Friday, October 15, 2004

Advantages of growing older; one leaves the age of acquisition behind.

While checking out eBay this morning (the first steps at de-mystifying the process) I found myself momentarily caught up in click-shopping. Had no idea there were so many things in the world that I know longer want or need. Somehow over the past few years, I reached a place where there was simply nothing left to want that's buyable, that is. Except for the occasional purchase of something to feed my soul, like a piece of art or some cut flowers -- tickets to a play or dance concert, or the upgrading of my Mac from time to time -- having money holds little meaning now.

Then why on earth do I continue to have this need to be employed? Why is it so difficult to simply call myself retired and get on with it? Why do I equate independence with an adequate bank account? Of course, I do need to provide for Dorian as well as myself -- but that shouldn't take much - and I surely would hate to have to begin to think about senior housing, or, "assisted" living. I'm still far too capable and healthy and involved in life to want to separate myself off into that kind of isolation until it's absolutely necessary.

It may have to do with a wish to continue to be the bank of last resort for my kids. There's little else that I can provide for them now. And, given the state of the economy, they'll never have the advantages that Mel and I enjoyed as young parents. The total economy is skewed in favor of the elderly -- with little provided for the generation that follows. Poor planning, that.

I wonder why my generation functions as though it's the last? I wonder if it's related in any way to religious beliefs that have predicted Armegeddon since I was a child? How short-sighted. How else do we read current denial of global warming? How else are we to understand the abandonment of international treaties? It is as though my generation has every intention of using up all the remaining resources -- leaving every man, woman, and child a national indebtedness of $25,000 each. What with "The Rapture" about to arrive, who'll need to pay it anyway? How did it come to this?

There must be others who've also grown past the "age of acquisition," and who are as frightened at the state of this nation as I... If this new awareness is, indeed, a natural part of the aging process, then I cannot be alone. It suggests that the prevailing attitude as exhibited by the current administration is an aberration that rises not from my generation, but from the one that followed.

Since the engine that pulls capitalism is fed primarily by the acquisitiveness of young families (first homes, appliances, vacations, education, children's needs, cars and sports equipment), would it not be smart to see to those needs first and foremost?

Perhaps -- if I were an economist -- I'd better understand that I'm being simplistic. However, most truths that have withstood time for me have proven to be elegantly simple. There may be just the seed of such a truth here. I'm a bit too wise to believe that I've solved the problem (smile).

Now it's time to work on those fingertip callouses a bit. Nope, haven't clipped those nails yet. It may take a few more days to know whether I'm committed to the Muse. But I did make a trip to Tupper & Reed Music store in downtown Berkeley yesterday to pick up a jazz guitar book that looks promising. Even recognizing that there isn't enough time for mastery, I just might reach a reasonable level of mediocrity on my instrument. When I got to the counter to pay for my purchase the young woman asked if I wanted the teacher's discount(?). I said, "no." She obviously couldn't imagine that I was buying this for myself(!).

Just blasted another stereotype!

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