2023 February 28 A perspective on agingFeb 28, 2023
Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website by, for and about Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and how to reimagine your life. Thanks for joining me tonight for some general thoughts on life and aging. So let's get started. If you like what you hear tonight, please leave a like and tell your friends and send me a message.
So tonight's a bit off schedule, but thanks very much for still stopping by to listen. Tonight is a break from the regularly scheduled programming of goal setting and re-envisioning your future. We'll get back to that, but tonight's going to be another side trip about aging and the benefits thereof. One thing is that you can use words like thereof and your peers understand what you're saying, and they don't look at you quizzically like you're weird.
But you can also announce your preference for actually doing things instead of watching other people do things (like on the computer and tv, YouTube and reality tv) and people aren't shocked because people our age are used to doing things. So you know, you want to learn how to grill a better steak, try a few times and who knows, you might actually come up with a better idea than that dude or dudette with a million followers on YouTube.
There are of course some more somber things too, like death is no longer a shock at this point in our lives, unfortunately. But you know, that can either remove the fear of death or make it worse depending upon your mindset. By now, you know what we say about mindset and your ability to control your own perceptions, so I would encourage you to see the life that you have within you rather than all the negatives that you could possibly imagine might happen in the worst case.
We talk about that in our course. We've talked about how it's up to us to imagine our future and then work into it. You could also imagine a bad future, and that will be what you work into as well. So it's up to us to set our own expectations and then how to envision that so we live a life that we want to live.
But that same maturing perspective gives us a unique power if we choose to use it well. Things like having the government call half the population idiots for their feelings, like Covid acquired immunity, only to quietly walk that back a couple years later with no apology - well, it's not a shock (and in reality, nothing from either side of the political aisle is much of a shock anymore) if you like to pay attention and not just hop into one of the major bandwagons. The political aisle can be in most any country that just shows that kind of politics is pretty much universally corrupt. The value of politicians is usually not the value of the people that they claim to represent.
Related to that, I'm very tired of people continually bashing the USA. We are still one of the most transparent major nations, which is why there's so much to complain about. This isn't a love it or leave it rant, but honestly, if you think Scandinavia is so awesome, then why wouldn't you just move there, for goodness sake? Or whatever else is held up as the answer to all the US’ problems. Could it be that you don't want to lose all the amazing advantages that we continually enjoy, but have kind of gotten used to, and so just take for granted.
We're also experienced enough to know that any record in the last 10 years or 20 years, whether it's the highest of something, the lowest, the biggest, the fastest, the highest stock market, the biggest stock market drop, whatever it is, is pretty much irrelevant.
The only constant is change. The amazing new record will be old news relatively quickly, and if it's anything having to do with the characteristics of the earth, a human lifetime is only a comparative moment. So those facts are pretty trivial and manipulated. We've all learned that serious looking scientists and doctors are not worth believing until all their affiliations and previous proclamations have been reviewed.
Thinking about all those viewpoints, some might call them jaded. They really aren't jaded at all, but they're really just the result of seeing things more clearly, without all the societal baggage that we've been taught. The US (or anywhere) can still be good, even when it might not be perfect. The same can be said about many other countries. We generally all have far more in common than in difference. But differences in conflict make for better news and easier advertising dollars. Hopefully we've learned that judging yesterday's actions from a modern viewpoint is pretty much always dishonest and basically a lie. If you're going to do that to others, then you better be ready to be judged equally harshly by both your ancestors and probably even your peers.
But back to the climate and global issues. It is true that we're all sharing a relatively tiny bit of the universe, and we need it far more than it needs us. But that doesn't mean any level of greenwashing, which is rampant today, is ever justified. The ends never justify the means in any situation. We've probably also learned a whole lot of practical knowledge throughout our years, and most hopefully are gently passing that along to subsequent generations - not from a point of view of superiority, but as a friend who just doesn't get flustered and always seems to have a solution to most every problem, because by now I hope you realize that problems truly are opportunities to learn.
They are a gift from life to us. Most every problem is solvable, and getting angry about, or even getting angry at, a problem never gives a quicker or better solution. It just creates another problem, you, for getting angry. You might also realize that every solution isn't perfect, or it might not be what we ideally wish for.
But that brings us two very important concepts. First, life can change dramatically in a heartbeat, literally, so we should really live each day in appreciation of all the good that's around us, and a determination to change the bad. Second, perfect is always relative. So seek out the perfection in every situation, but don't expect perfection in anything. Perfect is as much in our mind as it is a reality. So it's up to you to make your reality as perfect as it can be. If you lack something, gain an appreciation for what you have when you have too much of something. Learn the joy of sharing it if it's good. If it's a challenge, take the opportunity to learn from it.
You may be asking why this introspection. What I've been doing is very different from the series of Facebook Lives recently, because basically I'm tired of hearing about an incredibly urgent and how amazing everything is, and how everything is just so overblown, bad, or dramatic, breathlessly something. We don't have a storm come in, the weather is out to pound the US.
Everything now is out to get us. Well, it's not. We know that, and we're old enough to realize that this is just manipulation.
When we were young - think about when we were young. If you ordered from a catalog, it might take one or two weeks for something to arrive, and that was one or two weeks that you could imagine and plan and be excited with anticipation, and then be truly appreciative when it arrived.
It also meant there were more local options, more choices available and a clear-cut tradeoff between the immediacy of going out and buying at a store, or the value of perhaps buying it from somebody like the Montgomery Wards catalog or the Sears catalog. It meant having a plan.
So life wasn't a constant string of overnight emergency solutions and purchases with instant everything. The anticipation and planning is mostly gone, as is the appreciation. So now we can get overnight or even same day delivery of the same kind of junk items from multiple stores, and we see people arguing about whose significant other or themselves are the most adept at shopping at Amazon. (That, by the way, is a real story and it happened to me just a couple days ago. Two people were arguing about that within earshot.)
But when the item arrives, it never seems to be quite as good as anticipated. Perhaps that was because there was little or no value in it in the first place. It was just an object to satisfy a case of the wicked wants, as a friend of mine used to say. We just had to have something, and you wanted it right now.
Hopefully as we have aged, we've become a bit more introspective on such things, and we start to realize the truly valuable things in life. Truly, there are things like friendships, caring relationships, anonymous acts of charity and kindness, faith (no matter how you define it), and all the other non-material things that truly make a life wonderful.
Some people grasp those concepts when they're young, but far more of them are swept up in the modern instant gratification me first environment. That's another place where our age is a double edged sword of change. But in this case, both edges are for a positive outcome. First, we're better able to navigate the challenges of the world, especially the big ones, like the threat of a world war or political unrest in most of the countries of the world.
Instead of being reactive and doomsayers, we have the experience to see that these problems can be solved. It may take work, it may take some sacrifice, but it isn't the end of the world, and the solution won't happen in an instant. Second, we can remind others that these things have happened before, and on equal sorts of scales.
If you're my age, I'm sure you remember the duck-and-cover drills for when a nuclear bomb hit whatever major target happened to be near you. In my case, it was New York City on one side to the south, and to the north, it was Plattsburgh, New York, where the strategic air command base was. We all knew it'd be a bad situation, but we focused on how to survive it and recover and not be scared of it all the time.
Now is a time when we can, and we should, be helping to calm the following generations and remind them that they have the ability to survive anything if we all work as a team, and to remind everyone that the team doesn't have to agree on every single point. We just have to have the majority of principles in common, which we do - both as a nation, and with many other peoples in the world.
That confidence and security only comes with experience, and by now, you should have a lot of experience to draw on. That, to me, is one of the best parts of being older. I'm far less reactive and far more confident in the face of the unknown, no matter what the particular unknown situation is.
So embrace your wisdom and your confidence, and be willing to share it by example, not by lecturing. When someone expresses hopelessness, remind them that the reason for hope is always appropriate. If someone looks for division and conflict, show them where they instead can find unity and cooperation. That, to me, is the best part of aging and probably the best legacy that one could ever create for others, and to leave behind for ourselves.
So that's it for the evening - longer than I anticipated, but it has been burling around on my head for months. I was thinking I may actually start a parallel podcast on proactive aging. It goes beyond goal setting, because we do have a lot to offer. We talk about things like the way we can still contribute to advancing the world in a materialistic standpoint. I think we have things to offer in that way for the same reason, because of a lot of experience. But there's also a lot of non-tangible ways that we can really bring some consistency and some calmness and some perspective to a lot of the conversations that you hear going on now, both in social media and in the news.
The news has gotten to be just one big show, for lack of a better word, of who can say the most amazing thing, the most dramatic thing, the most outlandish thing in any particular situation. We have the experience and the tools to help combat that, and say the things they say are true, but they aren't as amazing as they make them sound, and they aren't as unique as they make them sound.
We've been through this before. We've been through very bad world conflicts and leading up to world conflicts before, and if we work as a team, we can overcome them both as a country and as a world. But if everybody wants to go their separate ways and point fingers at everybody, then things won't go well.
So we have a big part that we can play in making that come out to a far more positive outcome than it can be than having a bunch of screaming talking heads on various news channels saying that the end of the world is around the corner. It doesn't have to be. It isn't. It's up to us to lead people forward and say, No, we've been here before. This is what you do. Focus on the good. Focus on the long term. Don't focus on the immediacy.
Please remember the war in the Ukraine. UKR7.com has links to various places where you can donate. Please remember the people in Ukraine. The war is still going on. It's worse than ever. There's a link there for the World Central Kitchen: WCK.org. Remember, one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others, so please donate if you can. Donate in any way possible.
Thanks for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.
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