The world is crazier than most people know. But I know. I was a clinical social worker for forty years. I am a witness. I retired from social work to write about the sad, the mad, and the savage; with whom I have spent most of my life. I have decided to translate these stories into fiction, because, as a co-worker once said, "You couldn't make this sh*t up. No one would believe you."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK


Psychologists have long known that thoughts determine feelings and result in action. In Cognitive Behavior Therapy, we challenge dysfunctional beliefs and when they are replaced with more functional ones, people change their behavior.
Quite a concept.
What it means: IF YOU THINK YOU ARE AN OLD FART, YOU ARE AN OLD FART. IF YOU THINK YOU ARE NOT AN OLD FART, YOU ARE NOT AN OLD FART.
I think I am not an old fartette. I still boogie. This of course brings not unfrequent criticism from the “age gracefully” camp. It has been my experience that those who champion these words really mean that people should age invisibly.
Act your age. Look your age. Stop trying to be/look young. My answer:
!@#!&%!!**!

Here’s why I don’t want to act old: it’s boring. Here’s why I don’t want to look old: why should I?

I can still lift more weight, run farther, walk faster, and yoga stretch more fluidly than people half my age. So why should I look like I can’t get out of a chair without help? I still dance, sing, drink, and carry on; why should I behave like I’m connected to a breathing machine?
I have come to a canyon and the sign says, “Dig It, Sucker. You Are Getting Old.” I am confused, anxious...and pissed off. What the hell does that mean? Below is a list of attitudes generally accepted by society, but challenged by me (see “The Maturity Manifesto”)
Accepted beliefsChallenge beliefs
Old age is feebleAn active regimen can result in strength at any age
Old age is ugly1. Stay fit. Optional: a. Dye your hair. (for men, get a rug) b. Lift it, baby!
Dignity = independence = solitudeDignity = unity = power in numbers
You shouldn’t ask for helpAsk! It’s a gas to receive!
You should live in a houseYou should live in whatever you can afford
Older people rarely make new friendsOlder people should cruise like young people, only better
Older people should be sedateOlder people finally have the time to boogie!
Older people are no longer needed by the worldThe world desperately needs the wisdom of the old; our challenge is how to communicate it!
...I uproot the stupid sign and toss it into the canyon. I will get old when there is no alternative, and right after that I will be dead. THAT’S how it should be.

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