Browsing Category Baby Boomers

Reflections from the Other Side of the Hill

With retirement and advancing age comes the blessing of no longer having to play the games. What games? You ask. There are many. Some of them are easily eliminated when you are, as people like to refer to it, “over the hill.” But I will reflect on a couple.

Let’s start with working outside the home. When the opportunity to take an early retirement presented itself, I took it, albeit with some reluctance and much apprehension. Now, nearly ten years later, I consider myself blessed to have experienced an early retirement. Unfortunately, some people don’t live to see those carefree days.

Unless I fall-down on my luck, I can kiss-off job interviews, the workforce, and PITA (pain in the ass) bosses. Clarification is required here. Not all bosses are PITA. During my years spent in corporate America, I had some wonderful managers. I can honestly say that I loved at least one of them like a father. I worked for that man for ten years until he retired after which I found myself back in the labor pool swimming with the sharks and the backstabbers. Don’t get me wrong, I mingled with many good-hearted and wonderful people, too, and made some life-long friends.

Some of my worse memories are of being in a subordinate position to a couple of obviously unqualified managers whose negative character traits including racism and sexism were as evident as dog poop on the sidewalk. My job history and years of watching the gamers play taught me that just because someone has a prominent job title does not mean that he or she is qualified, proficient or principled. Intelligence is not always a requirement for a high position either. Anyone with the right backing and a base, no matter how unstable, can land the job. You could even become president.  Males are not always the culprits in the workforce either. Some women with authority can be more vicious than men.

I entered the workforce as a volunteer candy-striper at the long ago demolished Freedman’s Hospital, and I remained in the labor force for nearly 50 years. During the time before my escape to retirement freedom, I had some dream jobs and some duds. Now, I have no more demanding bosses, annoying co-workers, performance reviews, office politics, and boring staff meetings. And I have the opportunity to work from home when I want to.

While retirement brings some challenges – such is life – I find that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and as with everything maintaining a positive attitude is key.

Another game that I am happy to be out of is the dating game. Regardless, of the present-day dangers, the dating game is fun, exciting, and deemed essential for Gen Xers and Millennials. But for many mature adults with whom I have discussed the subject and who are old enough to remember when it was safer to wade into the dating pool, courting now is more hassle than it is worth. Even if my near 20-year relationship should end for whatever reason, (some things like death and taxes are beyond our control), then I am done with dating. If I have learned nothing else in all of my years, it is that I can be quite content by myself, doing my own thing.

There are numerous other rules of the game that can be tossed aside in retirement. I don’t have to worry about the routine of going to bed early or setting an alarm clock to get up in the morning. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I can get up when I want, go where I want to go, do what I want to do. I don’t have to put on work clothes every day, and I don’t have to deal with a daily commute and rush-hour traffic.

Above all, I have time to pursue the things that I enjoy, like learning new things, furthering my education, exercising, reading and writing.

My bucket list is rather short. It is not a copy of someone else’s objectives:  travel the world, ride a hot air balloon, participate in running with the bulls in Spain, or hike the Appalachian Trail. Topping my list is (1) remain spiritual, (2) maintain a positive attitude and (3) avoid letting negative people ruin my day. You see, what I mean? My list is uncomplicated and original, just like me.

More to come on the games of life in future posts.



Minding the P’s and Q’s of Online Etiquette

Background concept wordcloud illustration of etiquette“Say it forget it; write it regret it.” My first time hearing those prophetic words was when Judge Marilyn Milian spoke them on The People’s Court. Everyone – especially socialmedialites – would be wise to remember them.

According to the Pew Research Center, as a baby boomer, I am in the lower percentage of social media users. Pew also accurately points out that although I have accounts with Twitter and other social media sites,  Facebook is my website of choice.

This blog subject could be applicable to nearly any social networking site, because online or Internet etiquette (sometimes called netiquette) should be as second nature to well-mannered people as brushing your teeth. And while there are undoubtedly more people practicing good dental hygiene than there are displaying bad online etiquette, you can bet you floss that the latter are gaining ground.

Regularly visiting my Facebook page is as routine for me as going to the gym. And I post often. Sometimes several times a day. I prefer posting positive, motivational and inspirational information, and humorous things. As a news junkie, I frequently share articles about current events. And like many of my FB friends, once in a while I’ll toot my own horn by posting a photo depicting some activity I’m involved in, but I dislike doing selfies and you will rarely see me post one. What I enjoy most is engaging in wholesome conversations with my cyberfriends, just as I do with friends and acquaintances off line. I am no fan of trivial conversations, but I find them easier to deal with than the one thing that is obvious and disturbing — incivility. It is just as prevalent online as it is in the physical world.

In face-to-face contacts we are often able to determine from body language, facial expressions, and vocal inflection if someone is understanding – or misunderstand us; agreeing or disagreeing. Such nonverbal communication is nearly impossible to interpret online.

William Shakespeare wrote “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” Gender-consciousness aside, my translation of that wisdom is that no one knows everything and we all can learn something. There was no Internet in Shakespeare’s day, but I see his statement as profoundly relevant to Internet etiquette. That’s why I am sharing these Eight Rules for Practicing Internet Etiquette. I think of them as words to the wise. Whichever shoe fits, wear it.

  1. Respect.  Good manners and respect go hand-in-hand, even on line. We should respect the right of others to disagree with us as well as honor their right to their own opinions.
  2. Think twice. Think once about what you write and again before clicking that send button, because after your words are launched into cyperspace you cannot take them back.
  3. Use discretion, always, in all online activities, and do not assume anything. Whether you know it or not the Internet is monitored for various reasons by law enforcement agencies, cybercriminals, and others. My number one rule is – Do not share any information or photos on line that you would not share with friends or associates off line.
  4. Avoid using all caps. Some people don’t know this but writing in all capital letters online signifies SHOUTING in internet communication. An occasional capitalized word or phrase for emphasize is okay, but persistently writing in all caps is considered inappropriate behavior.
  5. Reciprocate.  Some people have their FB privacy features set to prevent others from writing or commenting on their timeline, yet, they freely comment on the timelines of their friends. Give as good as you get.
  6. Be honest. Lies are encumbering. They command attention like a high maintenance woman. You have to remember a lie – being truthful eliminates the burden of having to remember a lie.
  7. Be neither defensive nor take offense. Some people are offended by things that other people post on their own timeline. Unless someone addresses you by name and taunts you like a cyber bully, don’t take it personally. Ignore it. If someone makes a threat against you that’s different; you need to contact the law. But if you merely feel intimidated by something that someone wrote on their timeline that was not addressed to you or about you, don’t respond negatively. Doing so simply shows that you are paranoid, insecure or envious. If something you see bothers you, ignore it.
  8. Say it forget it; write it regret it. Once you submit an electronic message, whether in an e-mail, text, or as a post to a social networking site, it will be stored on servers all over the place for others to read, and you won’t be able to take back your words. Even if you intend for something that you write or that picture of you in your birthday suit to be private, don’t put it on line. It will become very public and may be seen by people you never intended to see it — forever.



Resistance to Change: Baby Boomers Thrashing in the Digital Pool — Part II or II

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I know that many of you readers already know about e-books, because sometime between the early days, when the e-book landed on the digital landscape (Amazon released the Kindle in 2007, and Barnes and Noble followed with the Nook in 2009) and the present, you ran out and bought one; while we procrastinators held back. So this commentary is not for you pioneers. It is simply to enlighten my uninformed Johnny-and-Jill-come-lately cohorts, who have not yet submerged themselves in the digital pool.

In simple layperson’s terms, the Kindle Fire is an e-book reader, an electronic version of a printed book. Now, I will tell you why I am tickled pink — err, make that tan — about it.

As my son predicted, KF solved my book storage problem. But unfortunately, it did not cure my addiction, because now I buy and read more books, e-books that is, and at a faster pace than before. I recently saw a promo ad that said the KF will hold 6000 books. Hold up, wait a minute, I’d have to be a reading fool to download that many books, unless I have a joint bank account with Jeff Bezos. (Founder and CEO of

My Kindle Fire has many features that I enjoy. Aside from the nice crisp colors on the touchscreen, there is a nifty text-to-speech function. While the reader’s voice is not distractingly robotic it is not precisely Audible book quality either. There are some occasional, figurative hiccups, as when the elocution is interrupted by the inability of the automated reader to decipher certain words. Recently, I was listening to a book, while simultaneously reading along, and the reader read St. Louis as Street Louis. Resume — as in a job application — was pronounced resume, like let’s resume reading this story. And there were occasional inadvertent pauses and restarts, like the abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy. PhD was read as ph — pause, as if the “h” ended the sentence. D was then read as if it were the first word of the following sentence. But such tiny glitches I could overlook.

The audio-text feature advances each page automatically; however, when the audio is muted – my preference – I must touch the screen to turn the page. An adjustable backlight makes reading easier, and it is an excellent feature when reading in a darkened room if you don’t want to disturb your spouse.

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Resistance to Change: Baby Boomers Thrashing in the Digital Pool — Part I of II

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Lifebuoy-and-help-concept-44209912Just like me, a lot of my friends will dip a toe in the water, but stay out of the pool. In this case I am talking about the digital pool.

Computerized gadgets are flooding the landscape faster than a cashier can run a credit card through a swipe machine. Unlike the millennials and their offspring, who were born into a computer-dominated society with a digital age mentality, many baby boomers and our predecessors play an ongoing game of catch-up and keep-up. And we are hung-up in a constantly rotating cycle of technological changes.

I dislike change. I realize that change is an inevitable fact of life, but that doesn’t make change my friend. I don’t even like to change my mind. But – my aversion to change does not mean that I don’t enjoy a challenge, even when that challenge involves change. My most recent challenge involved a significant change of habit for me. Grab a cup of coffee and let me tell you about it.

During my lifetime — I have acquired enough hardcover and paperback books to start my own public library. Although I have given away hundreds of books over the years, the shelves of my floor-to-ceiling bookcases are still crammed to capacity. In addition, I have boxes of books in the closets, in plastic containers under the bed, and in the storage room. I considered joining Book Lovers Anonymous, but before I could look into a 12 step program my computer-geek son, as I affectionately call him, suggested a solution – for the 99th time . “Mom,” he said, “Why don’t you buy an e-book?”

While teetering on the brink of the 100th pitch to save my literary soul, I decided to woman-up and face my dilemma, and I asked myself do I continue to resist change or accept the challenge? 

Although I told you that I am open to challenge, what I failed to add is that I am not a gadget person. My son knows this.  So, when one of  his disguised challenges involves me learning to use a new device that requires more to operate than simply turning it on and off, the needle on my “angst-ometer” swings sharply from normally functional to highly dysfunctional. Nevertheless, I bit the bullet and under the guidance of my personal geek, I bought a Kindle Fire.

Was it a blooper, blunder, or wonder?  If you care to know what happened after my crossover to the e-book side continue reading Part II.



Resistance to Change: A Baby Boomer’s Perspective on Computers and the Internet

A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.” ~Nikki Giovanni 

“Why can’t things go back to the way they use to be?” That rhetorical question was asked by my friend, Jay, a fellow boomer who frequently expresses dislike for most things technical including computers and cell phones. His disdain for such gadgets is not only the result of occasional encounters with computerized devices that refuse to yield to his touch; it is ongoing warfare with any gadget that requires more steps to operate than turning it on and off.  And although he occasionally uses the Internet, he feels that he could easily live without it, without email, without cell phones and texting. I could go on, but that might imply that he is a dinosaur, which would be an insult to every prehistoric creature ever recreated in a computer simulation.

Humans are creatures of habit. We get used to doing the same old things, the same old way. Change will never be embraced by everyone, nor will resistance to change prevent it. Like it or not — change happens; so the sensible thing to do would be to accept and enjoy it.

I recently went to the post office to mail a small package. Sometimes when I go there, I purchase a roll of stamps that usually lasts for several months, because I use them infrequently to snail mail a birthday card or send something to one of the few organizations that still doesn’t offer online services. On this particular day, when the clerk asked me if I needed stamps, I said that I didn’t need any and she replied with a wide grin, “You know y’all have to mail those bills, don’t you?” I returned her smile and responded innocently, “No, I pay my bills on line.” 

Freeze!  Apparently, I said the wrong thing on the wrong day, because

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