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Are You Afraid To Die?

This is an interesting question for boomers as we cross life’s 50-yard line and move toward the end zone: are you afraid to die?

If you fear death, is it fear of pain, fear of loss of mental or physical abilities? Or do you fear missing out? Maybe you fear that life can go on without you.

I’m not especially afraid to die; I’ve had a pretty good, interesting and fulfilling life. But I truly want my life to continue forever. It won’t, of course. But how long do I, or any of us, have left?

And are we afraid?

How’s this for coincidence ... as I’m writing this during my lunch break at work, I stumble on a USA Today article about habits that can add years to our lives. According to the story, "the U.S. ranks 43rd in global life expectancy," with the average person making it to 80. What!? Eighty?! That’s less than twenty more years for me. I’m planning my 100th birthday party.

The article outlines some health habits that can add fourteen years. Hmmm, 80 + 14 = 94. That’s better…

Tarnished Heroes

Sexual abuse and harassment, bullying, fraud and similar behaviors are horrible no matter who is guilty; but it seems worse on some level when the perpetrator is a celebrity.

Through the 1980s, Thursday night was "must see TV" in large part because of The Cosby Show. Bill Cosby played Cliff Huxtable, a successful doctor, faithful husband and loving father of five. His character was a role model on many levels: successful African-American doctor, a ‘family values’ parent and an honest husband. He was often called "America’s Dad".

That television character image seemed to mirror the actor who played him. Boomers will remember Cosby as a damn funny comedian from the 1960s who was also one of the first black men to share co-star billing in a tv series. "I Spy".

This week Bill Cosby was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

In other words, Cosby was merely ACTING as a faithful husband, loving father, positive role model for African-Am…

What If You Only Had Two Years To Live?

Boomers might remember a TV show from the mid-1960s called “Run For Your Life”. Actor Ben Gazzara played Paul Bryan, an attorney who is told by his doctor that he has less than two years to live.  Bryan decides to try and cram thirty years of living into that two years.

He travels the world, helps other people solve their problems, lives life to the fullest. The disease this character has actually does exist and is terminal, but doesn’t affect quality of life all that much until the end.

So what would you do if you knew you only had two years to live?

Quit your job? Travel? Eat and drink like there is no tomorrow, because, well, there isn’t? Help other people?  Help yourself?

Being the skeptic that I am, I’d probably waste the first few months trying to prove the diagnosis was incorrect. After realizing the doctors were probably right, I’d quit my job. Then I’d travel to see friends I love but don’t currently do nearly enough to spend in-person time with. And I’d travel to other plac…

Overheard

Sometimes I sit at the end of the long, straight bar in my neighborhood hangout because that spot gives me a commanding view of the whole place. I see who enters and exits and watch and listen while sipping my favorite red wines.

Topics of conversation on a recent Friday night...

College - a young guy I don’t know telling a retired guy I do know all about his experiences a few years ago at University of Maryland.

Divorce - at least half the regulars, me included, are divorced and have entertaining horror stories about marriage. A fairly attractive, never-married 50-something female regular is listening to and laughing at the stories.

Retirement - a guy who has been retired for several years discussing that lifestyle with a guy who is retiring next month.

Amazon - a tech geek discussing the pros and cons of that monster company’s possible second headquarters in this county.

Music - we’re all trying to name the group as soon as the song comes on.  Yep, that’s AC/DC. That previous song …

I’m Coming

There was no accurate count, but it appeared to be thousands, maybe tens of thousands. All were human in form, waving their hands, apparently trying to get my attention. Many held signs.  Do It Now!  Don’t Wait-Tomorrow Isn’t Promised!  Keep Moving!

The sign that really got my attention said I’m Coming Sooner Than You Think! It was held by a very pale male of undetermined age, dressed entirely in black.

I wondered why snippets of advice were now personified, a crowd of individuals carrying signs advocating specific and generic actions or shouting out warnings. My analytical side assumed the man in black was Death. My logical side reminded me this was a dream. The woman by my side woke me up with the words “you must have been having a nightmare.”

I don’t usually assign meaning to dreams; I believe they are merely tangled fragments of thoughts being reorganized while we sleep. Dreams are the brain defragging its hard drive.

One image from that dream worth remembering, however, is I’m C…

Busy

Does this ever happen to you: you stare at your computer or to do list and just stare? For minutes at a time. So overwhelmed at the amount of items to do that you can’t decide which one to do next?
Or is it just me?
That indecision block happened to me this afternoon and it’s not the first time. As it’s happening, I wonder if the timeline paralysis is due to the quantity of items on the list, or an age-related mental slowdown or my Multiple Sclerosis. Maybe all three.
I want to believe it is the result of quantity. Like many people in contemporary American society, I am doing a job formerly done by three separate people. I have many tools to help with efficiency but the reality is that there is a lot of stuff to do at work; probably more quantity that when three people did this stuff. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.
Just doing my job is the mental equivalent of those ‘keep your brain active’ exercises AARP refers to, but my brain probably does process slower than a decade or tw…

Hoppy Easter

Image
I’m just a logical guy living in an illogical world.

As a child I wouldn’t think twice about a holiday that celebrates a bunny rabbit and Christ. Baskets filled with candy, images of rabbits, decorated chicken eggs and going to Mass to learn about and worship a human rising from the dead were all a normal part of the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox.  I didn’t question the logic as a child, but I egg-spect some logic as an adult.

I planned to color this post with sarcasm until I hopped down the Google trail. It turns out the Easter rabbit tradition dates back to Roman Catholics in Germany in the 1500s. The rabbit has a high reproductive rate, eggs are a symbol of fertility, Spring symbolizes new life, therefore Easter eggs represent Jesus’ resurrection.

Ok, maybe there is a bit of logic there after all.

Except rabbits don’t lay eggs. But they do build nests for their babies (kind of like Easter baskets?)

So what about the Christ/Claus c…