The Double Nickel
"Live as long as you may, the first 20 years are the longest half of your life. They appear so while they're passing, they seem to have been when we look back on them, and they take up more room in our memory than all the years that succeed them."
-- England's poet laureate Robert Southey 1837 (as quoted by Jay Ingram, author of The Velocity of Honey)
55 years ago this day I transitioned into birth. I have been living on this planet in this body as Gaia has traveled 55 times around our sun. The first few revolutions seemed to take forever. Then somehow the speed seemed to increase. Now, she swims through space much faster, or so it seems. I remember when I celebrated my 50th birthday. My partner arranged a party for me at our local coffee house and we had lots of fattening food and many friendly guests. Now it is 55, and we celebrated by taking the family out to see “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Then we took a huge carrot cake to the Assisted Living facility where my mother resides and gave cake to all the residents, after singing happy birthday to me of course.
My back has gotten lots better with ice and chiropractic treatment. I had conversation with a pediatrician friend of mine, sharing with him that my doctor did prescribe pain medicine as well as muscle relaxants, but that she also encouraged me to continue with my chiropractic care. I asked my friend if he encouraged his patients who had such problems to see a chiropractor. He replied that he did not, because chiropractic treatment is not based on scientific investigation or rigor. I was surprise by this answer, and he explained further that if it makes them feel better he wouldn’t necessarily discourage it, but he seemed to equate it with the fantastic, similar to faith healing. I thought about asking him if he ever gave advice to the parents of his patients, such as suggesting to a dad that let up a little on his son, or to suggest to a mother that talk to her daughter about menses. Then if he said yes, I was going to question him as to what is the scientific basis of such advice. Could he prove that such parenting practices are going to improve the life of his patients? I thought also of discussing with him whether he is influenced by certain drug representatives and find himself prescribing one medicine rather than another even though there is not scientific evidence that one is more effective that another? But I held my tongue, another characteristic of getting older. What would be the point?
I recently found out that my first cousin now 56 has retired. He must have made wiser investments than I have. It is true that a decade doesn’t seem nearly as long as it used to, and in ten years I will be at that magic 65 when I would presumably be eligible for retirement and Medicare. (Actually it is 66 for me due to my birthday.) I have been working hard to figure out a way to have a steady stream of cash without having to work but a few hours a week, to free up my time for what I really want to do. As I keep working at it, I may get old so quick that retirement (the traditional way to do this) will appear before I can get it accomplished. I had hoped that we would find an alternative to this money business by now, but it looks like I underestimated this by a few decades (or perhaps a few generations).