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Mr Average Boomer … Me !!!! Vol26

October 18, 2013

If you remember who killed JR, you must be a Boomer.

Well, I am back. After an encounter with a blood disease that entailed a bone marrow transplant, and a run-in with some chemotherapy, I am on the other side, coming out of the drug fog and regaining my strength.

My wife and some friends advised me to blog about my experience. Perhaps I could help people going through the same type of experience feel better or understand that some of the symptoms or reactions are normal, to be expected. Certainly, having your hands and feet swell, or having to pee every hour of every day can be scary. The fear is the  unknown, and since every body is different, no doctor can really help you predict all the effects that will be experienced. As I read the stories of  survivors, and their caregivers, on the internet, I sometimes cried. I did not have a religious epiphany per say, but staring down your imminent mortality can focus your thoughts into some dark holes. After all I am a Boomer, 58 years old, semi retired, and otherwise in great health. This was not supposed to happen to me !  At least not for many many years.

For me, maintaining a positive attitude is the main thing – really, that’s a life lesson whether you are sick or not. Personally, I am at the stage of my recovery where its time to get on with my life. The cancer did not kill me, so its time to show I am stronger for the experience.  Re-energizing my blog is an example of this recovery.

I decided not to write about my personal life experiences, as I am trying to keep this blog on Boomers and our general malaise. Really, who wants to read a sad story. I am striving to get  Boomers off their asses and see the big picture. In my view, this big picture encompasses Boomers as navel glazing, short sighted, goal-less lost souls who do not see the future.

I have called this situation as Boomers with a “hole in their soul”. We all seem to be unable to plan ahead, but that is a topic for a future blog.

After discussing my decision with family and friends, I was shocked to realize that, in many ways, my situation is very average, no matter how you slice it. This realization hurts, cause I am a Boomer, and arn’t we all different and special ? No so much, I realized.

Take our physical condition as an example. Medically, everyone is taking pills these days. When I tried to brag about the number of prescriptions I was on, everyone had their own stories. While some of these involved doctor recommended vitamins as opposed to hard medications, it seems everyone our age is on some regiment. Amazing. Even my wife, who has never been to a hospital in her life, has two shelves in the pantry with her pills. Does every Boomer have a daily pill sorter/reminder box ?  Pills for Diabetes and heart ailments, equipment for sleep apnea and nerve issues, and various diet supplements seem to be the most prevalent conditions, but I am sure obesity is also a factor for many of us. It’s a good thing we spend lots of money on our health care systems, as we will need them.

Like Teacher’s sick days, our health care systems were supposed to be a kind of insurance, something we all hoped we would never need, but if we did, it was there to save us from some catastrophic condition that was not our fault. My blood condition, according to the Cancer doctors, was not hereditary, nor diet related, just a free radical causing some internal system to go haywire. Not my fault, and exactly why I feel lucky that there was a cure, however horrific. Having smoked for 30 years, I would have regretted contracting lung cancer, but I would probably have accepted the disease as earned, if very unwanted. Now, like the Teachers feeling entitled to their sick days like some form of compensation to be saved, we all feel that our health care system needs to be funded because Boomers will be using it to fix our eating / drinking / physical habits.

Our sameness is just not in the health arena. Financially, everyone is chasing fewer investment ideas and riches. When I ask my friends what they are investing in, most talk about mutual funds or pension plans controlling their wealth. It seems to me that most of us spent our lives investing in real estate, buying the best house we could and watching it increase in value. Every other cent was spend on things, few of which were retirement related. I am reminded of the idea that a sign of intelligence is the ability to forgo an outcome today for an increased payout tomorrow – delaying satisfaction shows an ability to rationally view life.  I guess retirement planning looks the same to all of us. Freedom 55 was just a bad dream. As we start to retire, we are all chasing enough returns to fund our dreams. Whether its travel, helping our kids start their lives, or figuring out that our pets may wind up eating better than we do, the average Boomer plan will not sustain us in retirement. Perhaps that’s why more and more Boomers are mortgaging their homes, their major or only asset, to live better today.

The same ideas pertain to our marriages and our kids.  Short term thinking, over consumption, and a lack of planning bespeak to the perfect Boomer outcome, taking the family to a vacation buffet restaurant.

So, enough about me. Lets reboot. Next time on Boomers – wtf !, the US shutdown and why we need Republicans now more than ever.


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