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."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Do You Believe in Second Chances?

I think I do...the more I work on Jane of the Jungle, the more I do. Jane of the Jungle is my ultimate second chances story.

I'm a baby boomer, an old one. After a long life of the usual ups and downs, it's easy to believe that all is said and done. It's easy to expect little or nothing from the time we have left; which, with modern medicine, may be a long time. How depressing.

Imagine: instead of retiring to the rocking chair, you retire and start a second life. The world is your oyster, as it was when you were twenty-two. You feel alive, energetic, horny, and attractive. Thanks to that facelift and gym membership, you even are attractive. In Jane's case, she had no choice about giving up her home. But even if we are not in dire straits, why not chuck the long years of intimacy with a mortgage, housekeeping and landscaping....and hit the road?

I used to think stripped down retirement was just for the financially unfortunate. But maybe not....check it out:

             "I wandered for a while and had a few minor adventures. One was exceptional and showed me that my new life would be something I had never expected. I had driven into the woods on an old logging road and was eating my lunch on the soft spring ground when I became aware of a red fox staring at me.  For some reason he seemed to have no fear of me, so I threw him a piece of my ham sandwich.
            “That’s kind of you, but no thank you,” he said. “I just ate.”
            I looked at the sandwich: it did not appear to be spoiled. I tried to recall if I had inadvertently taken some of my husband’s pills with my brandy last night, but I was certain I hadn’t.
            “Never seen a talking fox, eh?” he said to me.
           “Uh…no, now that you mention it,” I replied. “Never.”
            The fox laughed. “Most people haven’t,” he said kindly.
            Suddenly the whole world seemed to fold in on itself like a piece of soft bread. “Holy shit,” I mumbled to myself.
            The fox laughed again, not unkindly. “It is a shock at first, but I think you’ll get used to it.”
            “Why me?”
            “You have spirit.”
            “I do?” Personally I had always thought of my “spirit” as an anger problem.
            “You are about to embark on a very adventurous life,” the fox said. “Don’t forget me.”
             And then he was gone."

Perhaps now that baby boomers such as myself will probably live to be as old as trees, the proper thing to do at retirement age is to shed your skin like a snake, and set out anew, set out anew!


  1. Ah, you I used to think that it consisted of finally keeping the house clean, feeding the husband, sleeping late, in other words, waiting to die. I have rediscovered -- as a recent retiree -- that yes, I am broker but I have rediscovered a passion for painting which I lost when I got a "real job" and for seeing the world which I have not done. If all I had to look forward to for the last of my life was waiting for the rocking chair I would rather be dead. Viva second chances !!

  2. Cool post. Young side BB ('63) here; quit being a programmer and off to college for the first time.

    In other news, I'm trying to link to you, but your RSS feed seems to go to IT Consulting World.

  3. You guys, it is sogood to know there are like minds out there! Barefoot Bum, thanks for the comment. I will see to the RSS feed, I have never understood the damn thing.

  4. A second whole life? Wow! Unfortunately even with advances in drug chemistry we're really not there yet. I'm pushing 82 years old and enjoy being involved with church (I'm a UU), with politics (I'm a Democrat getting more left as large chunks of the world move more right), with my wife who has beginning stage Alzheimer's, and I need friends. Social networking is fine but it's not quite real life. Ha ha, that's an understatement! There are so many distractions, so many things to do, so little time, how can one focus for long on any one thing?

  5. Blogging is the new kick in my life, that and writing aphorisms, which I've been doing on and off for lots of years. I never worked very much, so have always had a lot of freedom. Always lived simply, and never had many aspirations or desires. Just wanted to be free and happy like any old hippy.

  6. Seev, it sounds like you do have a second has its challenges, to be sure, but you're not sitting on your hands. And I agree with Nothingprofound, writing/blogging sure is my second life. See you out there, you guys!

  7. Great Blog!! :) I'm one of those far edge baby boomers who is totally intimate with aging as ungracefully as possible. I empathize with every word!

  8. Are you writing about me? lol I have 4 years to go still but will be leading an entirely different life in my farmhouse on PEI once I do retire and plan to travel far and wide and do all and anything that comes to mind.

  9. @ LaMiaVerita: Love ya! Why stop having fun, like, ever?

    @Jane: Of course I'm writing about you! Jane is everyone like us. And I already know you...I was reading your blog over the summer. You finally got a place, hurrah! stay in touch.