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.

Political Props

7 Mar

I gush with praise for people who can craft an article about politics that is informative, interesting and minimally infuriating. It’s a gift to those of us who lack not only the interest but also the impulse control required to provide readers with a piece of journalism that contains the integrity and unbiased view of a political issue or person that it deserves.

You read that right. I believe that political issues and politicians deserve high quality and respectable coverage. I say this because there are so many people like me who NEED information about the political world delivered with minimal emotion and maximum information. My Meyers-Briggs profile is ENFP, which makes me the perfect candidate for becoming either a cult member or a political patsy. I need the facts delivered free of fiery rhetoric or emotion to distract me.

Because of all the above information, in the past I have not written, spoken or read much about politics. But a few days ago I talked a bit of politico with a life-long Republican who actually wore black for a week in order  to demonstrate her grief when Bill Clinton was elected the first time. Actually I listened more than I talked. And what I heard stunned me. This woman is planning to vote for Obama IF she votes at all.

What the WHAT?

The only thing that surprised me more this week was Rush Limbaugh’s apology for his dunderheaded comments about sluts and stuff. I mean what does a former drug addict know about being a skank? Now if he was spouting off about illegal narcotics the guy would have my ear for real! But I was talking about avoiding the politic-talk, wasn’t I?

So I got to thinking about CONSIDERING a re-visit of my avoidance of all things political and that led to my decision to seriously re-consider my stance on this avoidance and the reasons behind it. I came to the conclusion that I need to stop fearing the possibility that I’ll develop a delusional idea that my involvement and interest can actually make a shred of difference amidst the current climate of corruption and chaos that is pervasive in the American political system. I don’t use the term DELUSION in a mocking or light manner.

For me, it was a carefully chosen word to describe what I believe to be the current reality for most people my age who have lost their idealism and have become apathetic and ignorant. Exercising an attitude of indifference is an illusion I’ve attempted to perpetuate in order to distract me from my disgust and fear. I DO CARE about what happens, but the powerlessness  I feel with regard to the existing awfulness in government drives me back to my beloved fiction, professional writings and of course the celebrity smut that I LOVE ( and writing about the crazy kid stuff too). But I’m branching out!

I’m casting off my crown of cowardice and taking the plunge into the political pow-wow because my passion for health psychology and all things mentally magnificent cannot exclude this fascinating and important part of life. And if I’m being honest, when I looked at the absolutely endless amount of material the world of politicians provides in terms of dysfunction, diagnosis and debauchery, I recognized it well worth risking entertaining some delusions for the sake of entertaining education.

Home sweet home!

6 Mar

A quote attributed to good old Abe is that I feel comfy using with 92.58% accuracy is this:

“Most people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln

I’ve made up my mind to observe the level of happy (or lack thereof) in the world and say whatever I want about it here. It will make me happy to do this. My goal is to make sure that my opinions merely make you squirmy or slightly uncomfortable as you consider them in the context in which I have chosen to present them. My education has provided me a lot of education about only a tiny little bit of stuff. The rest I’m trying to figure out as I go, but I hope you’ll join me in my quest to find the meaning of life!

“The reason that I write is to find out what I mean.” Leslie Marmon Silko