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, June 17, 2011

Take Immortality ...  and Shove It

Because I make war on aging, some people accuse me of wanting to live forever. Let me be clear:

F--- THAT. I would hate to live forever. Movies where the villain is trying to live forever are stupid. Living forever is what you do in hell. Imagine:

  • You would endure life’s insulting jokes for eternity.
  • You would be married to the same person for thousands of years. Even the Catholic Church would have to think about that one.
  • You would have to do a search on the world’s mega computer for something new to do, and it would come up empty.
  • Your children would bitch at you forever. And ever.
  • You know that savage old fart neighbor of yours that makes you pray every time you see an ambulance on the block, “Please, God, let it be him?’ Forget it. He’s staying. Forever.
  • It will be your five thousandth, nine hundred and fifty third Christmas. What do you get for the shmuck who has everything?
  • You would clean the house until it fell down, then get a new house and start over.
  • You would scrub toilets for millennia.

I just want to live well. I want to be middle aged until I croak. That is entirely different. Try a Life 2.0 lifespan:

·      You’re a kid, fun.
·      You’re a babe. Exciting for a little while.
·      You’re a mature young person. Your intelligence can actually shine through the perfect skin. Time to take life seriously, and be taken seriously.
·      You find a partner. You have careers, get a home, maybe have kids. You raise a family.
·      Just when your kids get to be good company, they leave home. You work for another ten or twenty years.
·      You start to make some changes. You retire. Maybe you get a villa in a retirement community that has a golf course, gym, and pool. Maybe you get a motorhome and start travelling. If you’re broke, a camper. J

***And then, instead of starting to spend more time at the doctor’s office than anywhere else, you start on Life 2.0. You embark on a self-care campaign that incudes exercise, healthy food, maybe a drink now and then, maybe even some hormone balancing. If you don’t like white, you color your hair. Maybe not. Maybe you get a nip here and a tuck there. Maybe not. You look as good as you feel, and you feel good.

·    You reach out to other people. You contact old friends you lost touch with in the manic years of child rearing and career. You make new friends through shared activities.
·      You think about your community, and start doing some of the giving back you thought of but never had time to do before. You realize there is a HUGE use for retired people: they are the ones not only with the experience but with the time to get stuff done. In fact, you and your buddies are the new social activists.
·      And you are forever young. Because you are strong, active and connected. You are beautiful, you are noticed, and you are friends with adults of any age.

And when it comes time to die, you don’t bitch too much, because you didn’t let yourself get old, frail and isolated. You didn’t spend thirty years fading out. And you don’t need to live forever, because you have lived well.


  1. Like you I want to live comfortably: in health, in material comforts, in friends, etc., until I have achieved what would make me feel I have lived a life that makes me feel I have achieved something worthwhile. For some that might be children, or art, a book, political success, a humanitarian cause, whatever. I don't want to live forever, just long enough and I want to be healthy and comfortable enough to enjoy my time in maturity,

  2. Frankly, Janey, people like you and me should live forever, but the options for doing so are sadly very limited.

  3. @Lian: you got the message, girl.
    @NP: Maybe we should, but who would want to? What a bore!