There were so many keen things in the past for today’s seniors. The lowdown of this snazzy earlier period will be a wacky and juicy journey, and fun, and will open your blinkers to many past dreams and familiarities. The memories will blow your wig. The first thing that comes to mind is the Golden Age of Radio and all those dingy radio shows you used to listen to as a family while gathered around the old white-enamel radio sitting on the souvenir cabinet in the living room. Fibber Magee and Molly, The Shadow (‘Only the Shadow knows’), Amos ‘n’ Andy, Adventures of the Thin Man, Abbott and Costello (‘Hey Abbott!’ or ‘Who’s on First?’), Gunsmoke, and music by Artie Shaw, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Glen Miller and Louis Armstrong, to name only a few. Usually a half-an-hour at a time trip into another world, and your mind would forget all the problems around you.
No TV in the real old days, but oh the movies that drew you downtown to the movie house. Lust for Life; The Treasure of Sierra Madre; Arsenic and Old Lace; musicals like Show Boat, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Singing in the Rain; The Mummy; Anne Frank; A Bridge Too Far; and stars Clark Gable, John Wayne, James Stewart, Boris Karloff, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Debra Kerr, Ava Gardner, and the young and older Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney – and all if it came with popcorn you could afford without taking out a second mortgage on the home. And the drive-ins! What fun! Oh, the rummaging through nostalgia is nice, but what Ralph Waldo Emerson said leads us to the next exploration, “With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now,”
The present is so much easier for seniors to deal with because it is right there where they can reach out and touch it and deal with it. At least most of it, except the wishes and what-ifs and the ‘woulda’, ‘coulda’, ‘shoulda’ factors. You woulda changed your life if you coulda known what you shoulda done differently. You won’t know now anyhow. So you might as well enjoy what you have and try not to get stuck on the treadmill to nowhere. Or, you wish you could lose some weight. Well, you can, it still is now and not then and tomorrow you could be thinner. Or, you wish you had more money. Well, you can if you want to work for it, but that sounds like work and not retirement. What if we had moved to warmer climate after retirement? Maybe you still can, if you have that extra money you may have to work for.
Movies are still around in all the Cineplex’s with seating for hundreds at six to sixteen shows in one building and some open 24-hours each day. The movies are in Cinemascope, Cinerama, about Sin-Sin and Action-Action, in 3D that attacks you in your seat, with dozens of actors you’ve never heard of before but will see over and over again, and popcorn and soda and unknown candy assortments that cost much more than the ticket. They are a fun trip and worth it to keep your blood flowing and almost better than TV.
TV these days will entertain you 24-hours a day. There’s no test pattern at midnight, and hundreds of channels are available traveling to you through cables and satellites for the price of monthly admission called a bill. Movies from all the ages as well as new ones just out of the theaters; games shows for every age and education level; regular programming of comedies, mysteries, crimes, documentaries, sports, and 24-hours news. But you know all this because it is just a few feet in front of your lounge chair. Of course, you could follow the advice of Groucho Marx who had a long running show of his own, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
The future is a mystery that will never be reached and never solved. It is always there in front of you. You can make plans for it, make lists of things to do today, layout vacation plans and make reservations at a nice resort, and then your plans could change because the car won’t start, or you stub your toe and have to go to the clinic. The future is kind of a hidden door between now and then that you can’t open to reveal its true identity. It’s only manifested in the dreams we have about how it will be. “The future ain’t what it used to be,” said everyman’s philosopher, Yogi Berra. And for many seniors that is very true . It used to be thoughts of relaxation and coming down from a life of stress and work and money worries. The only answer is to lay back and keep the dream alive, however possible. That sounds like work, but the reward is bliss. But one psychologist, Wayne Dyer, said, “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.”