According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Golden Years: Good Times or Just Painful Old Memories?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Golden Years: Good Times or Just Painful Old Memories?

Sam and I think we have finally figured out what the “Golden Years” are.

For a long time we thought the Golden Years were the years after you retired. You know, you quit work, maybe you receive a new gold watch, your 401-K or IRA are in good enough shape you can supplement your social security, and you ride off into the sunset traveling across America in a Class-A motor home crossing items off your bucket list.


No, Sam and I think the Golden Years more likely are those years you look BACK ON. You know, the good old days. You look back on your youth and think, boy did I have a good time then or boy was life good then - something like that. The nice thing about looking back and reminiscing about your life’s crowning moments is that they are colored golden because you’re old enough now to have forgotten most of the leaden moments. Are we right?

What’s so golden about growing older and having chronic arthritis or knee or hip replacements? What’s so golden about dieting all the time so you don’t aggravate your diabetes? What’s so golden about getting up in the morning with chronic backache? What’s so golden about needing a colonoscopy or a treadmill test, needing a cane or walker (and the beat goes on)?

What’s golden is when I was when I was marble champion of my neighborhood. What’s golden is when I was the tether ball champ of my grade school. What’s golden is when I was selected out of all the other kids in my eighth grade class to give a speech at graduation. What’s golden is winning a scholarship to go to college. And that just gets me through my first few years.

Moving on through my life’s golden moments, I remember fondly when I got my first job (in a grocery store), when I graduated from the California Highway Patrol Academy, when my two daughters were born, when I quit the Patrol and made my first sale as a real estate agent, when I went back to college and studied journalism and was hired as a sports editor, then a weekly newspaper managing editor and as a magazine editor, when I met and married Kathleen, when I published my first book (and I’m on my third now).

A couple of things have made me reminiscent about my golden years. First of all, my local newspaper is trying to get me to accept a “free” online subscription because I subscribe to the printed version and daily delivery. A lot of newspapers and magazines are going totally on line because print advertising has fallen off a cliff. But I don’t like reading my paper on line. I want to sit down with it and a cup of coffee and peruse it at my leisure. My eyes go buggy from looking at the computer screen so much.

Then there’s all those danged fundraising commercial s on Public Broadcasting TV trying to get me to buy music CDs with the golden year’s music of the 50s, 60s and 70s on them. This past week Kathleen and I watched several segments of Hullabaloo and Soul Train on PBS. Remember those? The music was wonderful and I was filled with nostalgia and I really wanted to make Bill Medley, Smokey Robinson, Petula Clark and Neil Sedaka happy by buying the CDs.

But to tell you the truth, I have purposely not dwelled on my past and wallowed in nostalgia, because some of my past memories are not so golden.

One of the old songs asks, “What about love?” I was madly in love during my golden years, but that didn’t work out. Like Nevil Shute, one of my favorite authors says in one of his books, you can never fall in love the first time again. And unfortunately, you seldom can hang on to the first time either. I don’t know about you, but for me the memory of first love is incredibly painful, not golden. And then there’s the painful memory of all the people who loved me that I hurt during my golden years.

If by golden, we mean that we can forget our painful memories and look forward to nothing but good times from now on, cool. But I don’t buy it. As someone once said to me, “Ain’t gonna’ happen.” We obviously need to live in the here and now to be truly happy, but some of the here and now isn’t going to be so golden either.

Two bags of poop on “golden years.” I just want regular years, whatever they are, thank you very much.

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