Denial as Anxiety Management

16 Mar

Consider for a moment, a staggering reality; for the next 19 years, 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach 65 every single day.  Now of course this is only an estimate, because although lifespans are considerably longer than they were 100 years ago, we are also cramming 100 times more environmental toxins, processed foods and hours logged in front of the television.  As a result, those numbers could be less.

On the flip side, medical technology continues to improve and every single day for the next 19 years, scientists will also be continuing to find ways to help us live longer, so the number could be spot on. This doesn’t include the undocumented Boomer aged people who might not have been counted in the last census, so here I go again, being all confusing yet equally shocking.

No matter the exact number, it is a fact that the economics of the population aging so rapidly produce some pretty overwhelming challenges for us as a country. Unless there is a planet killer asteroid heading our way, the undeniable and inevitable truth must be tackled like Bruce Willis and his crew of roughnecks did in Armageddon.  To quote someone and everyone who says this, “Things are tough all over,” and since there is NO denying this, I figured I’d take the opportunity to remind everyone to VOTE.

We need to act quickly, plan for blunders and be relentless in our pursuit of our goal, which is to prevent a potentially unrecoverable collapse of our economic system. You may not think you can help with this, but you can. VOTE.

I recently stumbled into middle age. I’m 42. I didn’t consider myself middle age until my doctor repeatedly referred to me as such. Who am I to argue? If the average American woman lives to be 79 ish years old, then I am indeed middle-aged. Not only am I middle-aged, but I’m quite sure that my denial of this fact was only temporary anxiety management. Now I need something little more enduring like maybe a glimmer of hope that the overwhelming problems facing our country with regard to supporting the rapidly aging population will be manageable.

Xanax, Botox, hiding money in my mattress; these could all be interim options for me. Plenty of people my age are using denial as their stability. The Baby Boomers have been doing it for decades! Why wouldn’t they? The Boomers were raised in an era of prosperity, able to assume that Social Security, Medicare and their pensions and investments would ensure them a smooth transition into retirement.  THAT is no longer true thanks to our country’s policy of using denial as anxiety management.

As a professional in the field of Gerontology, I am tasked with the responsibility of working to find solutions to the challenges that face all of us as we age, not just the Baby Boomers. The way this particular situation plays out will set the stage for future generations. VOTE.

We watch our government leaders; parents, co-workers and friends attempt to navigate the social, psychological, economic, spiritual and biological aspects of aging. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Next Tuesday, March 20th, you can tell them with your vote.

How can we know what to do when we are faced with an unprecedented social and economic crisis? We plan and we act. We retire denial as the old and ineffective way and hire reality as our roadmap to our destination. We get involved. One way to get involved is to VOTE.

There is no quick solution, but there are fantastic opportunities for continuous progress if we are unrelenting in our pursuit of a strategy that embraces our humanity, not politics. As Abraham Lincoln said so long ago, “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” Don’t waste the day by not voting because you can’t get it back. VOTE.

One some level, I agree with Abe, whose many memorable and wise quotable bites of wisdom have guided our country through troubled times.  We are now facing troubled times. Each day counts. I wish Abe was still around. These days so many political sound bites are uninspiring, vague, inflammatory, and full of half truths. Still, I’m going to VOTE.

And in case you think being a gerontology professional means that I know a lot about old people, I want to set you straight, STAT, on just why a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor like me would study GERONTOLOGY, I’ll tell you. I did this so I’d know more about people in general. GERONTOLOGY IS THE STUDY OF AGING: The social, psychological and biological aspects of aging. Sheesh….and you are aging, each day you are closer to becoming a crusty old fart that is going to need some financial stability and accessible, high quality health care. So basically what I’m trying to say is……..

Use sunscreen, try to be responsible with your cash, be nice to old people because soon you will be ordering the early bird special and repeating yourself 26 times a day and talking about how things were soooooooooooo much easier when YOU were a kid. Manage your anxiety with action, NOT denial.

Oh yeah….and don’t forget to VOTE.

6 Responses to “Denial as Anxiety Management”

  1. Jester Queen March 16, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Denial. It’s not just a river in …. what was that country again?

    • nicoleknepper March 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      Spain? NO, Ireland. I think that’s where that river is.

  2. Vickie Saenz-Brown March 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Nicole – I love you even if you reminded me that I am way over middle age and much to quickly making my way to old! And by the way Nicole I want to remind you to——>VOTE!!! I am reminded that I do management my anxiety of getting old with denial as it concerns my health most of the time, but not when it comes to my rights, so I VOTE!

    • nicoleknepper March 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      thanks for commenting baby girl doll. xo old….pfffth……

  3. Kristy Fairbanks March 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Oops, election date is listed as March 2 instead of April. once you fix, feel free to delete this comment.

    Great article. Voting is a start. Understanding and gaining knowledge about what you’re voting is even better.

    • nicoleknepper March 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      hey! thanks for commenting and always let me know if there is a flub. xo

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