I offer a quote, from David Hilfiker, a retired physician from Washington, D.C. He’s in the news because he’s writing a blog about his journey into Alzheimer’s Disease.
Buddhist teachings remind us that there is no constant “self.” … The Western idea that our self stays the same throughout our life just isn’t very accurate. In fact, our self changes continuously and dramatically throughout our life. The Buddhist teachings point out that clinging to any particular self-image is sure to bring suffering because the self will not fit the desired image forever. Let it go!
With this in mind, David Hilfiker has found a way to face his Alzheimer’s. It makes perfect sense for any time of life, but particularly the time after age 50.
I’m working on my attitude about getting old. You could find worse role models than David Hilfiker.
I had a routine eye exam last week. My doc, who is 76, told me he’s still working because he wants to “stay purposeful.”
One of my business partners, who’s over 60, just spent a week in a Central American village, on what he called a “mission.”
Since I retired, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what to do next, and how to do it.
The real question, it seems to me now, is “Why?”
What better time to ask?
It’s Saturday, April 20, 2013, and we’ve just spent the past five days living — more or less — in Boston.
It must be a quantum thing; each of us can be anywhere, everywhere, at the same time. And though it’s only the amazing communications channels we’ve provided ourselves, it sure felt real this week.
I’ve found this week deeply disturbing, not least because of all the tweets and Facebook posts I’ve watched. Watching our thoughts stream back and forth among ourselves heightened my sense of participation, of being there, in a way that mere television couldn’t do. Definitely a quantum experience.
That second “quantum” link, there, is a dictionary definition of the word — for me, the definition means, in physics, the smallest of the small.
It’s strange — as strange as the universe — to feel so small, yet to see what’s happening so far away. It must have been even stranger to feel this way for those locked “down” in their Waterville homes.
I find myself this morning after, this morning of what’s next, praying for the 19-year-old kid, to live.
I can’t explain this to the angry. I won’t try.
This seems a good time to keep my mouth shut.
[Posted Friday morning, April 19, 2013.]
OK, yesterday morning I was still terrorized.
I got better, though, in spite of the endless broadcast and social media repetition of no new facts.
It is good to know there were plenty of Tweets and Facebook posts warning people to be careful what they believed or repeated, a good sign. I even saw analysts talking about what good boys and girls social media people were during the Boston chaos.
Maybe we’re getting the hang of this.
How far does a shockwave go?
I felt it three thousand miles away, via radio, voices from the dashboard.
Groceries safe in the back.
Yet I felt it.
What the hell are they doing, a marathon on a Monday?
But yes, I’m terrorized.
Gary Busey, the actor, fired by Donald Trump.
He had just led his team in the production of a stunt mini-movie-slash-commercial for a tanning lotion, which won’t get a plug here. The video was well-done, but the clients liked the other team’s video better, so Gary’s team lost, and Donald fired him.
I’d kind-of lost track of Gary, who’s had a long movie-TV career, peaking when he starred as Buddy Holly, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. He’s played a lot of outa-control types since then, and, like a lot of Hollywood people, has acted out that role in his so-called real life.
On Celebrity Apprentice — he’s been on the show twice now — Busey’s been treated as a kind of extra-odd fellow — a misfit among Donald’s collection of clearly more coherent famed-ones. Dennis Rodman, for example.
So, I woke up this morning thinking about Gary Busey, 68, still a working actor, now typed as a borderline wacko, providing a kind of uncomfortable, reality TV comic relief.
In 1988, Gary Busey crashed on his motorcycle. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. Quoting his Wikipedia bio:
…His skull was fractured, and doctors feared he suffered permanent brain damage.
During the filming of the second season of Celebrity Rehab in 2008, Busey was referred to psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy. Sophy suspected that Busey’s brain injury has had a greater effect on him than realized. He described it as essentially weakening his mental “filters” and causing him to speak and act impulsively. Sophy recommended Busey take a medication called Depakote (valproic acid), to which Busey agreed.
So, the difficulty such worthies as Steven Baldwin, Lisa Rinna and others exhibit dealing with Gary’s only slightly more bizarre behavior — and the care taken by the show’s editors in include it — takes on a different slant, doesn’t it?
Must be something wrong with me.
We’re now about five years into an era of world economic and political disruption.
O.K., that’s a bold-type overstatement for effect. But not by much.
From the beginning of this global self-destructive revolution — displaying an appalling combination of complacent optimism and retrograde self-delusion — the two main American political parties fought tooth and nail to prevent each other from taking credit for any potential solution and to prevent themselves from getting stuck with the blame for the financial mismanagement that caused it. It was ugly, frustrating and humiliating, and it’s not over yet.
It’s frustrating because our warring tribes — we’re all members of one or the other — can’t decide to move forward in any reconstructive direction. In electoral terms, we’d hate to be labeled “undecided,” wouldn’t we? The current Washington “collaboration” must yet earn my confidence through real results.
Still, there are signs out there that American ingenuity and energy are beginning to produce independent efforts that give me some reasons to be optimistic. And I recommend we all grab hold of them — it sure beats being depressed.
It’s refreshing to me, for instance, to see Michael Bloomberg behaving aggressively in support of his convictions…at least as aggressively as the Koch Brothers. All these guys are powerful leaders — unlike our recent crop of national politicians. We haven’t seen much balance between these sides in past decades. We deserve more, and better.
And, here’s one more example, from the New York Times. Another business leader, Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans, is applying his own money and time to revitalizing downtown Detroit.
These are just two notable examples of cockeyed optimists emerging in our terrifying time. We need many more.
We need to become more like them.
What’s Topic A?
You kidding? In America? MONEY, of course.
So, what shall we do with the new ThirdActs.com, a Website for people over 50?
Let me put it this way, old people. Have you tried to find a job lately? Every day, the trade reports from my former industry — media — are peppered with layoff reports. It’s not the only business that’s shrinking employment. Look at our sputtering national employment numbers.
Even for those who saved, retirement isn’t worry-free. We’re no longer entitled. Check your Medicare premiums for this year.
Seems to me, the only answer for the underfunded mob of imminent retirees is to become job creators. Easy for me to say, but not impossible.
Give it some thought. Could ThirdActs help? What would we do?
I had an ad client who used to love saying that.
He was a man who ruled by fear. Even his jokes were sucker-punches.
I hated him and I liked him. I always tried to be fair.
Never mind that; he was an a-hole. I should have fired him after a week. But I needed the business, the work, the money.
But I digress. I do have a point to make, if I can figure out how to frame it.
The ultra-dark shock-line above is one of the building blocks in the wall that faces every human approaching 50 years of age.
In America, where marketing rules, Anti-Aging is the cream of the crop.
First, acknowledge the enemy.