2021 October 5: Weekly news and views for Baby Boomers and everyone.

Oct 05, 2021

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7everyminute and 7everyminute.com, a podcast and website by, for, and about Baby Boomers. As always, this is a podcast and website by, for, and about Baby Boomers, and tonight we're going to have a very brief news segment, then go in and do some rambling topics, hopefully of interest to Baby Boomers and others, on things like aging and some of the aspects of aging. Plus things that have come to me, made more prominent to me recently, which I've been thinking about for a while. But I'll tell you about that as we get there.


So thanks for stopping by and let's get started. As we've been talking about, the news this week is going to be very truncated. I love to do it, and we've talked about this before. I love to do it. I love to do the presentations, love to do the research. The reality is that it needs a lot more effort, because there's a lot of topics that I've wanted to cover over a long period of time that I haven't been doing a particularly effective job at.


The reality is, news is a funny topic. If you have news that doesn't mimic the mainstream news, which usually mine does not, because it's a little more in depth. The mainstream news tends to be multiple attention grabbing headlines. That's a funny market to deal with, and a short news brief on something in depth is very difficult to do.


So it's probably not the best use of your time and our time. I may do that as a separate program later on, where we can actually spend more time and really delve into a subject and get people to speak on the subject. But for now, we’re probably going to be setting the news mostly aside, unless there's a story that's particularly interesting or particularly relevant and very high profile. It deems to be covered.


We’re mostly going to be focusing more on aging and our consciousness of the world, and how we perceive it and move forward with it. So we're going to get on with that. However, we can't forget the regular mantra of: As always, insofar as your health, take reasonable precautions, practice good or even excellent hygiene, eat a good diet, and maintain your physical condition. These basic steps are still the absolute best prescription for lasting health and your best health is an essential ingredient to maximize your contentment. We'll talk a lot more about that. 


In business and world news, just a couple stories of interest. You may remember, I mentioned quite a bit about the Facebook Chronicles that were in the Wall Street Journal.


It turns out the person behind those documents did an appearance this past weekend on 60 Minutes. Her name is Francis Haugen. She worked for Facebook up to a few months back, and she was hired to prevent election interference. She became pretty much completely disillusioned with the general environment and attitudes going on in their actual behaviors within Facebook and found out that their behaviors and policies really were quite in contradiction to their publicly stated goals and actions. So that brought her to release numerous internal documents specifically showing the policies and actions that were going on at Facebook that were contrary to the stated policies. 


So I think we all owe her a big tremendous thanks for that, because many of us knew that was going on, and Facebook had this huge walled garden where nobody could get in, so nobody could prove it. So it's glad that that's been busted open. Then also of course, yesterday was the huge Facebook outage across all of their properties.


Facebook, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Oculus, there was more involved, I think, beyond that. It just went to show one of the things that I've been harping on for a long time, that we're very slowly creating a society and infrastructure that's not very robust.


One of my neighbors commented to me today, without any prompting at all, she doesn't watch the podcast or anything like that, but she said, oh my gosh, I was in the grocery store and the shelves, there are so many empty shelves. This is getting scary. If you recall, we've been covering this for weeks now.


It's all part and parcel of the same thing. There's a lot of short-term profit-taking going on. So one of the ways you do that is you make your system less robust. So now that we're all using things like WhatsApp to talk, that's not particularly robust. The phone system used to have an amazing reliability.


Maybe we didn't really like Ma Bell and all the little baby Bells later on, and now Verizon and AT&T, and a few other competing carriers, but they did provide extraordinary levels of service. So what we're seeing across many areas are things where we're giving up quality of service for price, and you can get away with that for a certain period of time, but then the hurricane hits and you have no communication; where the ports get blocked up and you can't get any products; paper towels, and and toilet paper again are starting to go on allocation in places and people are starting to stock up.


So again, not that we can affect everything on the national level, but we certainly can affect things on a local level, in our own lives. We can talk to other people about it and we can encourage them, support your local manufacturer, support your local stores, buy local products when you can. All of these things help make the country more robust and help make our lives more secure.


So just something to keep in mind. I think the Facebook outage really reminds us of just how fragile we let things become. So if you use Facebook and WhatsApp, and I use WhatsApp a lot for messaging. However, I also have a couple of other backup accounts where I can communicate with people.


I suggest you look at your life the same way. In every aspect, don't just depend on only one supplier. Make sure you have backups available of one flavor or another, whether that's savings in the bank. When it comes to financial things, other people who are aware of your business, so if something happens to you, they know who to contact and things like that. Just make your life more robust. I think you'll feel more comfortable and reduce the stress in your life overall. 


Another topic we haven't talked about in a very long time:  microplastics. These are what happens when plastics, including your biodegradable plastics, all break down into little itty bitty plastic bits. This is what causes the huge plastic blooms in the ocean where the plastic is so small, it ends up getting in a suspension that doesn't ever settle out. It's called correlates suspension.


Microplastics are still in the news. This time it's because they’re being found in infants, even at birth, which means they're being actually transferred into the infant's bloodstream from their mother. This just goes to illustrate the extent that microplastics have now infiltrated the entire world, including our bodies.


One of the things that's concerning is the rate or the percentage of microplastics that appear in infants’ bodies and small children. It's about 10 times higher than in adults. I think that's partially from heating formula in baby bottles where the plastic tends to erode into the formula.


The other thing is that so many of children's toys now are made of plastics. They play on carpets that are made of plastics. They're surrounded, they're very close to and inhaling plastics all the time. This is a big concern, because plastics often contain hundreds or even thousands of different chemicals to get the properties that they want. It's completely unclear what the long term effects are of ingesting and metabolizing all of these substances, especially upon young children. Next time you say you know what? who cares about plastics.. I'll just get more plastic bags or whatever. Think about it. Use them wisely.


It's in the stream, it's in the environment, and we really want to -- They're very useful. Don't misunderstand me. I use plastic bags in limited amounts. We don't need to get six plastic bags from the grocery store and immediately throw them away. Usable bags are good. There's time for everything and for dry goods and things that aren't wet, usable bags are awesome.


And anything that each one of us can do to reduce plastics in the environment. The life you save may be your own, quite literally. So keep that in mind, but the bigger part of tonight - what I really wanted to do is talk a little bit more about something I’ve been thinking about and pondering for quite some time now.


It's really a combination of topics, but they are all related to aging in one way or another. It's not just aging as an Oh, aging's a bad thing. Oh, now I can't do something I used to do. Aging is a really interesting topic, because when you think about it, what is getting old? There's certainly the calendar year aspect of it.


Oh, now I'm 50, 60, 70. Okay. That's it, but that doesn't really tell you anything because you look at it. I've worked with many people who are in their seventies, and they have more stamina, energy, insight, innovation. They’re more invigorating. They're more fun to be around than people I’ve met in their thirties and forties.


So it's far more than just a calendar year. As far as aging goes, it's swapping one set of capabilities for another. Maybe you've lost something in strength, but you've gained a whole lot of knowledge in how you can complete a job without needing so much strength.


Maybe your memory, you can't hold quite as many things all at once, but you developed a really good system for taking notes, so you're still the person everybody comes to at work to get information because you always seem to have it at your fingertips. There's a lot of swapping that goes on.


Society tends to focus on the loss of capability. I would encourage all of you to remember that you've actually gained a lot of capabilities along the way. You probably are better at cooking or whatever than you were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago, and there may be many reasons for it. It may be that it's a hobby that you enjoy, but nonetheless, don't forget to look at the plus sides because society is only too quick to remind you of all the things that you've lost.


But one of the things that I really have noticed is that certainly as we get old -- there's the saying: when you're young time passes slowly, and it just keeps going faster as you get older. It's true in a lot of ways, but one of the big reasons for that I believe is that as we get old, more and more of our lives become, for lack of a better term, somewhat routine.


We know what we like to do. We know what we generally don't like to do. So we tend to get up and do what we like to do and just ignore all the things that we don't like to do. So we get lost in our own daily routines. And all of a sudden, you say, wow, where did 2020 go? Where did 2021 go? Where'd the 20th century go? 


So it's easy to just get so wrapped up that we completely lose track of everything. Then something happens, something shakes us out of our routine. It can be any of a number of things, but something makes us more aware once again. It could be one of the more common ones obviously, or you probably know already is that, a personal loss or tragedy, a friend or a spouse or somebody parishes or your parents finally pass away or whatever. It’s like wow!


For the next day or week or month or maybe year even whatever, we're all onto it. We're going to make the most of life because we don't want that to happen to us. Then that slips away again. In my case, actually, it was a very simple injury. I was at a hotel and using their exercise equipment.


I still do exercises and such, and the chin-up bar was much higher than I expected. So I had to really jump high to get the chin-up bar to do chin-ups and pull-ups. I did two sets, and on the third set, I almost skipped it because I was getting tired, and I said, no, just focus


It turns out, I only grabbed it on one side with two fingers and damaged my left hand and left arm. So I was like okay so who cares? My hand hurt. It hurt a lot,  and hurt a lot as in I couldn't lift a coffee cup, so I really damaged something and that was confirmed. What was interesting then was what came out of it.


So obviously my left arm and hand hurt, and that's fine. So it hurts, and life goes on, but it also affected my ability to type, which of course is how I make my living most of the time. It also meant that I couldn't exercise and I couldn't hold a book for choir. So it affected how I could sing in church, which I worked around,  but again, this is all just from a hand injury. This is not something dramatic. 


Since I couldn't exercise, then I lost strength overall. It's not super obvious in these pictures, but my shoulders are much smaller than they were a month ago because I haven't been able to exercise for a month, same with my upper arms and my grip strength.


Oh, and my back and my abs as well. That led to repeated near- back injuries where my back would be sore. So then I'd have to take care of that. This is just from injuring a hand. So it really got me thinking about how we're so used to - we always have the expectation that tomorrow is going to be just like today.


The smallest little thing can change that dramatically. Now imagine you have something major happen. You have a heart attack. Your house is hit by a tornado, heaven forbid, or whatever. Suddenly now you have a huge life change. I guess part of what keeps me going - not in this particularly, this is pretty minor injury, but when challenges come up, is I try and remember a number of different things.


One of the big things is remembering all the good things that happened in my life. This isn't a wow, things could be worse. I could be like that person over there. It's really trying to remember that. Oh, I just heard a friend message me, that's right. I have all these friends in my life. That's really nice. 


When I'm feeling particularly lonely, and they're not around or something, I could call somebody else, because maybe they're feeling lonely. They'd like to hear from somebody who remembers that they're a friend. So there's a lot of things you can do that don't take a calamity to get you out of this kind of daydream that we tend to get ourselves in as we get older, where we just keep doing the same thing again and again. People would call it a rut, but I don't really say it's a rut because a rut implies you're stuck in it. This is that we're stuck in it, but we're deciding to do it because it's very safe.


So I would suggest that as you go through life, even as you get older, nothing says that you always have to live on the safe side. It doesn't mean you have to take up hang-gliding when you're 75, but maybe it means that you join the barbershop quartet, and they teach you how to sing. Or that you do an online course. You just teach somebody how to make bread, like you used to make it with your mother back when you lived in Ireland, or whatever it is. 


We're going to talk a whole lot more about all these things, but that's really where this is all leading to. We're going to be talking more about these topics over the coming weeks, and basically ways to energize our lives as we age because society wants to tell us, oh, you should calm down. You shouldn't do this. You're old. Now you should act your age. That's just total malarkey. So we're still able to do anything we want and sometimes we have to mitigate it a little bit just to acknowledge that we may not have the strength or the stamina that we used to, but we have a lot more experience and a lot more insight to things. So I think overall, it comes out that we still come out on the better side of the deal. So that's what's going to be coming up over the next couple of weeks.


I've been working on courses, and have those underway now. Those hopefully will be released in a week or two, a couple of them. Then we're going to start talking about how we can really learn to enjoy life by just appreciating all the good things that we find, and even appreciating the challenges and the things that we can learn from those, and really appreciating the resiliency that's built into all of this.


So that's it for the week. Thank you for stopping by. I know a lot different than normal. If you came for the news, sorry to disappoint, but hopefully we're going to be covering topics that not only people our age, but younger people as well, will find interesting. If that's the case, please drop me a line and let me know what you think.


That's it. So if you found something interesting, let me know please. If you found it useful, please pass it along. If not, please drop me a comment to let me know what it is that you'd like to hear. Have a great week.


Thanks for visiting. Remember to live the life that you dreamed of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everybody. Thanks again for stopping by, and see you next week at 7everyminute and 7everyminute.com. Thank you.

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