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, November 21, 2010

My Author Platform:
Life 2.0

Okay, nowadays every author is supposed to have a platform. Fiction authors, not so much, but it helps. And it just so happens, I do have a platform.

Here's my soapbox: Life 2.0.

Face it, everyone of every age, and especially baby boomers: we are going to live a lo-o-o-ong time. Good news? Uh...only if we actually live it. Baby boomers, not -so-seniors, lovers and freaks, hear me:

The world is still stuck in the notion that one retires at 65, plays a little golf, goes to a senior village, and dies. That's probably a fair estimate if it were the only option. Thank the gods of Boogie Forever, it's not.

I mean, crap! that's a helluva long time in the old folks' town, if, as social security says, we all live into our 90's. You'd better have a solid steel rocking chair, because it's gonna take some serious wear and tear. And an anti-boredom strategy. Baby boomers as a group, need lots of stimulation. could do Life 2.0. What is Life 2.0?

Life 2.0 is Life, second stage. The first stage is youth, plus the part of middle age where we have families, careers, homes, etc.

The SECOND stage is everything that happens between the kids growing up and the end of life, the second part of middle age. At the end of this stage, we get old and croak. But not until the end, and that's the catch. In the modern world, we no longer know how old is old.

60 isn't old anymore. Neither is 70. Where to we draw the line? 80 and beyond? What about the twenty somethings now who may live to be 125? At what point with they call themselves old?

A friend and I celebrated a reunion between ourselves and our daughters, the older two of whom met just outside the delivery room. These kids grew up together. We went separate ways for a little while when the kids were teens, then got back together again when they were twenty one. She said to me, "What now?"

Good question. Some options:
  • lie back and dry up, like a spill on the sidewalk
  • go to a senior community. Live mildly with other directionless souls, and while away the hours until the end.
  • bust out
  • hit the road
  • hit the road and bust out
  • hit the road and bust out and boogie
  • age as disgracefully as possible
  • hang it up when you just can't boogie any more, feel done
  • hit the rocking chair because you want to
  • and attain wisdom, in order to confuse and irritate the young.
Life 2.0 can be anything. Jane of the Jungle steps into (and out of) a life of crime. I know people deciding to have second careers, and not just bagging groceries. Nursing school applicants in their sixties are not uncommon. People learning to fly planes and get commercial jobs...not uncommon. My sister quit the madness of public education and took up painting, and is getting pretty damned good at it. My daughter is a teacher at the age of 27. At 47, what then? Maybe law school, she says. I am a clinical social worker. I will now become - presto! change-o! - a writer. You get the picture.

Some folks do well enough to give up working for money. Blessed be, for them the sky's the limit. Some hit the road in motorhomes. Some go to Africa and build medical clinics. Others go to sea and have adventures. Some travel, sometimes on foot. Still others get deeply involved - many for the first time - in their communities, something they may have wanted to do before, but never had time for. Some go into politics. Some find new relationships.

The point is: second chances. I believe we should all have second stage lives, and they should be: Adventures. New careers. Service to others. Commitment. Freedom. Creativity. Whatever.

Boogie on, boogie on. There's a dance in the old dame (or gent) yet!


  1. Most of the old hippies I know feel this way, and are ready to go. It's the youth of today I worry about. They all seem so weighed down by the state of the world.

  2. I believe in many ways the world has been charging into madness/insanity since people of one kind became aware of people of another globally, and only now, with the possibility of healthy old people with good minds is there hope for the kind of change that can make for the kind of world where there is room to agree to disagree ... and thanks for saying I am getting pretty damned good at painting !!! Especially considering the source. Sis/Lian

  3. @NP: I agree, sometimes the young people of today scare me, they're so passive. And with what it costs to eat these days, never mind party, I shouldn't wonder they retreat into their cell phones.
    @Lian: I agree, the world is too small, we know too much and can do too little. Nevertheless, you're a great painter!