A close-to-the-heart friend offered suggestions on ways I could produce more robust income streams – sign up as a home aide with a visiting health care agency, get a job as an Activities Director at a nursing home – or – “If you want to reach people before they get to the Nursing Home stage, try working at an Assisted Living Organization as an Activities Director.” Sigh… One of my nearest & dearest, yet she hasn’t a clue about how I’m experiencing my here & now calling. My heart’s desire is to open the eyes of young middles olders to the importance & value of aging ever upward. AT EVERY STAGE, including what’s though of as OLD.
Face it – the only person who is NOT “getting up there in years” is dead. A person’s point of view on growing “elderly” begins in the cradle & grows from there. But unlike every previous generation, stretching back through millennia, many people in their 50s & younger didn’t experience multiple generations regularly rubbing elbows, living in the same town or nearby, getting together en masse at least once a year. Sunday dinners a la Blue Bloods are increasingly rare, which is sad because food has created a sense of community, a sense of bonding, of shared moments. Through the millennia.
What my friend doesn’t understand is that we’re in a moment that’s unique – and scary. We are in totally unknown terrain, flying blind & most people don’t know it. They increase their use of social media, which isolates more than it connects. Increase their screen time, which stresses as much as it informs. Let very little children use digital devices, in spite of warnings about the long-term damage they do. Digital devices make a joke of privacy, expose millions to ID theft, do as much damage as good. Yet millions upon millions continue to get utterly in their thrall, even outright addicted.
We are an increasingly divided nation, which was EXACTLY Osama Bin Laden’s aim when he directed our own planes, loaded with men women children, against our own buildings. His knew the USA wouldn’t be destroyed by turning iconic buildings into rubble, murdering thousands of people, destroying many more thousands lives. It was to create a breach for the inexorable crush of the worst parts of human nature bearing down on a tiny opening, ripping it open, tossing & crashing the structure of our nation from a bulwark of democracy to its own pile of rubble.
What my friend doesn’t understand is that my here & now calling is to be one of the countless human cattle prods zapping people into awareness of the crazies all around us, looking to suck us in, to bring us down, to make the United States another example of a great nation being brought down by our own obliviousness, our unwillingness to see hard issues in a clear light, to look back to the quick sand of our origins that’s sucked us under ever since a slave holder wrote ‘All men are created equal.’ ”
There’s sure no job title for it. And it is essential that we step up, embrace it & get to work patching up that hole that was blown in our national psyche seventeen years ago.
She might not get it, but I do & that’s what matters.