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Is That What’s Bothering You, Bunky?

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Lois Rubin Gross

Lois Rubin Gross

Is the world getting you down? Is life too difficult to take? Does your dog hide under the bed when you walk in the door? Do you hide under the bed when you hear a political discussion? Is that what’s bothering you, Bunky?

Lift your head up high and take a walk in the sun with dignity and stick-to-it-ive-ness and you’ll show the world, you’ll show them where to get off! And never give up, never give up… that ship!!! 

Are you in need of a vacation, but the only trip you’re going to take is the one to the bank to withdraw more money for bills? Do you need a break from the world without having a mental breakdown to justify your absence? It’s okay, Bunky, there’s a way for you to have a vacation without spending a dime or going further than your front door.

It’s called the “No Pay, World Go Away, Never Give Up the Ship Vacation”.

Think it’s impossible to do. It’s not. And, credit where credit is due, I didn’t originate the idea. It was shared by a friend of mine during a 4 AM phone call when we were both having an extra bad case of insomnia.  Here’s how it goes:

You may have friends who can jet to Hawaii or cruise to the Bahamas. I, myself, only know these people peripherally and hear about their travels when they start a sentence with, “I’m sure you’ve all been to the ABC islands.” This is when you know you are not in the same league with this friend and maybe need to find another path through your life. Vicarious vacations seldom have benefits for the person who can only take them, well, vicariously.

Bunky, this does not mean that you can’t take a break from the world with these simple steps:

No news is no news – I am the world’s biggest news junkie but, face it, recently the quickest route to suicide is to hear what’s going on in the world. Exercise restraint. Turn off the “Talking Heads” (you’d get in trouble if you tried to cut off the “Talking Heads”.) Remember that the 24-hour news cycle doesn’t make the news different; it just makes it more annoying. The minute you separate yourself from the news, you will actually feel your blood pressure plummet. You will breathe more easily and that ice pick headache that hits you right behind the eyes when you hear the words “political campaign” will immediately abate.

Music soothes the savage breast – before we had surround sound, before we had cable everything, before we had podcasts, we had a thing called music. We usually listened to it on turntables that spun round and round, or in dinky transistor radios that didn’t have headphones, just an earpiece. We listened to girl groups and boy groups, soul music and R&B. The biggest problem anyone had was a broken heart or a boyfriend coming back who was gonna cause trouble. It was a simpler, more melodious time. IF you weren’t as stupid as I was and still have all your vinyls, revisit all your favorite groups. Hopefully, you still have a turntable. If not, turn your cable stations to the higher numbers and tune into the “golden oldies” channel. Just like that, memories will return to sock hops, soda fountains, and time when music was hummable and lyrics could be sung. You know, the “good old days”.

Facebook? Facebook? We don’t need no stinking Facebook – admit it. Clicking on to Facebook has become a programmed reaction for most of us. (I’m guilty!) You may as well call it “Crack-book.”

Facebook posts fall into a few recognizable categories: The Humble Brag (“We just don’t know whether our grandson should accept early admissions to Stanford, or simply wait for his guaranteed acceptance to Harvard. Any ideas?); The Political Rant (I’m guilty of this one, so it would be unfair of me to call out others); Memories are Made of This (“Does everyone in the class of ’68 remember when we all cut third period and headed down the shore?” Some of us weren’t invited to those excursions with the popular kids. Reading this memory only makes you feel like the class nerd, again.); The Cute Kitten/Dog/Baby meme; and, my least favorite, the “If you don’t share this picture and say ‘Amen” you are going to die a horrible death,”pictures  Is there any category there that you can’t live without for at least a day? Of course not. Mark Zuckerberg is actually an agent of the devil (and wouldn’t you love to see his parents’ “Humble Brags?”) and we all need an exorcism.

Put your mail and e-mail on vacation stop –if you are still working, you probably can’t do this. However, if you have retired, the only thing you get in e-mail is spam and ads, and the only thing you get in the mail is bills and catalogs. Put an “out of the office” message on your G-mail. Put a “vacation stop” on your snail mail. Almost everything you get can be delayed for a few days. If you were taking a real vacation, you would deal with all forms of mail when you got home, right? Warn close friends and family that you’re shutting down communications so that they don’t go to the news outlets with reports that you may have been kidnapped and held captive by Richard Simmons housekeeper. Other than that, everything can wait until the end of your vacation,

Play a drinking game – you do need to prepare for this one, and it is best if you have some friends to play it with you. If you have been sober and proud for any number of years or your friends are on medications that do not mix with alcohol, you could drink grape juice, I guess. In that case, make sure that there are adequate bathrooms for all participants.

Here is what you do: find a box set of an old sitcom (Friends jumps to mind), and binge watch it. Every time Ross and Rachel fight, take a drink. Every time Monica references her old fat self, take a drink. Every time Joey auditions and does not get the part, take a drink. Extra points for episodes with Marcel, the Monkey pooing in Rachel’s shoe, or Maggie Wheeler (Janice) makes an entrance with her catch phrase, “Oh My Gawd!”  You can also play this game with movies. Have a Meryl Streep film festival and take a drink every time she changes accents. Alternatively, you can go really retro and binge on Audrey Hepburn movies. This is sort of a different kind of game. You chug every time a woman in the group says, “I always wanted to look like her,” or, “Oh, I always wanted her eyes.” But then, what would Audrey have done for eyes?

Read trashy books –as a librarian, I subscribed to the theory that it did not matter what a kid read, so long as they read something. Same goes for adults. We all have “required reading” for work or book club. There is also that stack of books of e-book downloads that sounded like it was a book that you needed to read because everyone would be talking about it. Generally, these books are boring. Treat yourself to your favorite author or something really naughty. So what if you haven’t finished the book club selection? Neither has anyone else, I promise. Book club books are  like reading the Cliffs Notes for The House of Seven Gables in high school. And, yes, I admit that I didn’t read Hawthorne.

Commune with nature, but don’t let nature commune with you –it’s spring in most areas of the country. In Southern Florida, it’s now summer. Find a beautiful outdoor spot with a waterfall, or flowering trees, or a pond full of waterfowl. Bring bread to feed the birds, but if they mount an attack to seize the bread from you, run for the hills. If there are no hills nearby, run for the parking lot. Seriously, once you find a perfect spot like the one I’ve described, visit it often to soothe your soul.

So, that’s it, Bunky. Take a break. Take a rest. You’re on vacation. And always remember,

Lift your head up high and take a walk in the sun with dignity and stick-to-it-ive-ness and you’ll show the world, you’ll show them where to get off! And never give up, never give up… that ship!!!

After Fifty Living™ was founded by Jo-Anne Lema, a genuine Boomer and member of the 50+ generation. As she likes to say, “Our enormous generation is charting new territory – we’re healthier, better educated, and more financially fit than any other generation at this time. And, as we march through history, 110 million strong – unique, new issues are developing. It’s exciting to be a part of the development and growth of AfterFiftyLiving.com. This is a historic solution for a historic generation.”

Jo-Anne spent many years in the financial and operations side of higher education after having received a doctorate in education management and administration from Harvard, and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. Launching out on her own, though, has been the fulfillment of a life dream. Jo-Anne believes that “AfterFiftyLiving™ will delight its visitors, catalyze its partners, and will significantly benefit those who engage it.”

Residing in New England along with her husband of 35+ years, she never ceases to brag about her two children and 4 grandkids!

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