Seniors Seek Normalcy in Abnormal Times

Jun 21st, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

It is likely too much to ask or expect, but normalcy appears to be another of those things of the past. Seeking normalcy, particularly after retirement, is a presumed goal which assumes life may have some predictability, sufficient sociability and satisfactory sustainability. None of this seems any more likely than persons being assured they won’t lose their jobs before retiring.

These are abnormal times. Some try to live apart from the encroaching realities which include unanticipated disasters that threaten home and hearth, the economy and one’s nest egg, the prospect of welcoming your adult children to move back home, the fear of traveling in parts of the world that are in upheaval. The talk of another great depression leaves many fearful and anxious. And, as Linda Ellerbee used to say, “so it goes.”

Adaptability seems to be the most useful and necessary of qualities today. Being able to accommodate the impinging threats of the contemporary world means recognizing the true nature of contemporary living. Nothing follows a pattern of normal, expected predictability. True, the sun also rises and sets. True, bills keep coming. True, politicians keep manipulating. True, there is, except for “ditto heads,” strong evidence of climate change. That is all that seems predictable any longer: change and multifaceted shapes and forms of it.

There seemed to be a time when sitting on a porch swing in a neighborhood, where neighbors knew everyone,and children and pets romped playfully from yard to yard was the norm. Fireflies lit the way as the kids attempted to catch their share. Lemonade soothed the throat and cooled the brow at day’s end. There were no loud squealings of tires or gunshots or music blaring from one source or another. Everyone was free, but everyone understood respect.

Now, we are in a time when disruption doesn’t allow for peace and tranquility. There is so much going on that on any given evening to find anyone relaxing anywhere, as just desserts of a well spent day, is almost unheard of. The tires squeal, the “music” plays, and in some neighborhoods the guns are fired.

The principles and practices that seemed to meld together a culture have all undergone challenge and change. It will never be that way again. That is the one reality that is clear. Nostalgia is for those who can’t keep up with all the interferences and static of a new day. Sorry, but that is just the way it is.

The truth is that these aren’t such abnormal times. They are just the times in which we are set and must work out our means for coping. Every generation for the past several thousand years has been set with its own “abnormality.” When the Mongols came over the hill, change was in the air. When the Huns fought for their dominance, things would never be the same. During the climate changes of previous times, people starved and became nomadic. During the last depression, the Okies, making their way to California, became a national symbol. And, “so it goes.”

Adjustment is the order of the day. Preparation for change, that may loom cataclysmic, is not a bad idea. Recognizing that things aren’t going to demonstrate permanence and predictability, except as things change, is the mature perspective for today’s abnormal times. So, as you long to sit on your porch in your swing, find a substitute that allows for a few moments of one of life’s richest occasions. And, please don’t ask your spouse to grab you a beer, while you watch the ball game on television at high volume.

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