and their stands need to be evaluated in the next eight months or so in order for us to make a well-informed choice.
In order to differentiate these discussions from the raw politics of my past rhetoric I am setting us a new category called “The Next President”. To sum it up, I have decided that I won’t throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak. We need to make sure that at least we progressives and moderates are informed when we go to the polls in the 2020 primaries. We need to make absolutely sure that we are not replacing one incompetent idiot for another.
I would love to hear from you some other possible discussions in this new arena.
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.
I have no children but I suppose most parents give unconditional love to their children. I also realize that actions of the off-spring can become so strained that even this parent/child relationship comes with conditions, sometimes serious conditions. I’ve personally seen it happen with family members and friends.
People with serious addictions often have family just give up on them. They are tired of the thefts of their money to support the addiction, but mostly they are exhausted with the emotional strain is puts on their lives. Then there are some who are raised by parents with serious behavior problems. The kids can’t wait to get out of those circumstances. I know I lost a half-sister to suicide because of a narcissist mother who couldn’t show her the love she so desperately sought.
On a spiritual level, they say that God, at least the Christian version of him, has agape love for all of us. He loves us all the same love without any conditions attached. That is a very comforting proclamation, but what about the infant who dies falling in the bathtub. How can God allow the death of that child and still say he loves the child and maybe even more seriously the parents who will agonize over that death for their entire lives.
How can God allow millions to parish due to the unimaginable cruelty of a dictator. If everything is God’s will then he must condone even these actions. I know some answer that with “God works in mysterious ways”, but does anyone really buy into that excuse? Especially if they are on the receiving end of unimaginable agony?
Getting to this on a personal Aspie focused level, is it really possible for ANYONE to have unconditional love?
From an Aspie standpoint, let’s start off with a quote from Psychology Today:
Many people with Asperger’s find emotions messy and confusing. They struggle with expressing their emotions appropriately and often come across as unemotional or uncaring. In a piece for “Psychology Today,” Asperger’s sufferer Lynne Soraya notes that people with Asperger’s have trouble with emotional regulation. They are often able to detach during a crisis situation, but might express their feelings explosively later. They often get stuck in their own heads, swimming in a pool of deep emotions that they feel powerless to express. To avoid triggering an extreme or inappropriate emotional reaction, they keep the discussion logical. They focus on the facts surrounding love rather than presenting an emotionally laden declaration filled with unknown innuendos and hidden meanings.
I can see myself in much of the description above. Strong emotions are just not who I am and I guess love is the strongest emotion there is? I know I had great empathy for my father. He struggled with low self-esteem all his life. He just had no confidence in his abilities. He, like many in his generation just didn’t show emotions to any degree. I respected him greatly. He had life circumstances that I likely would have buckled under. If I have loved anyone it was probably my father.
I care dearly for my wife and I want to do whatever I can to make her life comfortable. We, especially now, seem to disagree on almost everything but that is ok. We take care of each other when the need arises. Maybe that is love, maybe not… But real unconditional love I will NEVER understand.
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’m sure that if you checkout the richest people in about any community you will find that many own car dealerships. But I kinda think that is about to change and change drastically.
Car sales are about to be Amazonized.
I know that is not a real word but I suspect it soon will be. It is kinda like google is now a verb as well as a business. Finally getting to the subject at hand, The company called Carvana is a different way to get a car. You make your selection among thousands of choices and if you agree to the price it will be delivered to you within a day or two. Of course, there are standard warranties and return options.
If you want they will also offer you buy your old car at basically no profit to them and come and get it and sell it at auction. Yeah, they do test drive it and such before the check rendered just to make sure they will not lose on the transaction.
As Amazon, they don’t have a large brick and mortar store to maintain and they take a profit that is not exorbitant. I am convinced that like Amazon, they will basically redefine what buying a car is all about. When they, or maybe another company, gets into new car sales using the same scheme they will almost immediately be dominant in their field. I know many will lament the “old ways” of doing things, but the rest of us will finally be able to buy our cars without all the hassle that is required today.
Walmart was the standard torchbearer of yesterday on giving the customer what he wants at a price he can afford. Given the Internet has made global communities, companies like Amazon will be the staple of the 21st century. Economy of scale will put all of us on the same level and that in the end is a good thing.
Before you chime in here, yes I realize that some local jobs will be lost in the process. Car salesman will go the way of travel agents of the past and new more intellectual and challenging opportunities will replace them. Everything becoming global will mean opportunities are global as well. Some locals will benefit if they go with the times and some will perish if they try to stick to the old ways. That is what progress is and what it has always been.
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!
How come it is not so great for some of us!
Are we abject failures when it comes to having a joyous retirement?
How come our daily focus seem to be about the aches and pains of old age?
How come we can no longer sprint a mile at a time when all those bloggers around seem to do it everyday?
Am I the only one with bad hips and knees?
Why do my spouse and I disagree on almost anything?
I realize that often the same thing happens with our social media accounts. Our Facebook friends don’t seem to have a unpleasant moment. Instagram is full of pictures of people smiling and enjoying life. Life couldn’t be better, especially for us in our senior years. How depressing it that?
I see that suicide and depression are running rampant today and I think much of it comes from how we how perceive the world around us. I am going to put on my old person hat now and tell you that much of my early life was spent in serious poverty but I just didn’t know it. We ate meat only a couple of times a week as we could not afford it more often. The rest of the week was generally mac and cheese or spaghetti. My total wardrobe could fit in less than 12 inches of closet space. The thing about it was that
I thought most everyone else lived as I did.
I just didn’t have much to compare my life to. Today, via social media, we are surrounded by words, pictures, tweets and such that appear to be very different from our circumstances. We can’t help but know that we are poor, not particularly good looking, and without much money, and probably not many “friends”. It is driven into us daily by our social media feeds.
Getting back to the story as hand, yes, it’s nice to see that others can travel the world with little concern for resources or health issues. We can at least on some level enjoy the experience through their stories. But…
My “Joyous Journey” special project here on RJsCorner is not going to be about typical retirement blog topics. I will to show you that despite our troubles in life with mobility, health, resources, spousal disagreements, and such, we can be joyous if we keep the right perspectives. I am going to give you stories about how I now stumble when trying to get up from a squat, sometimes to the verge of falling. I’m going to tell you about some of the many places where my wife and I see the world very differently now. I will sometimes tell you about the good times but I will also tell you about my typical times and how I cope with them. In the end, life is about coping. No matter whether we admit it or not, none of us can escape the aches and pains of old age. It eventually creeps up on all of us. I kinda see it as you gotta have the bad times in order to fully appreciate the good times. As part of my 10 Pillars, I want to assure you that you are not the only one who has troubles in their senior years but that doesn’t keep us from having a joyous journey.
Adversity builds character but it also can build a Joyous Journey in our retirement years, if we just let it.