A decade ago, I was still working full time at my “day job” and was stationed at The Tallassee Tribune. I was still writing a weekly newspaper column, and a rumination on completing another decade of existence was titled “Nothing rhymes with ‘60’” (vs. cutesy phrases like “Lordy, lordy — look who’s 40” and “Ain’t it nifty — So-and-So’s 50”).
The now-10-years-old commentary reflected on how someone should contemplate his/her status regarding health (to include weight), career accomplishments, financial status, relationships, etc. There was also advocacy “…to remember persons who were my own age — former classmates, usually — who have already crossed the way.”
The 2010 column noted “senior citizenship looming on the horizon,” and concluded with an expectation of writing “a similar meditation in ten years.”
So here ’tis.
I retired from full-time work at the end of 2015, six months after I turned 65. I’ve continued to stay active as a writer. Doing so keeps the ol’ noggin sharp; i.e., one can become a “couch potato” mentally/intellectually as well as physically if he/she slows down too much in senior years.
And physically, I’ve gone in the opposite direction of the stereotype — four and a half years after my last day at work, I’ve lost over 20 pounds.
That said, it takes an active and ongoing effort to maintain that lower weight, including regular cardiovascular workouts.
And for most folks, what’s curious about the time frame of 60 to 70 is how radically different the first half of your sixties are compared to the second half (if you retire at 65).
Yes, there’s a lot of spare time, and I’ve been able to accomplish a number of “bucket list” items.
However, for better or worse, there have been a lot of profound changes in this country that have made me grateful I went ahead and got a lot of sightseeing done within a year after I retired.
For that matter, a disproportionate number of changes seem to have occurred since the first of the year, and many of them are significant. Consider the following trends and events (not in any particular order):
We can’t shake hands or hug each other anymore, and that’s going to be the status quo for the foreseeable future.
Politicians are increasingly perceived as malevolent buffoons instead of leaders.
We’ve been made aware of the differences between “protests” and “riots.”
One new odious/faddish term, “cancel culture,” is downright scary. Whatever happened to “boycott”?
Howard Beale’s rants from “Network”(particularly his news-as-show-business fulmination) continue to come to pass. Someone needs to check whether the numbers of rioters in metropolitan areas merit the amount of coverage they’ve been getting in the media.
Social media still continues to be unreliable and/or egocentric. There are so-called celebrities on social media who have no discernible talent whatsoever. Their sole objective is to become famous, period.
Numerous statues and buildings, as well as names of sports teams, are under attack, sometimes literally/physically. Some of the statues seem to have been pulled down indiscriminately, validating such actions are anarchistic.
Lifestyles and behavior that are non-traditional seem to be getting — like rioters — a disproportionate amount of coverage in media.
Many show-business personalities, pro sports participants and other entertainers continue to fancy themselves as socio-political philosophers simply because they have a public forum. It’s their right to speak out, of course, but why should we pay attention to folks employed in fantasy professions (Paging Ricky Gervais)?
Vera Lynn, a true patriot and icon for Great Britain during World War II (“We’ll Meet Again,” “White Cliffs of Dover”), recently died at age 103.
Some of the previous snippets might make me look like a grumpy old man. So be it.
And one wonders if the term (and demographic) “Silent Majority” will become valid again.
Several months ago, an employee of the guitar magazine for which I am still writing opined living in such a time in American history is like sailing into “uncharted waters.” Couldn’t agree more.
That said, this system is still the most workable in the world — warts, rust and all.
If I’m still around in 10 years (and still coherent) I’ll try for another “0”-based perspective.
And as of now, I can’t think of a word that rhymes with “80”…
Willie G. Moseley is news editor emeritus for The Tallassee Tribune and is working on his 14th book.