Thursday, August 10, 2017

A New Thrill at 91 - Driving! And some thoughts on What constitutes THE GOOD LIFE (As I've seen it!)

At my families request, I gave up driving our 2006 Pontiac!  Oh, I still think I'm the best driver in the family, but it's hard to find anyone who agrees with me. Fearful that an unexpected accident might prove them right, I gave up my keys! I truly enjoy public transportation, can endure metro's flaws,  and may someday go against my prejudice and even take Uber.

When I realized that merely walking causes intense pain in my lower back, I found a marvelous teen thrill - being old/mature enough to get behind a steering wheel!  It happened amazingly in the most unlikely place - the shopping mecca, COSTCO! Without needing a drivers license or insurance, with 30 seconds of instruction, I found myself tooling around the wide aisles from the Hearing Center to the Pharmacy to the abundance of free samples and other retiree Shangri La's.

Once again being open to simple new experiences has enabled me to see how full and "rich" my life has been - for 61 pre-retirement years and almost 31 since.  And it causes me to ponder and puzzle:

How is this possible? What factors account for a good life for so many - like me - in my generation and is it going to be available for my kids and grandkids?

  • Surely good health is important!  But I know of some who feel as I do about their lives who have experienced great suffering.
  • I've had sufficient income. It seems especially important in these retirement years. How fortunate I am that Social Security and a good STATE pension system (from a career in education) make it possible for me to enjoy life during these 31 years of retirement. Yet I am very pessimistic with the direction of American society where a number of critical factors from impatience to have everything "right now" to poor distribution of wealth makes retirement opportunities like mine less likely. Surely I realize many other factors have been involved. However many in my generation have joined me in living the good life not because of our planning, but because the norms of society were structured to provide us with this benefit.
  • I continue to be impressed with the opportunities in other developed nations for middle-class folks to have retirement and vacation opportunities not available to most in our middle-class. Relatives of mine in Germany ranging from policeman to teachers appear to have sufficient middle class salaries that provide adequate health care and other benefits including lengthy vacation time for meaningful travel.
  • But this just scratches the surface of the things I marvel at from my youth that provided our lower middle class (especially income-wise) to have very satisfactory life experiences and doors opened for the further life I have experienced. 
  • "The fullness of my retirement living RIGHT NOW" prevents me from the many thoughts I'd like to share.  Thoughts about "the good old days" that cause some to think that America was once great!  Perhaps I'll enlarge on them in two weeks when I next Rant! 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Why I keep Ranting and Raving at 91!

Perhaps there are some who wonder (just as I have) what impels me to compose and circulate these Rants and Raves as a nonagenarian. While some occasionally have been read by a fairly large audience, the great majority have not had many readers, and only one or two of them has stimulated thoughtful responses. This is especially true in my last Rant concerning my views on statehood for Washington DC. There was nary any talk-back regarding a topic that I thought would engender ridicule, if nothing else.  I've wondered sometimes if it were only my family who inflate my ego and reads these (ed. I'm sure most of them are even too busy to do so).

 Yet I feel almost compelled, yea driven to do so. In moments of self-analysis I find many explanations for this kind of "activism".
  • Ever since retiring from public school work, I felt I was free, for the first time as I moved to DC, to express myself on controversial, especially political, events.
  • And I have NEVER in my lifetime felt our nation so endanger - particularly by polarization - than I do at present,
  • From the use of Reddit's, "Ask Me Anything" I grew accustomed to having an audience of thousand asking me questions and seeking advice.
  • I've had a lifelong compulsion to be useful, and feel that I should continue to try to make a difference by helping and do my part to try to make the world better.
  • I've long felt that one of the greatest problems in society is a lack of inter-generational interaction and other failures of communication between segments of our society.. I particularly feel that the speed of change has  relegated the experience and insights of  "the older generation" to the sidelines and society has not benefited enough from their view of past mistakes and accomplishments.
  • And on a very intimate and personal level, I've marveled at the clarity of inspiration that has come to me on quite a regular basis about 3:30 AM "too frequently and thought-provokingly" for me to ignore. And though I am not a believer in the "god" I was exposed to  my entire  life in liberal churches, I feel that I join Samuel of biblical history in being given some inspiration, creative insight, whatever, that forces me to think more clearly and contemplate action.  I KNOW it is not "god"!  But there is something from the solitude of sleep or nature that provides inspiration and compunction for thought and action.
Thus I'll continue to "have my say" in my Rants..  Whether they are read or not is immaterial - it provides me satisfaction - yea relief - to express my feelings.  I may do it more (or even less) than every Thursday.  You can check periodically.  Remember you can always put the blogs on a header or app.(or whatever it is called).

And speaking of another venture; after one month – Reddit's policy requires a six month waiting period – I'll open myself to answering questions from those who care to ask a question of a 90+ years oldster.  I've had a great time answering over 2000 questions during several previous sessions.