Tag Archives: middle-age cranky

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

 

Every Friday I point you towards some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. Somehow I seemed to have missed this fabulous, Glee-inspired opening number at last year’s Emmy awards.

2. On the other hand, those of you who can’t stand Glee will absolutely adore Sesame Streets’ hilarious spoof of the high-school musical comedy show.

3. Over on Salon, Thomas Rogers’ eloquent take on the homo-erotic nature of college sports really struck a chord with me. Here’s a teaser: “I was a mediocre athlete, that was fine with me. I had to come to terms with the fact that my gayness made me less butch than Ice, and that was better than being a douchebag.”

4. Married couples of a certain age will not want to miss Middle Age Cranky’s Guide To Marital Compatibility. I can definitely relate to the potential disputes over arriving at the airport early.

5. Love these actual Amazon customer reviews for this ginormous camera lens. (Hat tip: @donnatrussell)

6. Finally, your weekend will not be complete until you hear this three-year-old recite a Billy Collins poem. As someone in the You Tube comments section wrote, you’ll never want to hear anyone else recite it again.

 

Have a fabulous weekend!

Tips For Adulthood: Five Things To Do Before You Die

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

Over on Middle-Age Cranky, Howard Baldwin has a great post entitled Oh, The Places You’ll Go. In it, he lists all the places he’s always wanted to visit but which for various reasons – political strife, travel restrictions, inertia – have remained “off limits.” And now, as he settles into middle age, he wonders if he’ll ever actually make it to any of them.

I loved this post because it reminds us that as we get older, we start to fashion our proverbial “bucket lists” –  a list of all the things we want to do before we  die. I’m not talking here about the small stuff – e.g. losing five pounds, finally visiting Great Aunt Sally on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I’m talking about those bigger, more daunting challenges that we set for ourselves because they speak to some deep-seated desire or personal quest.

We all have those lists, whether formalized or not. One of my friends wants to run a marathon on all seven continents. (I think he’s up to four or five by now.) Another has sworn that she’ll open her own coffee import/export business.

These Wednesday posts are meant to serve as advice, but obviously, every person’s bucket list will be different. So the advice here is really to create your own list and then figure out how you can begin moving towards realizing some of your goals.

I’ll go first:

1. Read the bible. Yeah, I realize that this might sound kind of pedantic. But the fact is, while I’ve read assorted sections of the bible – and attended religious education classes for something like 12 years – I don’t really feel like I have a very good handle on the Good Book in its entirety. So I’d actually like to sit down and read it – start to finish – and see what I make of it. (And yes, I do know that I could just use David Plotz’ book as crib notes, but that feels like cheating.)

2. Perform In Community Theater. Coming from someone who has openly admitted her fondness for Show Tunes and her abiding love of Glee!, this particular goal shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise. But this is one of those elusive goals that keeps getting away from me. I took a drama class a few years back and one of my classmates now performs at various small venues around London. He’s kept his day job (as a banker) but he has clearly made drama a priority in his life. And every time he invites me to one of his performances, I feel simultaneously happy for him that he’s pursued this goal…and envious.

3. Take a safari. I’m not a big animal lover. But the idea of taking a Safari through Africa and seeing all those animals out in the wild has always captured my imagination. Who knows? Perhaps I’m just secretly hoping that a monkey will take a photograph of me.

4. Learn a new language. I love languages. I majored in Spanish and French in college. But I’d love to really challenge myself and learn a really difficult language, like Arabic or Chinese, as an adult. Or even Finnish. And then go spend a lot of time in a country that speaks that language. Oh to be 21 again.

5. Learn to Drive In the U.K. Enough said.

What’s crazy about this list is that – with the possible exception of the Safari – these are all eminently doable. And yet, I still haven’t managed to get any of them done. Which I suspect may be true for others as well.

So spill it. What’s on your bucket list? Tap Dancing? Machu Picchu? Cordon Bleu?

Do tell.

 

Image: 2011.01.01 Bible by Gerard’s World via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you to some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. I’m always impressed when people follow their dreams in adulthood. In that spirit, have a look at my friend Laurie Gould’s new website – Gould Tunes – which showcases the album she and some friends will be releasing later on this autumn: Songs of Domestic Bliss. Working moms should definitely have a sneak preview of “I Should.”

2. Here’s a novel idea. Get divorced and share custody of not only the kids…but a blog! That’s what’s happening over at When The Flames Go Up. Check it out!

3. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to follow what’s going on over at Gawker, but boy am I glad that I did. Love this blog network’s irreverent, snarky tone. Here’s a great spoof of Sarah Palin’s recent diatribe against a “cackle of Rads.”

4. A friend of mine linked to Beloit College’s Mindset List For The Class of 2014, where a humanities professor on campus walks you through the mindset of the current graduates to let you know how young they are (or how old you are.) My favorite? “John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.”

5. I always enjoy Howard Baldwin’s rants over on Middle Age Cranky. Here he is on Boomer Living’s Coffee House Blog talking about “Seven More Things That Really Frost Me About Middle Age.” (Yeah, I’m also bummed about the game show thing.)

6. In case you’ve ever wondered where I live, here’s a glorious website that provides A Virtual Tour of Hampstead Village, replete with vintage pictures. (Hat Tip: ‘Cross The Pond.)

7. Finally, for those who are interested, here’s my defense of the EMILY’s list Mama Grizzly ad that’s been the subject of much discussion back home in America this week.

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Tips For Adulthood: Five Reasons To Be Pessimistic About Middle Age

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

Last week, I gave you five reasons to be optimistic about middle age. In brief: you’ll live longer, your brain will keep developing, you’ll be happier, your divorce may not be all that bad, and you’ll make loads of new friends on the AARP Facebook page.

But in addition to being an optimist, I’m also a realist. As promised, then, here are five reasons to be pessimistic about middle age:

1. Social services can’t keep up with aging population. Yes, people are living longer. That’s the good news. But the general aging of the population will also place enormous burdens on social services, including health care delivery, informal care-giving and the pension system. So a lot will hinge on just how healthy this new crop of centenarians is. About 80 percent of seniors have at least one chronic health condition and 50 percent have at least two. In theory, the health care reform bill passed last year in America should help address some of these problems. But some experts warn that our public policies  – including health care reform – just aren’t up to the task of ensuring that our aging population gets the medical care it needs. In the worst case scenario – not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well – the old and the young will enter into a zero-sum conflict, fighting for scarce health care and economic resources.

2. Suicide rates are up among middle-aged Americans. Alongside all the research discussed last week showing that happiness peaks at 50, a curious and sobering counter-trend has also emerged:  For the second year in a row, middle-aged adults have registered the highest suicide rate in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A variety of hypotheses have been tossed out to explain this trend, including easier access to guns and prescription drugs as well as higher rates of depression among boomers. One sociologist at Berkeley speculates that it’s a combination of having grown up during an era of cultural turmoil (the 60’s), together with greater competition for resources (due to baby boom) as well as the stresses induced by an extended period of young adulthood. Whatever the cause, it’s certainly nothing to be cheery about.

3. Midlife Crises Cost More. I noted last week that with the advent of a happy middle age, there may be fewer midlife crises. But for those boomers out there still looking for Plan B, it’s gonna cost them. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, mid-life crises – whether it’s traveling the world, playing the stock market or starting one’s own business (I’ll grant you, these are a bit tamer than some crises one might imagine!) – have all gotten quite a good deal more expensive in the last few years. Add that to a general unease in this age bracket about market volatility and you’ve got a recipe for widespread economic anxiety at middle age.

4. You’re more like to get an STD. So…late divorce isn’t so bad after all, as we learned last week. But sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are actually more of a problem for middle-aged populations right now than they are among the young (at least in the United States.) The highest number of newly acquired cases of HIV/AIDS have been found in middle-aged adults, ages 35 to 44. Next highest age group? Ages 45 to 54. The least affected group is the youngest group between the ages of 25 to 34. Some of this is because women over 50 – no longer afraid of getting pregnant – cease using condoms. So if you are planning on getting back out there with your new-found freedom, by all means come prepared.

5. Who wants to multi-task? One of my favorite cantankerous chroniclers of middle age is Howard Baldwin over on Middle Age Cranky. In a recent post, Baldwin wonders who really wants to learn that as we age, our brains actually improve their ability to problem solve and multi-task? Doesn’t that just mean that boomers will have fewer excuses available to them when they want to plea a senior moment? Just sayin’…

Image: condom display by vista vision via flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you to some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. In honor of Passover (and my own complicated feelings therein), I highly recommend my friend D.D. Guttenplan’s marvelous column – Blogging the Haggadah – over at The Guardian. (This is part one but links to parts two and three.)

2. I’m nowhere near purchasing an Ipad (or even an Iphone, for that matter) but I was quite taken with this review of the Ipad by David Pogue in the New York Times. Talk about a great product review! And while you’re pondering the Ipad, have a look at this wonderful send-up of the Ipad’s “unveiling” over at gelatobaby. (Hat tip: Communicatrix. Thanks for the shout out, darlin’!)

3. I love stories about letters and letter-writing. Here’s an amazing one from The Washington Post about a woman who found herself in the President’s inbox and how she managed to score a letter from the man himself.

4. I really liked Middle Age Cranky’s take on how aging makes us see things in less black and white terms.

5. It’s the first week of April, which is when many high school seniors will find out where they’ll be going to college next year. I’m quite far away from this whole harrowing experience now, but this mock rejection letter from Harvard by Peter W. Fulham in Politics Daily really made me laugh.

6. And speaking of Politics Daily, I’m over there today talking about the upcoming televised political debates in the UK and why I think British politics is turning American.

Have a great weekend!

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Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you to some interesting reading around the blogosphere:

1. I loved this thoughtful end-of-year op-ed by John Tierney in the New York Times about why we all ought to rush out and redeem all those gift certificates we got for the holidays…right now!!

2. As always, The Guardian’s Pictures of the Decade were an absolutely stunning walk down memory lane.

3. This is a hilarious account in The Wall Street Journal of how amazingly cheap economists are in real life.

4. In the Department of Middle Age, here are Middle-Age Cranky’s list of things that annoy him, as well as Fortune Magazine editor Patricia Sellers’ thoughts in The Huffington Post on why we should all slow down.

5. Via Lisa Romeo Writes, I was delighted to happen upon Two Kinds Of People, a blog devoted to describing…well…two kinds of people. If this concept appeals to you (it does me!) be sure to check out their essay contest.

6. Finally, for those who are interested, here are my thoughts about the pros and cons of adopting an Israeli airport security model in PoliticsDaily.com.

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