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Archive for the ‘Baby Boomers’ Category

One thing many of my fellow baby boomers and I have in common is that we’re often taken by surprise by the fact that we are now “the older generation.”  Sometime through the years, time got away from us and all of our experiences are indelibly inscribed on our faces and bodies.  Now and then when I look in the mirror, I want to weep because the woman there is nothing like “the Young Me” who lives inside.

So, when I came across these before-and-after pictures of some TV and movie stars of my past, they gave me great comfort.  We are not alone.  I think you’ll enjoy these.

I have two final thoughts.  First of all, I think most of these people are two to three years older than their stated ages here.  And second, I would have to give the prize for “Not-Bad-For-An-Older-Guy” to Mike Farrell.  He has held up quite well.

I should be so lucky!

 

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As we baby boomers age, I’m noticing more and more articles on how important it is for us to exercise our brains.  In a way it’s a bit insulting, as if when we reach “a certain age,” we suddenly turn slack-jawed, roll our eyes up into our heads and murmur “Duh” and “Yup!” at regular intervals.  It is recommended that we do activities to stimulate our brains, such as puzzles or learning about new things.  I can’t imagine ever NOT stimulating my brain, but, whatever…

One thing I do enjoy is a good optical illusion.  I like the way it makes you look at things from a different perspective.  For example, you have the simple ones like this one.  Is it a bunch of white columns or black silhouettes of pairs of people facing each other?  I love that it’s so obviously both!

Then there’s this graffiti from a subway station, which I think is simply brilliant.  The fact that it’s carried from the wall to the floor so effortlessly shows that the artist has a real eye for perspective.  It’s mind-bending.  (I’m thinking of trying this in my basement!)

But a good optical illusion doesn’t have to be elaborate.  Take this picture.  Look at it one way and it’s a person.  Look at it another, and it’s the word “Liar.”  Cool, huh?

As usual, I’ve saved my favorite for last.  The first time I tried this one I was both amazed and delighted.  Then I laughed out loud.  On first glance, it’s a picture of Albert Einstein.  No problem with that.  Now, step back from computer about five feet and it becomes a photo of Marilyn Monroe!  Really!  It DOES!  I swear!  I can’t get over this one.  It’s so fun.

Okay, well, if you’ve managed to stay with me this long, congratulations!  I’d say our brains are probably simply glowing from all that exercise!  So now you have my permission to give your brain a break and let yourself be dumb for a few hours.  (Maybe go tweet or something!)

Later,

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I’m having quite a bit  of trouble lately loving myself.  You see,  I have a Significant Birthday coming up the first week of March, and while other “milestones” haven’t affected me much, this one seems to have sucked all the self-esteem out of my soul.  Usually at such times I can kick my own butt (a feat requiring some acrobatic skill,) and get myself back to normal, but not this time.

Oh, I know that we all grow older.  It’s unavoidable.  But I think there’s a general tendency among people to always think of “old” as people in the decade ahead of us.

But lately, it’s like age is a rambunctious terrier which has taken me in its teeth and is shaking me back and forth until I drop to the ground as a boneless lump of nothing.

This isn’t like me.  I’ve always been energetic and young at heart.  Unfortunately, my heart isn’t the first thing people see.  Now it’s not like I’ve let myself go and turned into a total wreck.  I’m not at the point where I scare little children on the street.  But it’s the damned little things.  I mentioned in an earlier post how one of my eyelids is slowly being covered by a drooping brow.  It doesn’t affect my vision or anything.  It’s just one more little sign I see every day.  It’s those laugh lines that never went away.  It’s the places on my hands where little veins break, causing a dark spot that takes forever to heal.  It’s a right knee that locks up if I hold it in one position for too long.  Good grief!  I beginning to feel like a Raggedy Ann doll that has been played with too roughly and too long!  But it’s not just the physical things.  As a matter of fact, I’m remarkable healthy, and for that I’m grateful.

I think this upcoming birthday has me reflecting on the losses in my life – the sister who betrayed my trust, the friends who didn’t feel I was worth the effort, and the dreams which will never come true.  When I always pictured me at this upcoming age, I pictured a much happier scenario.  But life is what it is.

Just the other morning, I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror without make-up and you know what I saw?  Flickers of my father when he was an old man – something in the jaw and the eyes.

I’ve always been able to present myself to the word in a way that was, if not optimum, at least acceptable to myself.  But that’s becoming harder and harder.  My friend, Dee, told me at lunch the other day that she doesn’t see it.  But isn’t that what true, blue friends are all about?

I know I have to learn to accept this “new me,” before I turn into Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, who was always the whining pessimist.  And, by God I will!   As of today I’m going to work on devising a strategy to stop hating myself so much.  So I’m not the cute young thing anymore.  I’m still me inside and I try hard to be a good person and an even better friend.  I have to learn to embrace myself as I am.  And, if I’m successful, maybe I really will have something to celebrate on March 3rd!

Wish me luck?

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I have loved being a baby boomer, I really have.  Being a teenager in the time of the Beatles, mini-skirts and Yardley cosmetics was the absolute best and I embraced every single moment of it!  I was wild and crazy and lived like there was no tomorrow.  Turns out, there was a tomorrow…and it is NOW.  When you’re young, your body is like a blank sketch pad – smooth and clear.  But every thing you do leaves a mark.  All of those hours I baked in the sun, seeking the perfect tan, burned my skin time and time again.  And I see the results today.  Every time I’ve smiled or cried or become angry, my skin was busy memorizing those lines.  And so now, as an “older woman,” I look into the mirror and I can hardly recognize myself.  And it makes me a little sad.

Now those of you who are young probably have no idea of what I’m talking about.  You probably see me and my friends and think, “Wow.  Those gals are OLD!”  And, of course you are right.  But you’ve probably never wondered how that happened and how we feel about it.  Here’s the thing about aging – no one ever prepares you for it. Seriously.  Oh, everyone knows they’ll get old someday, but that always seems far into the future.  So, time passes, and then one day you wake up and look into the mirror and notice something about yourself that you’ve never seen before.  It happens that quick! I’ve had friends ask me, “Have I always had these lines in my forehead?”  or “Did you ever notice these crow’s-feet by my eyes before?”  I think we’re all programmed to see what we expect to see when we look at ourselves in the mirror.  Maybe that’s a mercy.  But eventually, everything starts to head south and you can’t ignore it anymore.  Those lines by your mouth that appear when you smile?  Well, one day they just decide to make themselves comfortable and stay right where they are even when you aren’t smiling.  And the skin on your face and neck suddenly feels like a size too big for you and it just starts to droop.  I’d love to say that “droopy” is the new black, but let’s face it, in our appearance-conscious society droopy equals OLD.

What triggered this whole thing with me today is that I have made yet another discovery in my “adventures in getting older.”  Right before Christmas I woke up one morning and, while I was washing my face, noticed that something wasn’t right.  Then I saw it.  My left eye seems to have taken two steps back into my head.  Either that or my brow skin got tired and decided to rest a bit of itself on my eyelid.  The result is that, looking at me straight on, you see much more eyelid on the right eye than the left.  Quite frankly, I was mortified.  But, what was I going to do?  I’m no spring chicken anymore and I guess these things happen.  I’m trying to accept it the best I can.  But let me tell you, it’s not easy.

The reason I said this whole aging thing makes me a little sad is that inside I feel very much like I did when I was twenty, only much wiser. I still like to play, act goofy, dance around and play jokes on people.  That little girl I once was still exists in a part of me.  I mourn the fact that no one will ever say I’m “cute” anymore.  I mourn the fact that, short of plastic surgery, I am just going to have to accept these physical changes.  I guess that’s just life.

But, I don’t have to like it…

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During the past month or so, I’ve been exposed to a man who, if he weren’t married, would be absolutely perfect for me.  And being around him has awakened feelings and emotions that I long ago boxed up and put on the top shelf way in the back of my mental closet.  To be honest with you, it has been kind of nice to experience those old tingly feelings once more and to let my imagination run a bit wild.  It’s reassuring to know that the old fire in the furnace still burns as brightly as it once did, if not brighter. And, when I think about him, I find myself smiling, like some goofy teenager.   So, if nothing else, this has been a fun little intermission in my life.

But the whole situation made me realize how few men my own age (or a year or two younger,) even put forth an effort to keep themselves up.  I see so many who just seem to have let themselves go completely.  Too many sport stomachs they can’t get a belt around.  So, instead, they wear a belt below a stomach that looks like it’s pregnant with a basketball!  Not really a sight to get the juices flowing, if you know what I mean. Or else, I’ll be talking to a man and notice that he has renegade hairs sprouting from his nose, ears or moles, or all three! Nice.  I ask you, don’t these guys have mirrors at home?  Don’t they ever LOOK in them? Please don’t think that I’m hung up on looks, but I’m talking basic hygiene, people!  Plain self-respect!

Now I’m not claiming to be some movie star gorgeous chick.  But, anyone who knows me will tell you that I always try to look the best I can at all times, no matter how old I am!  I think that’s important.

As for my “dream guy,” he’s not male-model handsome or anything.  He’s a couple of years older than me and looks it.  But he has laughing eyes and a mischievous grin that melts my heart every time I see it.  He’s clean, well-employed, fiercely intelligent and unselfish.  He’s good at what he does and he treats people well.  And, most important to me, he’s funny and has a killer wit.  It’s so fun to spar with someone who always has a good comeback.  He challenges me and keeps me on my toes.  But, alas, he has no idea how I feel and he never will, which is as it should be.

So, it’s time to once again box up those old feelings and make sure the lid’s on tighter this time.  A part of me wishes they had never been reawakened, because now I feel such a sense of loss (and okay, a little sadness.)  But then, who among us hasn’t reflected a time or two on “what might have been?”

All that’s left to say is…in another life, in another time…oh what fun we could have had!

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A friend recently forwarded me the following interesting memory, and it immediately reminded me how much simpler life used to be, before the United States turned into the capital of  “political correctness.” This was back before it became fashionable to be a “victim,” when people weren’t sue-crazy and everyone took responsibility for themselves.  The piece came with no attribution, but I believe some of it came from this website.  The rest, I don’t know.  If you’re a reader “of a certain age,” I think you’ll enjoy this as much as I did!

THE DAYS OF BLACK AND WHITE

Black and White (Under age 40? You won’t understand.)
You could hardly see for all the snow, spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.
Pull a chair up to the TV set,
Good Night, David..
Good Night, Chet.’

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread Mayo on the same cutting
board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn’t seem to get food
poisoning. My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it
raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a
brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can’t remember getting e.coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a
pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.
The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager
was the school PA system.
We all took gym, not PE…and risked permanent injury with a pair of high
top Ked’s (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes
with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can’t recall any injuries
but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.
Flunking gym was not an option… Even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be
much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and
staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.
We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system
we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.
I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed
to be proud of myself.

I just can’t recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station,
Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.
Oh yeah…And where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that
bee sting? I could have been killed!
We played ‘king of the hill’ on piles of gravel left on vacant construction
sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of
mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn’t sting like iodine did)
and then we got our butt spanked.
Now it’s a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49
bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor
for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.
We didn’t act up at the neighbor’s house either, because if we did we got our
butt spanked there and then we got our butt spanked again when we got home.
I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on
the front stoop, just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she
could have owned our house.  Instead, she picked him up and swatted him
for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck.  To top it off, not
a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a
dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that?
We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes.
We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn’t even
notice that the entire country wasn’t taking Prozac! How did we ever survive?

LOVE TO ALL OF US WHO SHARED THIS ERA. AND TO ALL WHO
DIDN’T, SORRY FOR WHAT YOU MISSED.
I WOULDN’T TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING!

Star Signature

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CrazyWomanI like to think of myself as someone who is mentally competent in every way.  I’m independent.  I pay my bills and taxes.  I have a good memory.  I keep appointments – all the requirements of being a fully functional, productive member of society.  But there’s one little thing that’s starting to worry me.

Awhile back, I wrote a post entitled, “The Land of Lost Stuff?” in which I jokingly reported how certain things seem to vanish from my life.  I considered it amusing…until now.

One of my favorite pieces of jewelry is, not surprisingly, considering the name of this blog, a star necklace.  It wasn’t expensive because I’ve never been a jewelry snob.  It was a simple star outlined in rhinestones and it was from Wal-mart.  Nonetheless, I loved it and wore it almost every day when what I was wearing allowed it.  You might say it was my signature piece of jewelry.

So, I was getting dressed the other morning and went to put the necklace on and it wasn’t on the dressing table where I always keep it, nor was it on the wall where I hang my other necklaces.  I was puzzled.  I mean, it’s always there – every single day!  I proceeded to look on the floor and in the wastebasket under the dressing table, thinking it might have gotten brushed off  – nothing.  It just doesn’t make sense!  That’s where I always take it off, nowhere else.

Of course, at this point I began to ransack the house, looking in every possible place a necklace could hide, even though in my heart I knew that I’d never carry it around.  I looked under rugs, in the medicine cabinet and in drawers.  It is absolutely NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

So, what happened to it?  Am I, little by little, losing my mind?  Is this the kind of thing that starts out gradually with little things and then one day I’ll find myself dancing naked through the traffic singing “You Can’t Hurry Love” at the top of my lungs?  This sudden vanishing thing scares me.  It really does.  How is something there one minute and gone the next?  Should I fear for my sanity?

Or, should I buy into my original theory that sometimes, in my house at least, things just “vanish” from time to time and go to the Land of Lost Stuff?  You know, I think I’ll pick this explanation because the other is too awful to contemplate.

After all, I’m a firm believer that sometimes a little denial is just what you need to get you through the day…

Star Signature

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