Cheryl Pappas
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Archive for January, 2011

Black, White, and Red-Faced All Over(Xmas In L.A.)

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

All you have to do these days to get a beat on the mood of the country is to scan the front page of the Huffington Post.

Of course, actually reading the articles might be even better.

But, for those who have lost the stomach for details about the enraged, insane state of the union, just pull up the front page.

Take a look at the headlines of the blogs, what’s going on out there, and what people are choosing to write about.

Today you will see everything from “Anti-gay church to Protest Elizabeth Edwards Funeral”, “The terrorist threat? Mariah Carey?”, the equally absurd, (IMHO), “Democrats Need To Back Obama”, and the intelligent counter to that, (again IMHO), “Senator Bernie Sanders: My Filibuster of the Tax Deal”. (Thank God for Bernie).

You might also catch on that home page, “Watch Stewart (Jon): Obama Losing his Patience With American People”, which I would personally rewrite and change to “Obama Losing The American People”. But that’s just me.

Red-faced is my way of describing strangers I see through numerous anonymous encounters, everywhere. People are mad as hell!

En route to my office this week, I ran into the post office and joined a particularly spicy line of broiling people. One woman dressed in Chanel was hotly berating an employee who was helping another costumer. People were vocally in support of Ms. Chanel; the going in the line was slow. I looked behind me to see a woman who appeared to be a peaceful, even hippyish presence, at least in her physicality. She and several others looked me in the eye and rolled their eyes, as if to say,

“On top of having to wait, do we need to be around out-of-control monsters?”

This woman muttered sotto voce a few words to that effect, which launched us into a mini-sound bite commentary. Here’s the strange thing: though her social views were indeed from a long ago peaceful era, she told me she is a member of the Tea Party!

She voted for Obama, and we mutually voiced our disappointment. She then spoke of her alignment with the Tea Party. Not at all, she assured me, is she with them on social issues. Of course, she said, she is staunchly pro-choice, pro-women, and pro-gay.

At this point, my turn had come to mail my package.

As I exited the post office, this self-described 50-something “lefty” and well-spoken woman approached me to say how much she enjoyed speaking with me.

I am flummoxed to find that nothing is black or white anymore.

It is understated to say that we live in complicated times where perceived enemies and friends, alike, turn out not to be who we think they are.

The only truth that is obvious is the escalating rage and deepening of the color red in the faces of the American people.

Christmas doesn’t seem to be delivering its famous cheerful distraction yet this year.

Why All the Boomer Fearmongering?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

“HOLD ONTO YOUR SOCKS BOOMERS
YOU’RE ABOUT TO HIT THE WALL!!”

These are the bold-fonted pearls of a January 14, 2011 article in Salem-News.com by a Dr. Phil Leveque.

Leveque is one of a mass of seemingly sinister and curiously motivated terror “journalists” announcing the death of all good things, particularly financial well-being, for aging baby boomers.

Maybe you’ve noticed this trumped-up media hysteria.

I say it’s time to launch an all-out movement to take back our lives, incorporating both today’s social changes we didn’t imagine or vote for, as well as our unique childhood mid-century grounding.

Yes, we really can move out of helplessness, depression, and the doom of America’s insistence on our demise, and land up, up, and away into a new, improved force to be reckoned with.

While it is indisputable that we are getting older and the world is changing faster than an urgent round of grocery-shopping texts, (“I’m like, in Gelson’s and going, Oreos or biscotti?”).

Let’s not forget one of our seminal boomer mantras, “Question Authority”. Remember that one? How do you think we can use this today?

The first question to ask, rather than ingest this nonsense about our lost future and relevance, is: who are these non-authorities blasting voices of our doom and why are they saying such terrible things about us?

Whether it’s a vanishing social security or the dire health care cost projections, the end of professional power platforms and creative opportunity for boomers is being announced in the media everywhere.

If we are to believe what we hear and read—and really, couldn’t we just stop doing that?—we are told to basically fold up our luxury tents and get over it. Because apparently we are over. If you Google “boomers”, you’ll see what I mean.

I am not at all pretending that this is an “awesome” time of continued peace and prosperity. Obviously, these political and economic days find us stunned, befuddled, unprepared.

Boomers may be borrowing a younger generation’s own mantra, “It’s All Good”, but we don’t own or live that. We’ve been there when it did seem “all good”, at least relative to the narcissistic now.

I remember a time when it seemed that many more people were responsive to injustice, outspoken, physically marching for decency and on behalf of others en mass, even if justice had not fully arrived.

So let’s all wait a minute. Yes, we have been “replaced” by an android industrial society belonging to an increasingly foreign “young”, even if we pretend otherwise. Yes, we’re often pretending that we are organically a part of it all while being phased off the dehumanizing grid. Okay, okay. So ultimately our past life experience is over. Gone is the mid-century anthem of “The Good Life”, (all the more reason to celebrate Tony Bennett as a national treasure).

Any thinking person knows that there is an enormous amount of change to digest, featuring the extreme departure from boomer childhood, an insanely optimistic moment in the mid-century sun.

We are now hard hit by financial, career, and lifestyle mid-life challenges. The old idea of mid-life crisis, exponentially jacked up.

In the words of John Lennon: “Nobody told us there’d be days like these”.

As boomers, it’s way premature to disappear from our place and further contributions to society. The fat lady who sings at the end of our story hasn’t even been born yet. We are not even close to finished.

Instead, our job is to bring forth the internalized genius—opportunity, music, innovative self-expression– we grew up absorbing, and yes, rewrite a new future from the one that is being forced upon us.

Easier said than done, but necessary.

We could start with refusing to let the gravediggers hasten our psychological and spiritual death. When you encounter those cultural boomer “death notices”, whether written for the New York Times or appearing in any of thousands of questionable internet rags, spit them out. It is enough to digest real change. We do not need to swallow negative projections.

This collection of articles in the form of “factual” forecasts and the flood of announcements of a “boomer crash” might as well be called, “Boomers in Hell”. Let’s instead embark on boomeranging back to strengths; channeling the understandable, but poisonous rage and coming back to who we are.

It is, as always, up to each one of us to question toxic prophesy and resurrect our lives with innovative careers and life experiences.

It is essential for boomers to deliberately value and call upon their imagination and build true personal strength—not be trapped in a false, rage-fueled entitlement of victimization.

Let’s commit to the daring endeavor of consciously defining and living a meaningful second act.

Starting now.



    
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