It’s a new dawn,
It’s a new day,
it’s a new life…
and I’m feeling good!
That kind of says it all, doesn’t it?
It depends on perspective I supposed.
It’s a new dawn… And my happy ass is already at work watching the sun rise and looking at 10 more long hours ahead.
It’s a new day… Wednesday. Three more days of stress and aggravation until the weekend.
It’s a new life… That’s getting shorter for this old man every day.
And I’m feeling good… If you don’t count the advanced arthritis in my knee, and general aches and pains that are always worse in the winter.
I’m not really old you understand. I still have a couple more years until the big 60. And at least 15 more years before I can retire. But when your manager is 43, and the average age of your coworkers is 30, then 58 is definitely old. A few years ago my career took a huge downturn. Thanks to a change in the economy and shift in the local business concentrations I went from being the head honcho of a mid-size business to an individual contributor part of a large staff for a fortune 500 company. And my salary adjusted accordingly. I’ve recovered somewhat, but when I took this job it was a 60% pay cut. But 60% of something is better than 100% of nothing, and that was the choice I had. I had a former employee apply for a job at my company, and she approached me for a reference. She used to be an indirect report (By two levels), and the job she’s applying for is two levels above me. I have to admit, that smarts. Of course, she’s half my age, has a degree (which I don’t) and is in a field that isn’t affected by the job market changes. I am old enough however to be beyond the point of any major job change. My opportunities within my current company are limited, and no one is going to hire someone who will be able to retire in just a few years. And don’t say, you never know! You might still find something. Two years of job applications and head hunters with no, yes NO responses will beg to differ. So I’m trying to look at this as my pre-retirement job, not part of my career path.
It’s kind of fun being the old man though. I love telling stories to the kids at work about how it used to be back in the day. As a youngster I used to keep a dime in my shoe to be able to call home from a phone booth in case of an emergency. Phone booths? What the hell is that? Why not use your cell phone? They’re so cute. Call 411? (or 999 for my friends across the pond). That didn’t even exist until the 1980’s. Whaaat? What did you do in an emergency? They were talking the other day about ‘classic’ music. Green Day? Weezer? Foo Fighters? Please! What about the Animals? Waylon Jennings? Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead and The Band for crying out loud. THAT was real music. Of course, if I could have asked my parents it would be more like Frank Sinatra, Irving Berlin, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland. The difference though is that I also know and appreciate that era too. Today’s punks, uh…I mean today’s youth by and large doesn’t have a clue. Ask anyone under the age of 40 about the Viet Nam war. Yeah, they’ve heard about it… maybe. Tet offensive? Mai Lai? Ohio State? Huh? They have no concept of what it’s like to live without a microwave, personal computer, or cable TV.
And I’m not just talking about millennials either. These are the 30 to 45 year old range too.
You know, I appreciate all the new gadgets and conveniences of today. But I really miss the old days more. It wasn’t without our own strife and anxiety though. Remember the monthly air raid drills? The town siren would blow at noon the first Wednesday of the month, and we’d all go into the hallway at school, sit on the floor with our backs against the wall, and wait for nuclear annihilation by those commie reds. The Kennedy assignation was a catastrophe on a world scale. The sexual revolution, the anti-war movement, gas crisis, and the resignation of a US President (For offensives that would barely make the news today) kept our world in turmoil. But we didn’t have all the news outlets screaming in our faces 7×24, sensationalizing events real and imagined just to keep their ratings and everyone worked up. We had the morning paper with news and the afternoon paper with local stories. And 5 days a week the local TV Station (one of three) had an hour news broadcast, with news, weather, sports, and generally an editorial piece reflecting the stations views. CLEARLY defined as the stations VIEWS, not hard news. The weekends were for Cartoons, Westerns and Hee Haw.
I found a photo of the ‘city’ nearest the town where I grew up the other day. Just a few ladies downtown shopping in their dresses and bouffant hairdos, and a man walking by the ‘56 Chevy in his overcoat and fedora. I showed my co-workers, and they were just amazed! Both at the fact that there were people from that time were still alive, and I was one of them! It made me sad, but a happy memory at the same time.
Wow. How did I get down this path?
That’s my joy with the written word and my style of writing. I never know quite where I’m going to go. I guess I like stories that have a surprise ending. Even my own.
That reminds me of something that happened just last week. That’s for another time though.
I wonder how it’s going to end?