Nobody Gonna Slow Me Down, Oh NO.

English: Helen Mirren at the 2010 Comic Con in...

Bear with me – I know this post is gonna come off as negative/bitter/generally shitty, but the following is a legitimate question/concern of mine.

I’ve noticed something lately:  In Hollywood, you can grow old gracefully.  At the Golden Globe awards, there were loads of folks in the second halves of their lives, rocking the shit out of it.  Helen Mirren, Harrison Ford, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, I could go on for a while.  The host for the night, Ricky Gervais, didn’t create The Office till he was 40 and ten years later, is worth about a google dollars.  I saw a profile recently on Albert Brooks, who, at 64, has two young children, Oscar buzz, and a best-selling book.  Martin Scorsese just directed the acclaimed Hugo, which was shot in 3D, a medium he’d never previously worked with before, and not only challenged himself with, freaking rose to it, making one of the most lushly rendered 3D pics to date.  Steven Speilberg, at 66, challenged himself with a medium he’d never worked with before, animation, and churned out the beautiful and award-winning Adventures of Tintin.  In New York, I had the pleasure of seeing a supreme bad-ass and legend, Alan Rickman, on Broadway.  Professor Snape is 65, busting his ass 6 nights a week on stage, and killing it (while presumably loving it).  This is not to mention the 2 or 3 films a year he stars in.

When the ol’ average American hits retirement age (whatever the hell that is, rising by the minute), it seems the universal goal is to be able to relax, travel, visit with friends/family, dote on your grandchildren.  AKA: Give up.  Just kidding.  Kind of.  Do people dream of still challenging themselves into their 60s??  Trying HUGE new things???  Most careers don’t allow you to still thrive at that age.  Do you know any 70-year old nurses who are still rocking it out, balancing taking care of tons of patients, dealing with hospital computer updates and upgrades, the changes in medications, medicine overall, regulations ever-tightening… I think not.  In my miserable place of employment (healthcare – collective GROAN), most people over the age of 60 have slowed down, and have long since lost the capacity to keep up with ever-changing technologies.  Of course there are exceptions to these rules, and I know a few over 55ers who will still give me a run for my money and kick maaaaaajor ass in the “I’m an awesome human being and employee department” – but it ain’t the norm, folks.

Is it possible?  In the mid-west, in a “get married and pump out babies” culture, to “hit your stride” later in life??  Maybe it’s because I constantly yearn for a different life, and yearn to NOT BE SURROUNDED BY THIS BORING, REGULAR SHIT, and also the fact that I’ve been undergoing some serious life changes lately, but I reallllllllllllllllllllllllly, desperately hope that my “stride” is a long ways off.  I’m no Martin Scorsese, but I’ve gotta believe this shit is possible.  Right?  Bueller?  Bueller??

Martin Scorsese's star on the Hollywood Walk o...

No hate intended,

~Annie

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6 thoughts on “Nobody Gonna Slow Me Down, Oh NO.

  1. I have to say that I LOVED the first 20 years of my job in a hospital. I actually looked forward to going to work!! I loved the work we did and was truly excited about how we could make things better. I am proud of what I accomplished and I worked with some really intelligent and dedicated scientists who were and always will be role models for me. Then things changed and the newer people I work with never got to see what a great place it was to use your intelligence and make a difference. I am ashamed of where I work now…and ashamed that I could not stop the decline. The last few years have found me mired in the muck of life’s realities. I will retire soon and do not intend to live in a tent and eat cat food ’til I die. Because of this I have had to go to my happy place to survive hanging in there. I could not change things enough when there was a chance to do so and now I am in survival mode to reach retirement. My happy place grew smaller and harder to find so now I spend most of my days so angry I could explode and so bitter that I am sure I am a great deal of fun to be around. I HATE working in this pit which has become a joke… a freaking joke. The only thing that makes it possible to show up every day is the circle of GREAT people I have found around me. You have to have a creative mind to do this line of work and you will see that every one of us is also great in other creative areas. This job used to be what I LOVED to do, now it has become what i HAVE to do to earn the money to do what I WANT to do. I cannot wait to retire. Not to challenge myself in a new direction. Not to relax and play bridge. I want the TIME to do the things I love. I want to see more of the world, touch the stones of a castle built centuries ago. Touch doorknobs that VanGogh touched. Drink a pint in a pub where James Joyce sat. See the dirty underbelly of London covered in hoar frost at Christmas time the way Dickens and Scrooge saw it. I want to sit by the ocean and hear the waves come and go and be transported out of myself to be part of the greater reality of life. I want to ride my jet ski at 55 mph and not worry about running out of lake. We are too much in the world at work.
    Too caught up in the bullshit…that is not life. That is a way to pay for the life you want. The world will keep turning when I am gone but I want to see as much as I can until then. I feel a little better already and cannot wait to enjoy the retirement I have worked to build that will allow me to do these things. My life is pretty damn great when I think about it. Pretty damn great!

  2. Ugh. I gotta say that this left me slightly depressed, but not because of you. I WISH I was as cool and beautiful as Meryl Streep. She is effing amazing, she’s the shit, like a god among women everywhere. Taletnted, classy, gorgeous,original…etc. I hope to GOD I look semi-decent when I hit sixty. Otherwise, using anti-aging cream since I was 18 is a complete and utter waste. Aside from my material wishes….on to more important things. A sense of fullfillment. Which I’m not getting at work. However, on Friday, I asked a friend at work “How have you lasted this long?” and she said… “You know, you get to a point where you think ‘Jesus, I don’t know if I can do this anymore, I hate it’ and it may last awhile. But what you have to do is resign yourself to this idea if the work you did was good, and you’re proud of what you did, fuck the rest…she proceeds to say…”it took me a really really long time to realize that, but you have to tell yourself EVERY DAY.” I really don’t have a point here, but I’m hoping she’s right because I’m ready to throw in the towel.

    I too wish there was going to be more to my life besides miserably working 24/7, trying not to get fat, and trying to pay bills on time. But right now, that’s all I can see (aside from marrying my kick ass fiance). I want my life to have some sense of excitement…but it seems as if it’s only reserved for those who can afford it ($$$$$). So us normal peeps…’what happens when we retire?’ is definately a pressing question. Just take a look at some of the older people in the lab that are pushing retirement? They are so worn down from our shitty life sucking job, they probably have absolutely no energy to even THINK about what they really want.

    So maybe Annie, we’ll never be founders of an awesome cosmetic line, or be able to save a million animals….because we’re not loaded. So…we’re going to have to brainstorm here and figure out what the f to do. Maybe I’ll run a marathon when I’m 60….that’s an awesome thought, but I’m sure by time I retire from my job, I’ll be committed to a mental institution. 😉

  3. Please remind me to tell you about my 68yo neighbor who’s married to a 53yo guy and gets her hair cut at Skulls 🙂

  4. Weell, I think that the career trajectories are different. Not that they’re not working HARD–but, they get to switch it up a lot so they don’t get beat down. It’s like when you use the same shampoo all the time ya know, and your hair just stops responding to it? These people metaphorically change shampoos like every few months. It’s not the SAME job for 50 yrs.
    Also, remember, you’re talking about some of the MASTERS in their field. Those aren’t everyday folk you mentioned. So there are probably a handful of master nurses, too–your chances of working with them are just pretty low, since there are so many hospitals out there. How many actors are there, versus hospital employees, ya know? The pond is bigger

    But I, too, have been thinking about this. I guess you’ll find out though, wont you?

    I feel like I need to quote Tom Hiddleston again with that “reach for the sky” business. You said in your GG blog that you wanted Reese Witherspoon to be your life coach; I want TH to be mine!

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