June 26, 2009

Baby Boomers - This has been a week of awareness of our mortality

Three cultural icons of our Baby Boomer Generation passed away this week and I will remember this week as a transition into increased awareness of the phases throughout our lives.

Edward Leo Peter "Ed" McMahon, Jr.
(March 6, 1923 – June 23, 2009)

Farrah Fawcett
(February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009)

Michael Joseph Jackson
(August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Youth has a natural protection within it’s mind of foreverness. When you’re young, you have absolutely no idea of what forever means, and as we grow older, we realize that we will actually never know what forever means, but we grow very aware that we are never going to gain that knowledge! We all can remember when we were very young, when all we wanted to do was grow up, mostly so that we can make our own decisions. This really only enters our minds when we have been told by our parents to do something that we didn’t want to do. Some of us may actually experience knowledge of a family member or even a young friend dying, but we still will not realize the concept of death. Each day lasts forever as we are only in the moment of whatever toy or game we may be playing.

NOTE - (As a side note here, I have to say that I am obviously speaking from the perspective of having a happy youth. I have no way of knowing the horrors that some children all over the world experience of a life of hunger or war. These children lose their childhood innocence immediately as they struggle only to survive the day)

We then go through some various phases of life, searching for ourselves, combined with what our elders have told us and the experiences we hopefully learn from. Personally speaking, from my experiences, I look at life in segments of decades in relation to how our lives change.

  • 20’s - These are the times of subtle change as we seem to slide from being cared for to rebelling direction in order to make our own choices. These are the years of showing ourselves that we have a better way...we will correct the mistakes we observed from all the years previous. These are actually the years when we make the most mistakes and yet, learn the most from them. We may not be aware of this or put corrections into action, but we retain these mistakes and they help us later.

  • 30’s - I think of this as real mid-life, not physically or in lifespan, but in that we more or less, keep moving forward, as a ship at sea with no particular destination...working on whatever directions and paths we started in the previous decade. We don’t make a lot of big changes here. We partly think we made the correct choices or at least the changes we have to live with. I also lived through the most physical pain in my 30’s, most likely from the mistakes of foolishness of the previous years.

  • 40’s - The age of enlightenment! This is still not awareness of mortality, but more so that it’s time to get serious about correcting the mistakes and pains of our lives. It is usually the time that both male and female go through what has been called, “the change”. For men, that has been labeled as going nuts and trying to be youthful. I personally think that the people who use this phrase are jealous of those who wake up, shape up and begin correcting their lives. We also begin to be more aware of loss of a parent or perhaps a friend of similar age, which adds to our thoughts of making changes that would lead us to that same end. We start to think about our careers and bad choices. We think we should eat healthier and exercise, especially if we have neglected those for so long. I made huge changes during this decade. After losing my father who died of a sudden heart attack, was a life time smoker and over-weight, I seriously started eating healthy, started exercising and lost nearly 100 pounds and never looked better, nor felt better in my whole life! This feeling good also made me question my marriage and futile efforts to wait for it’s problems to go away. I made the biggest, life impacting decisions of my life during my fourth decade.

  • 50’s - As I am currently in this decade, I do not have the full perspective of it’s life effect, but I am on the ending years of it, so I do have some perspective. This has been a phase of re-thinking my career choices and realization that I have worked for nearly 22 years doing something with a pure purpose of providing for my family’s income and standard of living. This was not a bad thing, as it was a good job that allowed my family to live a middle income lifestyle...not rich, but not poor. I struggled to find ways to enable this job fulfill some purpose to my happiness and legacy, and only hit constant blockage, partly due to my own inadequacy and lack of direction and care of those who love life in a corporation. I ultimately found that I was just a square peg in a round hole environment. I began to search for what I could do for a living that would also feed my inner happiness. Many times throughout my life, I found that life or divine purpose made decisions for me. I am a profound advocate of “everything happens for a reason”. The hard part is that it may take years to discover that reason...but as I have told so many.... you WILL discover it!

I will obviously continue this effort as I gain the experience of life, but I have gained some insight as to what people in their next possible four decades may realize. I have seen and heard my mother, who is now 91 and living in a nursing home, suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease....tell me often, “David...you don’t know what it’s like to be.....(fill in the age)!” and I think I am starting to “understand her.” This week was a definite spike in this learning!

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