What Happens When You Reach 60?

As Confucius says, “it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.” That’s the perfect string of words for describing what happens to you when you start thinking more frequently about your mortality during your so-called senior-citizen years, which AARP considers to be 50, but I consider them to actively kick in on your 60th, which for me was a little more than two year’s ago.

This is when my business acumen – along with many other major aspects of my self – started to go through a metamorphosis, whereby things that used to be vitally important started to lose their luster.

First and foremost, as some would believe, age does not bring patience – at least not for me. I have become less tolerant, for instance, of any kind of business or personal relationships that lack significant meaning. I no longer have patience for the mundane, route, repetitive nature of a job. I maintain relationships with people who are on the same wave length as me in human terms, disregarding many of the superfluous pseudo friendships and business acquaintances I accumulated over a lifetime. Suddenly I am down to only a few important people in my life in addition to my immediate family members. They become your travel partners for the rest of your life.

Useless News
I’ve lost patience for a good number of other things as well. For example, I do not accept much of the news on the major television networks these days. Unlike my parents who watched trustworthy evening news every day during the 50s and 60s, I can’t stomach the way it’s handled today, primarily because of the amount of time wasted on broadcasts that have no relevancy whatsoever to our real lives. You can indiscriminately pick any day of the week as proof. Last night, for instance, the leading piece was on the weather, of course. I know what the weather is like because all I have to do is go outside. Next there was another piece about Hillary Clinton using her personal email for government business when she was secretary of state (alright already!). Then, believe it or not, there was a short quip about McDonalds changing its menu (no joke, that was flat out a big business influence on our national news).

How about some top-notch investigative reporting on how our country’s infrastructure is falling apart and why? This would make a great series of news stories on something that is affecting our lives. Or, a story about how pharmaceutical companies have been killing people both physically and financially would be a good topic to tackle. How about reporting on the plutocracy’s power hold on our political landscape, or some informative stories on the cost of living and stagnation of the minimum wage?

If you want to get a good picture of how the major news networks decide on what gets broadcasted on our television screens, read Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington, by Sharyl Attkisson, veteran CBS news correspondent, published on November 4, 2014. Attkisson explains that in recent years it has become much harder for journalists to get important and meaningful investigative stories approved and published by management.

“Big corporations rule the world,” she writes. “They influence vast amounts of information we receive. They control some facets of government so effectively that the government has all but given up trying to resist it…. Combine complacency in the news media with the incredible publicity forces behind the political-industrial complex and you begin to understand how little of the truth you sometimes get.”

Ever wonder why the news is always the same on every network? It’s because “far more emphasis is put on watching the competition than digging up our own unique stories. We have become expert confirmers,” Attkisson explains.

This book exposes the realities of how our media feeds us news, and as I continue to read it I become more upset and angry with the way our major news media conducts business today. For me, this book has given me an urge to protest until something is done to change the way our news is composed and presented to us on the major networks.

Students Today Have a Harder Time Supporting Themselves
And speaking of protesting. . . If I were a college student today, I’d be protesting the cost of tuition and books. I am extremely disappointed by the way the cost of a higher education has panned out for my millennial-aged son and daughter. You guys are getting a bad deal. I. When I was a college student in the 70s and 80s, I was able to live independently on my own, working a full-time job while attending a state college full-time. I managed to live in an inexpensive studio apartment and fully pay my own way – tuition, books and living expenses – until I earned a degree. Today, that is impossible without incurring an enormous amount of debt. And if you have a family to support, it is much worse.

Go Green
I’m glad that the younger generation is highly attuned to protecting the environment and being fully cognizant of how our planet is teetering on a self-destructive pathway. I am losing my patience with the way big business and politicians continue to do nothing about protecting our environment. The recent rant on the Senate floor by Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, who, ironically, is chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, is a good case in point. To call all of our scientific evidence on climate change “hysteria” and then to stupidly toss out a snowball for effect was certainly a very sad indicator of how a high-level government official has utterly lost his way.

On Being a Curmudgeon and Happy
Well, sorry if I am sounding like a curmudgeon. It’s another unintended consequence of being a senior-citizen. However, I was very happy to read about a recent study by the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics claiming that we’re most satisfied and happiest during two stages of our lives, at the age of 23 and then again at the age at 69. So I still have a lot to look forward to.

As Spock (RIP) would say, “live long and prosper.”

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