Twitter meme shows changing times

Twitter meme shows changing times

I recently heard about a Twitter meme called #firstsevenjobs. A meme, if you don’t know, is an activity or image spread rapidly by internet users.

The objective with this particular meme is to list your first seven jobs, starting from the first time you received pay from someone other than your parents.

Some of the lists show how far we’ve come as a society. Here is Buzz Aldrin’s list:

“Dishwasher. Camp counselor. Fighter pilot. Astronaut. Commandant. Speaker. Author . . . now Global Space Statesman!”

How the world has changed since Aldrin’s first job in the late 1940s, when man only dreamed of walking on the moon, to today, when we actually have a call for a global space statesman.

Aldrin’s career trajectory was fairly linear — not a lot of weaving but rather rocket-ship-like propulsion to astronaut status and beyond. The career progression of most of us is not that direct.

Sole searching for comfort

Sole searching for comfort

My cocker spaniel, Rolo, has gradually lost most of his eyesight. When I’m in the kitchen, he stares intently at my feet because his vision is so poor. If I walk toward the refrigerator or the pantry he knows there might be a treat for him.

I’m thankful no humans stare that closely at my feet because I say with a hint of regret that I am now consigned to wearing “comfort shoes.”

Until recently I didn’t know there was such a term.

While I never was a fashionista, what I did know is that it seemed harder and harder to find comfortable stylish shoes and sandals.

I walk through shoe departments and sigh at all the lovely styles that will just not work for me—heels too high, toe box too narrow, slippery soles and flats with no arch support.

At almost 60, why is shoe shopping such a challenge?

Matching gifts are often overlooked

Matching gifts are often overlooked

Paid vacations, sick leave, health insurance and retirement plans are benefits companies commonly offer their employees.

But, as part of their commitment to corporate philanthropy, many employers offer another benefit that is frequently overlooked: a matching gift program designed to support the nonprofits their employees are passionate about.

Today, one-third of all employees in America are baby boomers (age 52 and older). Nearly half say they don’t expect to retire until they are 66 or older, and 10 percent say they will never retire.

Not only are boomers a large population of the workforce, but they are one of the largest charitable donor generations.

According to Blackbaud, a supplier of donor management software, 72 percent of baby boomers donate to charity, with the average boomer giving $1,212 to an average of 4.5 charities.

Reality of death is hitting baby boomers hard

We all know that death is a part of life, but as a baby boomer today, it can uncover new emotions.

I think my personal experience might reflect what some boomers are experiencing.

While I’m blessed that my parents are still living, I’ve seen the loss of grandparents and my in-laws. And while there was sadness and grief, I was comforted by the fact that they had lived long lives.

Death was around in my teen and college years, too. I lost schoolmates to drug overdoses, car accidents and disease. But as I experienced those tragedies, I had the cumulative shoulders of my classmates to share my grief.

Until recently, though, it had been a long span between deaths, sort of like the epidemic of weddings I attended in my 20s and then their long absence until our friends’ children were ready to tie the knot.

Then I received news that Randi, my best childhood friend, had died. 

How to be a ‘good kid’ for the holidays

Since I was old enough to have a piggy bank, each holiday season I’d ask my mother and father what they wanted for Christmas.

Their answer: “All we want are good kids.”

Of course my childhood refrain was, “You always say that, but what else do you want that I can buy for you?”

I knew gift giving would be much easier if I could purchase a drugstore perfume for my mom and a necktie for my dad and have it over with. But no, that was not good enough for my parents. Their expectation of being a good kid was code for living by the values they tried to instill in us.

Fast-forward 50-plus years and it’s clear to me that their request, while a tall order, was really the gift they most wanted, even though being a good kid became a moving target as the years went by.

The vanishing vacation

I used to enjoy vacations. I’ve traveled to many places, including Ireland, Aruba, Hawaii, Mexico, London and India. I enjoyed trying new foods, learning about different cultures, seeing historical sights and meeting new people.

Now, however, most of the vacations my husband and I take are centered on visiting our families back East. “They aren’t going to live forever” and “What could be better than quality time with family?” is our thinking.

Work has been an inhibitor, too. If it isn’t one priority keeping me from taking extra time off, it’s another. In addition, my husband works in finance, and it seems tax season, quarter-end or year-end reporting keeps him tethered to the office.

I know in my gut that time off is medicine. It can help me to destress and reduce anxiety. Time off can help me recharge my battery and come back to work refreshed.

Busy in retirement

I’ve heard it more than once: “I’m retired, but I’m busier now than I ever was.”

Many retirees who think back to their work life will remember early morning meetings, working through lunches, getting home late at night (and working some more), all the while miraculously having enough time to raise kids, do household chores, run errands, feed the dog and keep appointments.

Yes, it was exhausting, but they got it all done, day in and day out, week after week, for years. So why in retirement, with 40 to 50 “free” hours previously taken up by work, is life just as busy?
 
According to a recent Psychology Today article, “The Need to Be Busy,” humans are the only species to feel the need to be busy.

Been there myself

Readers of this column know that I often write candidly about family situations and experiences.

Just last month I trekked to cold and snowy Boston to care for my sister. She is ill with a chronic disease. There is much I’d like to write about her situation.

For example, there’s the financial impact of a disease whose treatment requires a drug that costs $3,000 per month. Or the dynamics of living with a condition that forces the patient to be homebound, prompting other family members to assume new roles. Or the critical reliance by the patient on an array of medications, despite a desperate wish to be off all of them.

I want to write that column— but I’m hindered by the feeling that my sister would be embarrassed. I

Boomer Bootcamp gives tools for our future

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How do we manage the impact aging boomers will have on society? How do we care for our aging parents? What’s the best way to deal with life’s challenges? If only we were having active conversations about these topics. Why? Because we need to be having this dialogue now if we are to uncover how we, individually and as a society, will deal with the dilemmas of aging. Whether we are talking about ourselves, our community or even society as a whole, aging brings with it a bucketload of dilemmas. We all have our own opinions about developing affordable healthcare and housing, finding work for aging Americans, managing the challenges of caring for a loved one with chronic diseases and even dealing with cultural biases against the old. It’s easy to see what a challenging time we live in. The population is graying, and there are as many reasons to address the changes we need to make as there are not to. But one thing is certain: ignoring issues regarding aging won’t make us better as a...

I care for Mom, but who will care for me?

Older Woman Thinking

Here’s a five-question quiz to take and share with friends. 1. What percentage of baby boomers think they will need long-term care (help with daily activities) as they age, and what percentage actually will need long-term care? 2. What percentage of long term care is provided by family or friends? 3. If there are seven potential (unpaid) family caregivers (age 45 to 64) for every person over 80 today, how many will there be in 30 years? 4. What percentage of baby boomers have no idea of the cost of home care or nursing care? 5. What percentage of baby boomers have enough funds saved to pay for their own long term care? Answers: 1. 36 percent and 70 percent 2. 80 percent 3. Three 4. 80 percent 5. 10 percent Based on two recently released studies, one by AARP and the second by Bankers Life and Casualty Company’s Center for a Secure Retirement, most boomers won’t have enough money to pay for their own care and will be far less able to rely on family and friends for help. ...
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