Do we “deserve” everything that happens to us?

September 11, 2009

I received another rejection notice from MORE MAGAZINE yesterday.  I pitched them a story about how others have dealt with their midlife difficulties and learned and grown from them.

I go back and forth in my relationship with the mainstream media.  Mostly I’ve decided that it is just too dysfunctional to bother with.  They seem to insist on covering only celebrities, how to lose weight, how to perfect your makeup, and other types of earth shattering news.  They insist on maintaining a pathologically optimistic attitude, never admitting that life is really tough sometimes, and how do we deal with that?

It reminds me of a conversation I overheard yesterday between two elders who both agreed that we should just wait a few more years before we change health care, because we don’t quite have it right yet.

I could not contain myself.  I burst in with, “While we tinker with the system, thousands of Americans are  dying for the lack of health care.  I know you both have Medicare, but the rest of us are completely screwed if we lose our job!”

It seems most Americans have a colossal case of:

My life is fine, so screw you!

I also used to feel so self-satisfied and complacent.  I had my little job and my life and thought anyone  who ran into trouble,  simply wasn’t playing by the proper rules.  Then I lost my job and could not find another no matter what.

No more health insurance, no more money and eventually no more home!  If I had had my bike accident (Traumatic Brain Injury) while I was uninsured, I definitely would have lost my house!  And I wouldn’t have been able to work because of my brain injury.

HELLO!  Completely unpredictable things happen to each of us all the time!  It’s nobody’s fault when you get cancer or have a terrible accident, and these things do happen to everybody, regardless of whether we  “deserve” them.

Perhaps it has to do with the unforgiving nature of some brands of Christianity.  You know, the old belief that if bad things happen to you, you are probably being punished for your sins.  I ran into this often in the rehab hospital where I did my counseling internship.  Especially the elderly would sit and wonder out loud, “What did I do to deserve this?”

News flash!  We all get sick, get injured, and we will all have to die, no matter how good or bad we have been in our life.  It sure would be nice if we accepted these facts and then decided to offer proper health care to our fellow Americans.  I feel certain that the richest country in the world can afford universal health care, if we ALL decide WE are worth it.

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Telling The Truth About Midlife II

January 27, 2008

Ever since I started writing professionally, I have dreamt about creating my own magazine. Now I realize “Midlife” would make a great online magazine (ezine).

As mentioned in my previous post called Telling the Truth About Midlife, major American magazines refuse to tell the truth about how we experience all the unique ups and downs of midlife. They love to ignore us as an age group, or simply gloss over the very specific challenges we face in our 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s.

The only magazine I can think of that even considers seriously those of us in our 50’s and 60’s is AARP Magazine, and they only started doing so recently because they realized all the money they were missing from advertising. I actually enjoyed AARP Magazines more when they were less mainstream. I don’t read magazines to hear about Caroline Kennedy’s life, or how Sally Fields is doing. I want articles that I can use in my everyday life, and incidentally I’m neither rich nor famous!

I find MORE Magazine even more obnoxious! They say that they are there for women in midlife, and then continue to run beauty contests among women in their 40s….YUCK!!!

Beauty is not even in the top ten of my crucial daily issues. Issues like job loss, surviving menopause/andropause, age discrimination, finding love later in life, depression, the death of a loved one, living alone successfully, living with chronic illness, living an authentic life, brain health, finding your passion, empty nest, disillusionments with aging, maintaining healthy relationships, these are some of the topics unique to midlife, that immediately pop into my mind. 

I would like to put a call out to everyone who reads this blog, to let me know if this idea speaks to you. I would like to invite those of you who enjoy writing, to begin thinking about the article you would like to see on your own midlife experiences. Then start writing it!

Freedom of expression is here and now with the internet! Let’s create a magazine that truly speaks to those in midlife in an important and useful way. This effort is not about money, glitz or popularity, it’s about us sharing what’s happening to us right now, and what we have learned through our own authentic midlife learning cycles.

Please consider sharing your experiences, even if under a pseudonym (fake name!)