As we get older we seem to spend more time looking back. Why is that? Is it because we have more time to ponder life? Or, because we wish to turn back the clock to a younger and better time? I’m not really sure. But frankly, I can’t take all this reminiscing anymore! I need some sleep!
This article is written from the perspective of today’s senior citizens living in the fourth quarter of life. But don’t feel left out if you’re a much younger reader. Just think, you can learn how your parents grew up. And your grandparents, in case they haven't already told you. Maybe even your great-grandparents, if you’re lucky enough to have them around. All you have to do is ask them to tell you their stories. Having said that, I’m reminded that times were very different when I grew up in the 1950’s. I constantly asked my parents and grandparents about their earlier lives. For reasons I came to understand much later in life, they never answered my questions. Maybe they just forgot the answers? If only that were true. For I understand now that my father’s memories were imprisoned in the darkness of World War II, my mother’s in the harshness of growing up in New York City as a Turkish immigrant. No matter how many times I asked, the answer was always the same. “Maybe some day we’ll talk about it.”
Some day came too late, of course. But everything is different today, thanks to the Internet. So ask away! Trust me, once your elders start talking, they’ll never stop reminding you who you are, based on who they were. Cass and I have been telling our grandkids stories like these since they were very young. They didn’t even have to ask! And they keep demanding more. Join us, then, one and all, as we retreat into the innermost depths of our minds before the memories are taken from us. Luckily, our innermost depths are still pretty deep! The more we write about them, the more we remember. As the recollections invade your dreams and interrupt your daily thoughts, write them down before they disappear. You never know, maybe you’ll feel the urge to write your own story about your experiences. Overnight fame and riches await you! Well, not really. But you’ll have some fun, and that’s certainly more important than money…isn’t it?
Sadly, there is a far deeper foundation for this article. What has happened to our human sensibilities in this 21st Century? Hatred of others dictates the global psyche which in turn erupts into violent and paranoid behavior. Our political “leaders” insist that immigrants are no longer welcome. We’ve all seen the unending news coverage of border control agents separating immigrant children from their freedom-seeking parents as they desperately seek asylum in our land of the free and the brave.
The Lady of Liberty seems blinded by all she sees and hears, her torch a mocking symbol of what was but no longer is. Is this merely a phase in our history? Or, is it a warning of what awaits us tomorrow?
As senior citizens, we are all too familiar with the murderous hatred that rears its ugly head from generation to generation, and continent to continent. Will it ever stop? I saw a very interesting young man yesterday on TV. His comment hit me hard. “We are born with joy. Hatred is taught. And passed along.”
Is this our unalterable destiny? Our well deserved punishment? Or, is it our inspirational awakening? Time will tell. But Father Time has a bad habit of deceiving us. Thus, the title of this article: “Who we are, How we got here, Where we’re going, What it means, & Why it matters.” Think about it. More important, act upon it. Before it’s too late.