The Tao of the Baby Boomer

The Tao of the Baby Boomer

Yes it’s true I write a great deal about getting older. Usually I try to include humor in my tirades just to ease the pain a bit, but lately I find myself at a loss about how to stem the tide of gray hair, muscles morphing into fat and turning up the television sound at regular intervals.

Oh sure we all share the same trials and tribulations about the passing years and I’ve often thought that the Baby Boomer generation, who I believe, and more so every day was one of the smartest groups to populate the earth, should have some answers. 

However, as I meditate on the past and the idols we all shared I’m coming up a bit empty on the whole self-help front. What exactly should we have learned from the childhood icons we spent our time watching and adoring?

I’m starting with Clarabell. Don’t mock yet, for in thinking about this silent clown who preferred to communicate though a horn I have discovered so much wisdom my mind truly boggles.

First and foremost to my knowledge no one ever told us why he honked instead of talking like regular people.

So was it to promote silence? Nope, don’t think so since that damn horn was noisy and annoying. I’d rather he spout Shakespeare than keep violating my ears with that racket, so what did we learn here? Or perhaps should have learned?

Perhaps Clarabell was trying to teach us that sometimes we can communicate without the need for words. A smile, a beep, a wink or a hand gesture, and I think we all know that a hand gesture can indeed speak volumes, can suffice when communicating our thoughts.

Did he also want us to learn that we need to look behind the mask and make up human beings may use to cover up their feelings at times and see the real person? That digging deeper is sometimes a true act of charity when someone needs our help. So was the message wasted? How many of us have sought to determine whether or not someone is truly hurting when they portray a mask of unkindness to the world? Have we reached out and learned Clarabell’s lesson or merely walked away when we could have helped?

Of course most importantly is the lesson of silence. How many times have we spoken and regretted our words? How many times have we kept silent and made a greater impact? Many I assume. I know I have.

I could never speak of idols without including the great Bugs Bunny. Oh the lessons here were too numerous to mention, but one of my very favorites was wearing a mask to achieve our ends in life? No, I haven’t lost it altogether, although I admit I’m pretty close after watching the news this morning. If you will reach back into your memory banks and visualize Bugs in red lipstick and a bear trap in his mouth seductively stopping the Tasmanian Devil in his steps, you will agree that sometimes make up can do wonders. No, I don’t mean in the sense we can stop a mugger by applying lipstick, but that when we face the world both friends and adversaries, oftentimes it is necessary to wear a different face in diverse situations. We must morph into that which will achieve our ultimate goal and secure what we are seeking. In other words knowing our opponent is a special power that one might even call a super power if, we are Marvel fans.

Whether it is to close a multi-million dollar deal or simply convince a salesperson to return a sweater that pilled too quickly, our superpower is in knowing how to handle others. Thank you, Bugs. Of course it is also obvious that a little lipstick and great haircut will do wonders for seducing the opposite sex, and we probably have the Bugmeister to thank for that lesson. If he can stop the Tasmanian Devil, we can secure a second date.

American Bandstand’s lesson is an easy one, you can actually dance your troubles away and Dick Clark had found the Fountain of Youth. Although the dancing part gets a bit sketchy when you’re recovering from that knee replacement.

No list of learning would be complete without the Mickey Mouse Club. So what did we learn from the people with the mouse ears? So much. For example did you know Wednesday is anything-can-happen day? Every week I couldn’t wait for Wednesday and although I watched diligently the other four days, it was the excitement of not knowing what might happen that kept me glued to the old black and white TV set. 

This was a truly important lesson that I have carried with me my entire life. For if we’ve learned nothing from our stay on this planet it is that there is no knowing, no magic power that can prepare us for what is to come. This is the yin and yang that truly defines life. For it is the thrill of the unknown paired with the fear of tomorrow that makes life so seductive. Will tomorrow be a better day or bring more problems?Will I laugh or cry when the sun rises and am I the one who ultimately determines which that will be?

Perhaps a bit of both I say.

How many people have visited a psychic and the first thing they say is, “don’t tell me anything bad.” Ah, so there are conditions on us knowing the future after all. 

So anything can happen day is a double-edged sword. Of course on the Mickey Mouse Club it was always something fun, but in real life we’ve learned perhaps not so much all the time.

Of course there are many more examples of the Tao of the Baby Boomer or as the Mandalore put it, “This is the Way.” I shall continue to write about them from time to time and I’d love to hear from readers as well about, so please write.

In the end growing old is nothing to joke about, or is it? Is this what we have learned from all the upbeat icons of the past after all? Is it our responsibility to take the knowledge of the past and find some comfort and often much humor in what has come before?

What lessons can we embrace each day to better our lives?

First, don’t watch the news. Call a friend each day and laugh together. Count five things we are grateful for and damnit, I don’t care what anyone says, eat chocolate! I sometimes go on YouTube and pull up the acts of my favorite comedians and just sit and laugh. It does actually help and if you have some chocolate while you’re laughing, well I believe they call that achieving nirvana.

I truly believe there is no magic bullet for aging despite all those who profess to know the answers, but I do know that sharing the creaking bones, anemic metabolism and every new wrinkle with friends helps. And when you’re having a really bad day just remember what Clarabell always said…

Seriously, Does it Cost This Much to be Me?

Seriously, Does it Cost This Much to be Me?

When Aliens land they better have a lot of money if they’re planning to stay on this planet for any length of time.

I’ve noticed the cost of keeping myself going is rising exponentially to years spent here. There is so much more entailed in just getting up and getting going now I wonder that it’s worth “the getting” at all.

Perhaps that’s why so many of my age group discovered during COVID it really wasn’t so bad staying at home.

Now I find myself among those who with just the slightest provocation are content to stay in sweats or comfy jammies in front of the flat screen in lieu of preparing this tired old body so it is presentable enough to go outside.

What once was a quick dab of this or that has suddenly become a truckload of all things necessary to get ready to face the world.

Let’s face it, youthful skin glows without the extra products necessary, young hair shines, young eyes are unencumbered with bags and young bodies are firm and toned without Spanx.

The Lord in his mercy designed our close up vision to worsen as we age to avoid seeing those wrinkles and lo and behold the Devil creates the ten-times magnifying mirror. Kudos, Satan, that was truly one of your greatest accomplishments and actually, your most evil since politicians.

I spend way too much of my time shopping for face creams, hair products, vitamins, medications, comfortable shoes that won’t leave me unable to walk for days after wearing them, and all the other products and services it takes to support me in my laugh laugh golden years.

I have come to the conclusion that although it’s much easier to downsize when older it doesn’t include bathroom drawers and storage closets.

Although my wardrobe may be smaller, my supply of facemasks, creams, body lotions, and hair shiners is large enough to fill the hole left by the world trade towers.

It’s crazy how much time one must spend preparing for the day. Sure hats help to disguise a bad hair day and Lord knows I make good use of them, but even wearing a mask to avoid lipstick cannot hide the giant Hefty bags under one’s eyes and having to buy concealer by the barrel.

Sure, you say, just wear sunglasses but you can’t wear them indoors without looking like a wanna be movie star and although spandex added to jeans is a discovery that should have been awarded the Nobel Prize years ago, one still needs Spanx.

I even find myself actually watching supplement commercials and senior exercise videos on YouTube. I didn’t say I actually performed the exercises, but I have deluded myself into believing just viewing them will somehow help me maintain a hard body. Huh! There hasn’t been anything hard on my body since 1979, except for the metal knee implant.

So why do we even bother to try and recapture youth? What makes us so aggressive about seeing ourselves as we were and not as we are becoming?

Well let’s be honest, aging ain’t no fun.

Oh sure I know the mantra about how grateful we should be to be here at all. Yes, I subscribe to that idea and am grateful, but it’s hard to deny living our lives older takes preparation and lots more money.

Getting out of bed in the morning is accompanied by moans and groans, aches and pains in places I didn’t know I had places, and that first glance in the mirror, well all I can say is OY!

One must ask oneself is it harder now because we notice things we had no time to notice when young, or have our bodies truly changed so much it’s impossible to ignore the obvious?

When we’re chasing our kids around, cleaning the house, dragging our tired bodies to bed at the end of a long day who ever had time to think about how many vitamins we’d taken?

Now suddenly it’s all about us and even if one chooses to ignore what’s changing, our bodies have become the Glenn Close of our existence. Did you know they make anti crepe cream for your arms? Who the hell paid attention to that crap years ago?

I can’t believe the money I spend on all the stuff I apply, drink, swallow and rub on my joints.

And it always seems like no matter how much of everything I buy at Costco to store away, I’m always running out of stuff.

My car automatically drives itself to CVS now and instead of planning fun trips to Las Vegas to gamble I am supporting Proctor and Gamble.

Of course we should make the effort to have great joint health, fewer wrinkles, thick hair, white teeth, regular check ups and try our damnest to ignore the scary warnings on all those new miracle drugs on television. I saw one recently that claimed it could help my arthritis, but it might be at the expense of a liver. Check please I’ll keep my arthritis thank you.

Once I never noticed the TV commercials for nursing homes for Mom, now I shake and cringe each time one comes on.

I am one high maintenance and expensive broad, but not because I’m traveling first class to every exciting European capital or wearing diamonds from Cartier, but because meds cost money.

Staying alive is damn costly and of course necessary but wow, whodda thought?

So is there a solution to this constant outpouring of money to keep us alive, functioning and looking good?

Is staying home and streaming the answer? Nope. For as long as we’re living we must keep living. We really need to get up, get dressed and get out to get on with our lives. Despite how much we’d rather not that day.

What’s the use of being alive if you retreat from life?

So I guess I’ll keep creaming, supplementing and Spanxing to go out and face the world. Even if the world doesn’t appreciate I’m saving them from the scary experience of seeing me au natural, the mirrors I pass by will.

So I’ll shop till I drop even if it’s not for the fun stuff I once bought. Hey I just got a fifty-cent coupon online for Oil of Olay. Great, now I’ll have enough for that trip to Versailles.

To All The Words I’ve Loved Before

To All the Words I’ve Loved Before

“To all the girls I’ve loved before. Who’ve traveled in and out my door…”  Willie Nelson

Years ago Willie Nelson wrote a song dedicated to all the girls he’d loved before. Thinking about the words conjured up memories of all the books I’ve written before. Of course the fact I have been cleaning out my file cabinet and come across many an unfinished tome might have had something to do with those thoughts.

So as I perused the unfinished manuscripts about old movie star houses in Beverly Hills, girls wanting to be eaten by a shark, the Viet Nam war and draft dodgers in Toronto, an escape with friends to distant places and even our cat solving a neighborhood mystery along with a few others I wondered what might have happened had they been published or more to the point had I ever finished them.

Looking back at the novel about draft dodgers living in Toronto I can see some obvious problems there. Like perhaps how do you write a book you know nothing about. Okay, so I know youth makes us stupid but why would I think that visiting Toronto on so many occasions would make me an expert on the Viet Nam war or living in hiding? Or even being drafted?  Not quite up my alley and of course there is no way I could have ever finished that book. Oh sure I could have interviewed people who lived that life, and many authors have done well using that formula, I am not one of them however. I myself have always subscribed to the old adage…”write about what you know” and in my experience I understand why.

I must always feel passionate about what I write. And although at the time I am feeling excited about a book’s possibilities my energy level begins to subside when I realize how little I know about my character’s experiences.

So what does this have to do with anything actually? I’m sure there are many writers that have begun many books only to discard them when their passion waned, so why am I feeling particularly sad about these long forgotten tomes? And why am I certain the way I feel probably has nothing whatsoever to do with Viet Nam, sharks or even Cary Grant’s old home in Beverly Hills.

These unfinished books are merely another reminder of the passage of time and dreams never fulfilled.

Not to become too maudlin about the subject there are many sad things about aging aside from the obvious…aches, pains, loss, the hate you begin to feel for mirrors or any reflective objects.

I truly believe the excitement of new possibilities is one of the best things about being young. Those times when you were over the moon about a new project or adventure looming in the distance ahead. When you jumped out of bed in the morning filled with the joy of entering a new world of discovery and unlimited choices only you could make happen.

And now the only chance I have of leaping out of bed at breakneck speed is if someone nearby yells fire or an earthquake shakes me out.

Perhaps it’s that feeling I miss most. The high of a new day fraught with new chapters to be written, new lives to be led and new places to see. I mean of course besides the orthopedist office or dermatologist to find out what that new thing growing on your body is and what the hell?

About now you might be feeling as depressed as someone who can’t find a drug store open when they are pmsing for a Hershey bar at midnight. And no I’m not trying to be a downer here, but perhaps just nostalgic for the old days when I felt that anticipation of the leap into a new dimension, a new planet of the possible. Is there really a damn Multi-verse and how do I get there?

I am fighting the it’s-too-late blues daily but I’m beginning to get the I’m-moving syndrome. You know that place you find yourself in when you are moving out of your home and you need to replace a rosebush but you won’t buy one because you won’t be around to see it grow so you are in limbo and can’t move forward. You’re stuck in the mire of why do it if I’m going to move land? I hate that place. I hate not being able to embrace the new. 

My parents refused to buy new windows. Oh sure their house was fifty years old and desperately needed them, but they were in their eighties and felt like why bother in a few years we’ll sell the house or be dead anyway. Hmm, maybe that’s where I got it.

Yep we all know someone like that. The why redecorate people or the why do I need a new dress people or the why travel in this scary new world folks.

As bad as it was before it’s worse now after the pandemic. I actually have friends who don’t like to leave the house anymore. So now even more are spending their life getting all their kicks from the new movie on Netflix or reruns on Hulu or heaven help us all the real housewives. Talk about an oxymoron, there’s nothing real about those chicks.

So why have I brought you down this sad Willie Nelson inspired path? Is it to remind us all how limited life becomes as we age or perhaps something very different? Stay with me here it gets better, I promise.

When I pulled out the books I realized something else after the depression lifted; each book is a new possibility; a new chapter to be written and something challenging ahead.

I can buy a new rose bush now or fix the windows or finish that great American novel because there is a huge difference at this age. This age. That’s right, although many unwanted things come with getting older the accumulation of wisdom is not one of them. When I was in my thirties writing about draft dodging I had no life experience to add to the discussion. How did shopping give me insight into the fear of going to war? What did I know about leaving home and starting over in a new place. Well I sure as hell do now.

Every book I began needed to congeal and coalesce and become its best self. Or perhaps I did.

What is the point of obtaining wisdom if we don’t use it to our advantage?

So what I’m actually trying to say here is that the dreams, plans and possibilities of youth are more exciting and closer to you now. Whatever you wished for fifty years ago you can accomplish more easily now, despite age and slowing down a bit.

You can paint that masterpiece, learn to play piano, write that self help book, tap dance, refurbish that cabinet, open that boutique or even take that cruise around the world. An old friend of mine just wrote a book about his experiences in the music business fifty years ago.

The best part is seeing it through the eyes of life experience and not the naïveté of youth.

One of the benefits of aging is the ability to see things clearly. Hindsight is indeed twenty twenty and maybe that’s why we remember forty years ago so well, but not last week. Seeing life though the lens of a lifetime of moments lived, lessons learned and loves given and returned or spurned is a beautiful approach to anything you wish to accomplish. 

So now I’m settling in to reread that Viet Nam book while you all start that long ago abandoned project. I’m sure the next Jane Austin or Rembrandt is among my readers. Of course you are. Good luck and let me know how it’s all coming along. 

What to do When Your Dream Comes True

What To Do When Your Dream Comes True?

  What do you do when a dream comes true? Is there more than one way to deal with the realization that something you’ve strived for and sacrificed to accomplish is now in the rearview mirror of life’s highway? Should we be happy, sad, anxious, at peace or feeling a million other emotions jolting through us like electrical charges? To all of the above I say yes.

We all work toward goals that are clearly laid out on the drafting table of our mind’s eye, yet it seems when they finally materialize they are never exactly like the picture we’ve stared at for years. When there is fulfillment of a dream, it almost always is a bit different than we imagined and usually far better than what we’d conjured. Why is that? Shouldn’t it be exactly as we planned? It happened, but why is it different than we envisioned? We never foresaw that part of the dream or that wonderful addition or twist.

We hear the words and we do hear them often, you must never give up on your dreams. Trite clichés like teamwork makes the dream work and quitters never win and winners never quit keep us moving forward in the blind belief we can control the final outcome. And there’s the rub. Because we do get the outcome, but it’s far better than we planned. Shouldn’t it be perfectly perfect in every way? Who changed it and made it even better than we ourselves could ever imagine? What cosmic force interfered and took our dream and colored outside of our lines. Sure the infrastructure is still there, but the building is far more grand and beautiful than our blueprints.

If it’s true that what man can conceive he can achieve shouldn’t we just simply loosen up a bit? Is the reason some feel a certain letdown after realization of a goal because they simply don’t know where they should be heading next? Or have they driven so long in one direction they can’t imagine a different one. If there is some sort of destiny running alongside us in our quest, why must we embrace the burden fully? Perhaps it is for that very reason that fate rides along with us to simply see how dedicated we are and whether or not our dreams should fall short or be far greater than expected.

Is it merely a case of the smaller the dream the fewer enhancements it should be afforded? Or is every dream worthy of the same grand gesture from our better angels? So I pose a simple question: is the amount of effort we put into a dream what determines how much fate contributes to the outcome? Or is the amount of struggle and disappointment the catalyst for all the help? Is the amount destiny contributes a result of other disappointments and failures coming back to add to our joy over this one success? And if that’s the case why do so many people never realize their dreams but are instead thrust onto a totally different life path?

I’m not quite certain about the answers to these questions because it seems certain knowledge can never be made available and although we believe we have it all worked out, we usually don’t. I suppose there are people who achieve a dream and say, “Okay now that’s done so I can relax and play golf.” But there are also others who feel once a dream has been accomplished it only means another one begins. It is in essence a piggyback effect and leads to new chapters and adventures, perhaps never before imagined. We can never be quite certain of where a moment might lead. Small choices that may seem irrelevant to our journey can in fact be the very thing that propels us into the place we’ve struggled to reach.

One hears stories of how a simple act like making a wrong turn or getting into the wrong elevator can create an opportunity to achieve a goal long abandoned. So maybe dreams once dreamt are really never forgotten and are always possible despite our own choices.
When I was a comedian I dreamed of being on the Tonight Show. To receive a visit from the suits at NBC was the goal of every jokester that stood on a stage. Thirty-six years later I got the call and made it to NBC not because of my comedy, but because of an appearance on the Food Network. So was my comedy inconsequential to my journey or only one wheel on the vehicle that would drive me forward to success? It wasn’t the Tonight Show, it wasn’t a sitcom, it wasn’t anything I ever could have imagined and yet all the things I’d done in my life led up to the moment I entered Universal Studios and saw the Peacock emblem.

Was it what I’d imagined, heavens no. It was an experience far greater than my own limited dreams could take me. And now I must try to imagine the next stop on the journey after the detour I’ve just realized. So am I unique, not at all. If I had a dollar, even with the inflation this bad, for every time I heard someone say, “what happened was far beyond my wildest dreams,” I’d be richer than the Kardashians.

So in truth I must admit, it was, far greater that is. Would I still like to have had a moment with Johnny Carson? Of course. We don’t just stop caring about our goals although they’ve been surpassed and turned out differently than imagined. But I know now that it was the quest to be on the Tonight Show that led me to Baking It and the enhanced dream. There are always pitfalls, letdowns and disappointments on the road to achievement , but when success finally arrives it brings with it a sense of wonder and fulfillment far greater than can be imagined.

In the end I suppose one might say the powers that be usually want more for us than we want for ourselves, and in the end they do have the power after all.

Good luck with your dreams and let 2022 be the year you achieve, and believe it can be even greater than you ever imagined.  

What We Need to Be Real

What We Need to be Real

 I believe in Merlin the Magician. Of course believing in the greatest wizard who ever or never lived might seem foolishness personified to some, and cause great disagreement with the Harry Potter fans, but I choose to believe there once was a Merlin and a King Arthur complete with Knights of the Round Table that served their king with bravery and dedication. I’m not the only one so don’t look at me like that, man has been fascinated with the Arthurian legend forever.

Of course many would look at me and say I’m a few ants short of a picnic for this outrageous statement, however I’ve found life is incredibly easier if we give in to our inner child occasionally and treat ourselves to a great fantasy, like a hot fudge sundae with no calories once a month. Okay. So most people don’t wait a whole month, and okay so maybe it’s more like once a week, but my point remains the same. A great happy ending often does more for the soul than chocolate.

Yet, as the year ends I’m forced as so many to take stock and examine the past 365 days to make some type of value judgment on all events. So you might ask of me, why am I fixated on Merlin? Simply in this second year of COVID insanity for me Merlin represents magic, pots of gold at the end of rainbows and unicorns with magic-studded horns. Of mysterious forests filled with wood nymphs and fairies. I choose to believe there is magic in the world and whether or not I see it is irrelevant for it exists beyond my sight. Outside the realm where we must live and deal with the mundane and ordinary is a place filled with all the mystical wonders that escape slowly when mankind most needs to believe.

There is something within us that craves more purity and greatness than what we see with our eyes and can defy the senses. A question I must ask, why is it so easy to believe in the evil that exists beyond the world of the seen and not the good? Is it because wickedness dominates us now?

If one asked a room of people if the devil exists I am certain the answers would come down to three: no, yes he exists and three, wickedness exists so I guess you could call it the devil, in a way. For reasonably if evil exists in the world, and one look at Congress and there can be no argument on the issue, then who is the force behind that malevolence? And please don’t blame voters who are consistently faced with choosing between the lesser of two evils.

So why are we as human beings so smitten by the dark side of man’s nature and cast aside a belief in the mystical so easily? Especially when our souls crave it so. Fire-breathing dragons and monsters that go bump in the night are far more believable than Tinkerbell. And yes I clap because I believe in fairies. There is a war inside all of us between the innocence of our youthful fantasies that embrace the proverbial happy ending, and the pragmatist that cannot deny the wicked side of man’s nature so apparent in our daily lives. Now more than ever our society is faced with the inescapable truth that man’s nature too easily succumbs to its evil intentions. How shall we believe otherwise when each day we are bombarded with proof of the decline of goodness and righteousness?

Shall we blame the media? I, as a member of that once illustrious group must admit there is some truth to that statement. It is certainly a well-known belief among the press that if it bleeds it leads, and that holds true even more so today. How can mainstreaming bad be good? There doesn’t seem to be any positive news any longer so no wonder people are frustrated. This fascination with immorality has overwhelmed them to such a degree we as a society must stand up and cry “No more, please.” We crave less fire-breathing dragons and more angels in our lives.

We can’t go on swimming in the slime of depravity, but must believe that despite Grimm fairy tales there can be a happy ending. Cinderella can live happily after with the prince and damn the divorce statistics, Red Riding Hood saves her grandmother and Beauty and the Beast do live happily after without the need for plastic surgeons. It’s true that if we simply follow the second star to the right and fly straight on until morning we will reach Neverland, and Leprechauns staunchly protect the pots of gold at the end of every rainbow. 

The world is too real right now and when that happens in man’s history evil explodes and the human race must cleanse itself to make the earth once again receptive to the light. World War II was followed by a time of peace and joy when the dragon was slain and the doors of Camelot swung open and we rushed inside.

The true sadness in the now is that we are no longer just hearing of iniquity on the news, we are living it in our daily lives. Crime is rampant, lawlessness abounds and people are overwhelmed by all the insanity that has become a daily occurrence. I have no idea what it will take to slay that dragon breathing down our necks, but I am certain that soon heroes will arise and we will cast it out once more.

As we need to believe that although evil succeeds in the short run, good will ultimately prevail. On that victorious day surely we “won’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.” 

Wishing a beautiful and mystical new year to us one and all.        

My Grandparents Myself

My Grandparents Myself

Reading the tweets on Twitter about the NBC show Baking It on which I was privileged to be a judge, I was really taken by how many favorable responses us granny judges received. Living in the Hollywood area for so many years I’ve been brainwashed to believe that no one wants to see old people on television, or on the streets for that matter. And I must add that in this town old is considered anyone over fifty.

So you can imagine my surprise when young people were writing so many positive things about we judges, and I assure you fifty is well in the rear view mirror for many of us.

Then it dawned on me that perhaps it isn’t really so surprising after all.

Should I assume that I am the only person that adored her grandparents and had an unbelievable relationship with them, especially her grandfather?

My grandfather loved children so as the first grandchild I commanded all of his attention until my brother was born.

When I was a year old he made me an inner tube out of an old truck tire with a seat attached so he could push me around in the ocean. When we were older he took my brother and I fishing in the everglades and I even remember going to the movies to watch Some Like it Hot with him when he wanted to see his old friend George Raft. He made the best dill pickles and his laugh lit up a room, and in every picture together he looked at me like I was a banana split.

Too many of us are castigated for living in the past and told we must be in the present and looking toward the future. Dwelling on the past is a futile effort and waste of time when we could be living in the now…but is it really?

I say poppycock. That’s right. I said, poppycock.

Some days I drive myself to the Santa Monica Pier and sit admiring the ocean remembering the wonderful times with my grandfather.

Do I feel that these moments are a waste of my time? No indeed. In fact it’s rather the opposite. It’s as if I’m back in Miami Beach laughing and kicking my feet as he pushed me along the waves. I can smell the salt air and feel the sun beating down on me and these memories light me up inside even on the darkest days. How can feeling good possibly be bad?

The grandparent/grandchild relationship is incredibly special and to believe that only old people would want to see older people speaks to an inability to connect with the world and see people for who they really are.

I strive constantly to create memories I hope my grandsons will carry with them their entire lives.

When my grandson was four years old and collecting bugs I was on my hands and knees on the sidewalk helping. Although the sight of a bug made me jump five feet into the air under normal circumstances, when he asked me to secure them for him, my fears floated away on a cloud of pure joy at sharing something together. Although now when I ask if he remembers my fearless bug collecting, the recollection seems to have faded.

Yet I know from experience that many of the memories once lost ultimately reappear in time and although I can’t remember for what reason I called a friend by the time I’m finished dialing the number, my earliest memories of Miami Beach as a young child come back into focus whenever I smell the ocean.

So why are these moments of recollection so important as we get older?

In a study at Cambridge University in 2019 researchers found that “recalling specific positive memories and happy life experiences during adolescence may help teens fortify their resilience and reduce the risk of depression later in life.”

All one has to do to verify this thesis is look on Facebook. Every community has pages of memories from their old elementary or high school and the city where they lived as children. These pages are filled with pictures and images and allow users to share stories and reminiscences from their past.

Perhaps it’s simply the innocence we all crave as we get older, the need to believe the world is still that comfy cocoon we once nestled inside filled with play, fun, holidays and grandparents.

Grandparents signify unconditional love, a safe harbor in an often times turbulent ocean. A place to climb back into arms that may not be as toned or strong as they once were, but feel safe against any invader or frightening force.

We need happy memories to ward off the unpleasant ones that have a tendency to surface unwanted and uninvited. A way to reinforce the belief life is beautiful and things do work out in the end; even when they don’t.

Grandparents are the guardians of our memories. They contain all that is good about our youth, a path toward believing and sustaining hope and forcing us to forge ahead even in most difficult times.

It may be as simple as the smell of grandma’s apple pie in the autumn made with fresh apples you picked for her, the sight of your grandfather’s favorite tree you helped him plant or an old television show you watched together. You didn’t get the jokes, but you loved watching him laugh just the same.  

So I must offer kudos to the producers of Baking It who truly “get it,” and despite the Hollywood hype about the whole 18 to 49 age restrictions on television and movies, they knew better.

When we can look at television or the movies and see something that makes us feel warm and fuzzy it’s a no brainer we need more of it, and that happily includes all of us grannies.