Sunday, October 12, 2008

Denial - a great name for a new body lotion

Bookmark and Share

We all know the standard stages of grief:
  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I didn't know aging would be like that.

During the lead-up to one of my many naps last week it occurred to me that this is exactly what I've been going through. Each stage has been so obvious. (I must tell you that I am still in Stage 4.)

The denial stage for us baby boomers has kept the cosmetics industry in business. Think of the names of the products: Regenerist, Lifting Creme, New Skin, Wrinkle Resist, Hydrate, Age Defying... and the descriptions are even more enticing. For me, as previously discussed, it was Botox.

The anger about aging is expressed any number of ways, most frequently in the common complaints about "young folks today." All those inefficient employees in the service sector, the hairdos, the nose rings, whatever the current generation is up to. "Well, back in my day..." that sort of thing.

And bargaining. I just had an experience with that one, and it probably helped me to understand this process more than the others.

I decided I could open a business. Economic times being what they are, I thought I could go back to work for another five years or so, and did a great deal of research on the kind of thing that interests me. I looked at franchises, read books, subscribed to trade magazines, contacted all the right people. But thanks to Hurricane Ike, I had to take a time out and my momentum was stymied. And coming out of that experience, I looked around and f0und the country in a major economic downturn that screams at me to save my money. I can see I really don't have the energy to get up day after 16-hour day, as I know a new business demands. I believe now I was hoping to have the business regenerate the old me, if Botox didn't.

The depression stage has to be the worst. This is the one just prior to acceptance, when you just can't quite get there, but you know it's almost over. Gone are the days of believing that anything is possible, and the future stretched long, long years ahead. No, this is it. There is still the unknown of what lies ahead but it's hard to put a positive spin on any of that. I think it's why we're so entranced with our grandchildren.

I wonder what acceptance feels like. I still fight it, because when I think of acceptance I think of the hopeless faces in the nursing home I visited so often before my mother died, and I think of her. I remember how she fought to have her way in little things precisely because she was so powerless in the big things.

This is why we fight aging, we fight being dragged off the stage before we're done. Acceptance must be believing you're done. I can't yet imagine it except in the most dreadful way.

Power to the People...and Internet and Cable

Bookmark and Share
Sometime in the '50s I came across an "I Like Ike" button. I didn't like Ike then, and I didn't like him this year either.

Our family was fortunate: we had a generator bought shortly after Rita three years ago. We had begun to think we had wasted our money, but it served us well for two weeks. The last few days, however, it was about to give out and sounded like an old car barely climbing a hill, but finally on the Sunday night after 16 days, the power came back on.

During this strange period, businesses couldn't open. There were no perishables at most grocery stores. Traffic lights -- in Houston, no less -- weren't working. Schools were closed. ATMs didn't work. Gas stations -- well, if they had a generator they were out of gasoline as people lined up for hours. We don't do this very well in America in 2008.

After a few days it began to grate on me that there was also no Internet, no cable TV. (For me, to live without MSNBC is like living in Wyoming. No idea what's going on in the world!) I did have a Blackberry that worked and managed to find out a few things, but it just wasn't the same. The stress of all these changes in routine was surprisingly debilitating.

Today in the Houston Chronicle there's an article about Iran's plans for an EBD attack on the United States. That's like a hurricane without the trees falling down. It would be a nightmare.
I haven't been afraid of Iran or any of its threats before now. It's still so hard to know whether such scary articles are based on fact, but this one got my attention.

We came out of this two weeks into a world where the Republicans have imploded, Wall Street is being reorganized, banks are either being nationalized or collapsing, Lehman Brothers isn't going to make good on my bond, I have to give up on the new business I was planning to open, the backyard swimming pool was green and stinky, the sprinkler system and clocks are flashing "Error Error" and the microwave caught fire. Only Barack Obama is remaining calm.

All this just reinforces my long-held belief that we rarely know what we think we know. About anything.