The world of the aging has divided into two.
That's what I first bumped into but didn't understand around 2014.
For instance, Huebner, although not married to a successful man, has made the right professional moves. She purchased a house in an Oro Valley, Arizona upper middle class retirement complex. A creative bohemian and risk taker, my career had not been linear. It still isn't. And, the rollercoaster ride suited my creative metabolism just fine.
Back then in the early years of the 21st century, I was struggling, financially, emotionally, and socially.
The shock of becoming older had grabbed me by the neck, shook me hard, and threw me to the ground. Lesson Number-One: Never reach out when vulnerable.
That's when a lovely couple relocated to our residential complex from 1,000 miles away.
Of course, they had interesting stories to recount of how it had been where they had been, why they moved, and what they think of their new home.
We were all ears. Storytellers cast spells.
Then something familiar happened: The conversation seemed to shift to what they had which they assessed we didn't.
For example, The New Smugs kept hammering that they owned a getaway several hours from their rental here.
Of course, they were going to invite us all to stay. As yet, not one of us has been invited.
Oh, the getaway is real. (One hat I wear in my communications/coaching career is investigator.)
Also real, though, is that the gateaway seems to be positioned and packaged as much as a status symbol as the beach house in the Hamptons which our bosses and clients back in the New York Metro area used to boast about, promise to have the office over, and never did.
There's that emerging adage among the aging: The first 50, 60, 70, or 80 years of my life hadn't been too hot. However, there are definite signs of a turnaround.
But financially I am not among the 1%. And after embracing The New Minimalism or Enoughness I have no desire to have more than I have.
Somehow I got lucky and was able to leave the Hunger for More in the 20th century.
However, it still annoys me to have those my age seemingly continue to indulge in those games of youth in which making others feel less-than had been necessary for their sense of self.
From the hood in Jersey City, New Jersey (pre-gentrification), I perceived myself having been tormented by many of my classmates as well as professors and the members of the administration at Seton Hill.
Perhaps "annoy" is an understatement. The correct phrase might be to apply that phrase executive coach Henry Cloud made famous: Necessary Endings. Here, his book by that title can be ordered from Amazon. That is Lesson Number-Two: Prune and keep pruning the tree of life.
Although I did not understand the phenomenon of how those from the past can have negative effects in the present, I dumped those members of the Class of 1967 in May 2014. That was one month after I had relocated myself, my two businesses, and my four-legged son from Connecticut to Tucson, AZ. I was based about a 25-minute ride from Huebner's house.
That radical purging (of Huebner et al.) response came from something intuitive inside me.
It was that same inner psychic which helped me navigate off the dangerous streets of my hometown to something different. Different does not necessarily mean "safe," at least not emotionally and socially. Hahaha. No wonder smart young people have no goal to leave the housing projects in the inner city. For decades I have wondered if I would have suffered less in life had I stayed in Jersey City.
Currently, I have made enough progress on the learning curve with The New Smugs to exit that toxicity without extreme disruption.
For example, when they bring up a future invitation to Paradise, I just smile and go my way. Of course, the Jersey City kid in me is tempted to respond: Inviting folks to a vacation home had been the plot line in one of those serial-killer crime shows. Might have been "Criminal Minds." Then, run off laughing like a fiend.
In addition, I am not all ears about what neighbors have come to say about The New Smugs. That sort of gossip simply mirrors the ethos of our insecure youth of meanness.
Lesson Number-Three is to forgive oneself for not sizing up the situation accurately faster.
Only now, 53 months later am I able to do that. When stuck, it's wise to lay low. We put alligators in the moat and pull down the drawbridge. From the top of our tower, which represents our little lives, we evaluate what is both safe and useful to let in. Only then we make a move.
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