I had to smile when a colleague emailed that she had to work from home that day because she needed to wait for the plumber. She's a virgin home owner, which is to say that when she and her husband bought their first house just a few months ago, she hadn't a clue what bidding adieu to a landlord meant. Mostly what it means is that you spend a lot of time waiting for plumbers.
As companies focused more on the bottom line, they began to refer to workers as "assets" and when times got tough, they looked at which "assets" to cut. "Do more with less," "Get rid of the fat," and "leaner and meaner" were the propaganda slogans that sent chills down workers' spines. Older workers quickly read the writing on the wall.
About a month ago, I was standing in front of the Woodstock display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Ohio when it happened again. A guy about my age, wearing a baseball cap over what I assumed was a balding head, sized me up and asked: 'So, were you there?' I nodded 'yes' and then what happened is pretty much what always happens.
There's lots of discussion these days about what to call people as they grow older. Nobody likes 'elderly'; 'senior' and 'senior citizen' are a scant improvement over 'elderly'; and we can argue till the cows come home exactly what 'older person' means. I'm fine with using my actual age as a descriptor. I'm a '64-year-old.' Period. What I'm not fine with is being called 'adorable.'
My doctor gave me one of those heart-to-heart talks: You need to lose some weight and exercise more, he said. The "or else" was implied. I know that being overweight increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and a million other bad things. But I just had to ask: Am I really overweight?
The voice message left on our home phone sounded very convincing. Authoritative and with a hint of menace, the caller said that the IRS Crime Investigations Unit was about to file charges for tax evasion against us -- but if we called them back right away and could explain a few things to the caller, perhaps our imminent prosecution could be averted. But only if we called him back right away.
Peggy Scott just returned home from a lovely jaunt through Italy and Greece with her college daughter, Abigail. Abby was finishing up a semester abroad and her Mom joined her over there. Peggy's Facebook feed was filled with photos. It was a trip where Abby, having spent the semester abroad and with a newly acquired knowledge of all things European, took the lead.
I spotted something on Facebook the other day that caused a parenting flashback. A woman posted how her overweight husband was at a school function when at some point during the festivities, her young daughter whispered in his ear and asked him to please leave. Why? Some of her classmates were commenting on his weight, calling him things like "fatso."
It's safe to say that Clippers soon-to-be-former owner Donald Sterling is a poster boy for how not to apologize. Surely, it can't be that hard, even if you are a multi-billionaire who likes to parade around with strange-looking chicks on your arm. (I'm sorry; that was an uncalled-for and mean remark.)
I've been around the dieting block a couple of times myself. OK, more than a couple. Right now, I'm in that unenviable spot of having no clothes that fit comfortably while I'm in a stare-down contest with summer. Who's going to blink first: My need to lose my winter poundage or that bathing suit I won't wear unless I do?
Life, overall, is pretty sweet. Aging turns out not to be the demon I feared. Largely, I'm happy and healthy and know how to throw the car in reverse for those times when I'm not. But on a recent nasty commute home, I thought of 7 things that would so sincerely improve life for midlifers (at least this midlifer.)