Yesterday I got old.
And today I cannot believe the incredible freedom I feel.
Allow me to bring you up to speed. No, yesterday wasn’t my 30th, 40th, nor 50th birthday. Those are pretty far in the rear-view mirror. Nor was it some monumental issue like the death of a good friend, or the birth of a grandchild.
Yesterday I was doing what I have been doing daily for the previous 148 days. Looking for a job. Since October 23rd I have been on a quest to become once again gainfully employed.
So yesterday, after having done my daily scouring of LinkedIn, GlassDoor, Zip Recruiter, and Indeed I went to my search engine and typed in ‘Jobs for over 50’. After all I do qualify for the category.
AARP, GlassDoor, Indeed…they’re all there, plus articles on ‘How to get a job if you’re over 50’, ‘Job-Hunting After 50: The New Rules’, and ‘The Best Jobs for Women Over 50’. I don’t see much to gain from that last article.
“Well hell, I qualify for ‘Jobs for over 60’. Just barely but I qualify.” I mean I feel that I can compete with most 50-somethings in the job market, but why not increase my appeal by looking a decade older?
I typed in ‘Jobs for over 60’.
There it was. In print. Staring me right in the face. Unashamed, unabashed, bold, bright, and blatant.
’15 In-Demand Jobs for Seniors’, Senior Job Bank, ‘The 10 Best Part-time Jobs for Seniors’, ‘Best jobs For Seniors Over 60’.
I’m a senior. I had never really considered the possibility. Never entertained the thought.
Oh sure I know how old I am. I don’t try to hide my gray, instead I freely admit that “I have earned every one of my gray hairs.”
That was yesterday, when I got old.
Today is Day One of being old…and something incredibly transforming is happening.
Today I feel freer, lighter, unconventional, unstructured, unrestricted. It’s like all of the struggle to compete with 50-somethings, 40-somethings, 30-somethings, and yes even some 20-somethings is gone. Vanished. Poof.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have past due bills after being out of work for 5 months that need to be paid.
But there is a summer morning dawn freshness that is engulfing me that I cannot explain.
This is so diametrically opposed to the dark gloom that has at times completely engulfed me to the point of a deathly depression. The panic, the uncertainty, the pressure, the stress.
This is such an unburdening I wish it for all of those 20,30,40,50-somethings that are grinding away under the system. I know that sounds like an old hippie striving against the ‘man’ and the ‘system’, but that’s not what this is about.
It’s simply me trying to understand what has happened, and what did happen over the past 148 days.
Now the interviews with no offer make more sense.
Now the comment “It’s probably just a generational thing.” about my not understanding a table-top scenario that had zombies as it’s focal point makes sense. The Security Manager in Austin that I was interviewing with saw me as old. I didn’t. For the record I never got into zombies. I’m more of a vampire guy…Bram Stoker not Stephenie Meyers.
Now the 15-minute interview before sending me on my way after me driving 11 hours to Austin for a different interview makes sense. She saw my gray hair and dismissed my abilities after reaching out to me when she reviewed my resume sans photo.
I am not going to make this a gripe session. I feel too good to do that.
I just feel free.
Free to be honest about my age and my qualifications.
Free say I spent way too many years in radio, bouncing from station to station trying to ‘make it’, to have set myself up to retire early. And that I’ve made mistakes (with all due respect to Frank Sinatra, I’m not going into a chorus of ‘My Way’) in my career…mostly in dealing with people because I have high expectations for myself and others.
Free to write plays…and blog entries.
Free to grow a pony-tail if I want… but not while looking for a job.
Free, happy, relieved, ecstatic, and confounded by this lightness. This is so weird. I am smh while grinning like a Cheshire Cat. (See, I can sort of be no more than a decade behind).
I think I know why. Because yesterday I got old.
Now I’m off to look for a job…
~Gene Gee, 3.21.19
Slices of life are not simple, uncomplicated stories. They contain real desperation and real hope, real tears and real relief, real villains and real heroes. One such hero is the brave lady who wrote this honest, painful, wounded account of a slice of life.
It lets us all know we are not alone in our experiences, and there is comfort in that.
In an old family album, there’s a cracked and yellowed snapshot of three children standing in front of a white and brown clapboard house that’s most certainly somewhere in Los Angeles. The lanky, mop-haired child in the center is my Aunt Shirley at age seven. She’s holding the hands of her siblings: Clifford, age four, and Patricia, my mom, who was a chubby tow-headed toddler of two. I love the sweetness and innocence of this photo. I look at their young faces and I see the adults I later knew. Shirley has a faraway smile. Clifford, dressed in oversized blue jeans and suspenders, purses his lips to form a straight line with his mouth. His eyes squint into the sun as he poses dutifully for the camera. And my mother, Pat, has a brooding look on her face, as if the day was just not going the way she’d hoped.
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OK, I am not a big fan of politicians in general. No, it’s safe to say that I am not a big fan of politicians…period.
I see them as a necessary evil…emphasis on the word evil…in our system of government. A system of government that elects their decision makers is better than other historical and present alternatives, but it does create an interesting multi-layered conundrum. That discussion is for another time.
Today, I wish to look at the assumption that those people we elect, that those decision makers we put into places of power, that the ones choosing our collective destinies are in fact leaders.
The Oxford Dictionary defies a leader as: “The person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.”
Merriam-Webster’s definition of leader is: “Something that leads: [like] a primary or terminal shoot of a plant.” The secondary definition is: ” A person who leads: [like] a guide, conductor.”
While I would love to look at the numerous allegorical comparisons to elected officials and Merriam-Webster’s primary definition, it would be somewhat akin to shooting fish in a barrel and thereby reduce the enjoyment of the exercise. So let’s look at the other “Leader” descriptions.
“A person who leads.”
Seems simple enough. We voted them in. They make decisions that affect us. Then I suppose they’re leaders, right? WRONG!
They are in the positions they hold by and large because they are they are perceived as the lesser of two evils. There’s that word again…evil.
They are not leaders…they are the receivers of more than have the votes from less than half of the eligible voters. And the leadership void is all too evident in this country.
No wonder on a single elected official made Fortune’s list of the Greatest World Leaders for 2015.
“That was a luscious nap” I said to myself just before going out on the terrace to take a whiz on the potted plant below much to the chagrin of Mrs. Huntington my nosey widow neighbor who believes that I am prematurely senile or delusional; when in fact I am fully in control of my faculties and am just doing this to piss her off.
A life should be called nothing but a sloth-like existence that does not include growth, regardless of the age. It is precisely this that I am telling myself this morning in hopes of convincing myself that there is some ultimate positive result around the corner from this pain, of sorts.
Yes, I do suppose ‘pain’ would be an appropriate, term. It certainly isn’t a pleasurable feeling, and it has all the earmarks of pain…discomfort, anxiousness, agitation, foreboding, lack of control. Ah! There it is. Lack of control.
The issue isn’t that my wonderfully mature mid-20’s daughter hasn’t returned my texts or calls for 2 hours, and there is urgent information I need. No it’s that she didn’t jump to respond to my communication efforts (all 6 of them) immediately after I sent them.
She is a woman, not a little girl any more.
She is 25, not 18 any more.
She is in control of her life. Not me any more.
And that is as it should be.
So based on the discomfort of change, based on the realization that change is most often necessary for growth, based on the cornerstone concept that growth is necessary to keep living a life; I suppose in some unconventional way I am living life more fully than I was a couple of hours ago.
How does my family put up with me?
OK, it’s time to be me. With all of my harshness, cynicism and sarcasm it is who I am.
In recent months, the insecurity led nastiness has subsided, and I am a happier person less prone to unreasonable and aggressive posturing. Some would have referred to these incidents as manic, unhinged, unprovoked and/or just plain frightening. They wouldn’t have been very far from wrong in their assessment.
Having done much soul-searching and corrective actions deep in my psyche I feel happier, less threatened, and more loving and lovable.
What that DOES NOT change is the fact that I still see the majority of the world as silly (at best), self-serving, non-compassionate, agenda driven sheep who embrace mediocrity.
I am back, and I shall be shedding light on the ignorance of life in the 21st Century.
A Drunk Cowboy walks into a bar, sees a well trained soldier and punches him. Soldier says, “Don’t do that.”
Drunk Cowboy continues to punch, yell at and annoy the soldier. Soldier says “What’s your problem?!”
Drunk Cowboy says “I want that stool”. Soldier and girlfriend move to other end of the bar for some peace and quiet.
Drunk cowboy keeps yelling at Soldier down the bar, walking down to him, punching him, and threatens his date. As Soldier returns from the restroom, he sees Drunk Cowboy grabbing his girlfriend and trying to pull her away from their seats, and his training goes into action.
He confronts Drunk Cowboy, who takes a full swing at the Soldier and Soldier proceeds to knock the Drunk Cowboy out.
Who was in the wrong in this story?
I know it sounds like a trick question form a school exam…and it sort of is.
You see, #Hamas and #Hezbollah are Drunk Cowboys.
(My sincerest appologies to cowboys)