I officially became a “senior citizen” when I turned 55 years old in June. My mom turned 75 years old the following month. Given the protectiveness of my family and my early experiences with serious illnesses, I often thought I’d be dead by 30 years of age. I thought about death and suicide a lot. This might explain why I had my mid-life crisis at the age of 25. Post crisis, I went back to college while continuing to work full-time. After taking classes focused toward various majors, I opted for Secondary Education/English until I applied for and won a position as a DA Intern with the federal civil service. Computers had been my hobby and were now my career. I eventually consolidated credit from many colleges and CLEP to get a B.S. from Regents College in 2000. (I graduated from high school in 1980, married in 1983 and divorced in 2003.)
As I believe has happened to others before me, my work at my hobby eventually eclipsed the fun of it and I found other interests. I found links in roundabout ways, including early adoption of iTunes and eBook readers evolving into smartphones and android. Following my divorce, I chose live music and crafts, returning to concerts and knitting. I continued to read though my interests and genres grew and changed. I am attempting to form the habits of a writer now and hope to leverage that after retirement (planned now for age 60).
What has struck me is not that I feel “old,” but that I feel somewhere between tired and bored on the spectrum. And the deaths of “my” icons brings this home. As I’ve mentioned before, Robin Williams’ suicide hit me hardest, but the deaths of Tom Petty and David Cassidy (among many others) this year have affected me too. I grew up watching the Partridge Family and singing those songs into a microphone connected to my dad’s small amplifier. I loved the Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island. I watched the Saturday morning shows and various musical variety shows. That all segued into Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, and the Bill Cosby Show.
I rarely watch sitcoms anymore. I’ve tried a few and will stop on some if I’m channel surfing and nothing else catches my attention, but these days I watch drama, crime drama, action and news shows like the Daily Show, VICE, and Dateline.
In the end, this all reflects my loss of innocence and optimism. Many of the small things that I once thought important seem irrelevant and everyone seems to have questionable ethics. People seem unwilling to be responsible for their own actions (or failures to act). I am trying to live by “see something, say something,” but much of the time that makes me tired too. Human progress seems easily stymied and reversible by demagogues, sheep and idiots. Individual quality of life seems merely the luck of the draw and we are all just marking time.