(noun, etymology Dutch from ‘boedel’: estate, possession, inheritance, stock.). 1. Crowd, pack, lot, as in ‘the whole boodle.’ 2. a. Counterfeit money b. Money acquired or spent illegally or improperly, particularly when used in bribery for political purposes. 3. Slang for money in general.

Is Activism a Young Person’s Game?

Posted on: Dec. 19, 2013  |  By: Ronnie Kahn  |  Category: Advice, Boodle-cise, General

I have often given client’s reflection exercises where each person is to imagine themselves much older and look back to today.  The change of perspective often helps to get someone to look toward the bigger picture about what makes us tick and what we truly value.  I just turned sixty years of age, so I figure the time is right to perform another version of this exercise on myself.

Sixty is a milestone that gets you hoping that your remaining life is a slow glide path of dignity and not the horrid quality of life that so many of us early geezers fear. It can be a quick change to go from the age of colonoscopy to the colostomy.  While I still don’t feel old, that can change on a dime.  When I look around, I still see plenty of upright folks that are older than I, so I try to feel encouraged.  Of course, the other side of this is that there is a survivorship bias.  Life expectancy means that half the folks I can see are still around which means the other half have experienced the alternative.  In other words, I am not able to look around and see all of those souls who didn’t make it to my age.

While no one can cheat death, we try hard to cheat the nursing home.  I for one, plan to keep working in my profession in order to keep my brain active even if I get to the point of not needing to work financially (as long as I am effective for my clients that is).  Others concerned with keeping the effects of aging at bay try to do crossword puzzles in order to keep their mind sharp.  Even more importantly, one of the best ways to keep your life in the well-being side of the equation is social.  Having friends and family surrounding you, not only makes life interesting but works the best to help you get infected with the longevity bug.

My wife, also known as the only other person who reads this blog, graciously arranged for a milestone birthday party for me.   We had the Southern California mandatory taco truck come by our home as part of the festivities as well as a deejay.  The deejay, who is actually my daughter’s beau but really does do this professionally, cranked up the music, however, that is not because that’s how we still like it that way but just so can we can hear it at all at this point.  I remember back ten years when she did the same thing, meaning she had a fiftieth soiree for me.  My daughter was fourteen and my pint sized son was ten.  Now my daughter, then in middle school, is now done with college and my son is taller than I am.  We do still have one of our dogs from back then and even our cat too, although one of my favorite bow-wow ruff-ruff’s of all time is no longer around.  Neither are either of my wife and I’s mothers.  They are part of the fear of not going downhill well as both of them did not have the quality of life at the time of that party nor as well as for the rest of their lives.  The thing that strikes me most over the ten year span is that a lot of the friends and family that were there for my fiftieth also come to this one too.  I have no idea why they have stuck by me but I am grateful that they have.  I hope that this core group, as I said, will help to ward off my repeating everything that I say to them and hopefully my being able to see the ground from a ninety degree angle.  Perhaps their attendance did not signify that they are really loyal friends and family but just that they love taco truck food.   

There are two other prongs to the strategy for me to my try to keep my home not of the nursing variety, one is active and the other is passive.  On another morbid side note, while we are speaking about homes, another not so happy subject that comes into the elderly three-step dance (one step includes a cane), is whether you can die in your home or get stuck doing so in a hospital or hospice.  As you might be able to tell, there is something therapeutic about being morbid.  I also have thoughts about wouldn’t it be wonderfully ironic if I am walking along just before going downhill completely and some elderly driver runs me down.  At any rate, the active prong has to do with my financial activism of which I am always going on and on about in this blog and on the website.  I cannot stand the thought of leaving this world the way it is now for my children and all children, for that matter.  Money has killed what little left there was with our democracy.  We no longer need Democrats or Republicans any more (although a third party may be a good way to go).   The tw0 parties are too useless to bring about meaning.  What we need are activists and private citizens to help bring about a change that will make this world better.  I am encouraged that you don’t need millions and millions of people, especially in a socially connected world, to create change but that a small minority of activists can create that snowball effect of change.  The other side of that is that there is so much information whirling around us that we become anesthetized to our world and the need to make it better.  Our culture likes to make retirement into a rite of passage that when you have paid your dues that now it’s time to kick back.  Think of what the world would be like if so many of us were still contributing to it and not just taking back from it?  While I may choose the easy glide path too, meaning take the easy way out, and leave the world to the young while I go into a cushy retirement, my hope is that I will take a stand and try and either encourage and stimulate that change whenever I can or even have the energy to get up and do something about how lousy and dysfunctional things are.

The last prong is passive and has to do with social evolution.  I believe that in order for me to have the well-being and life quality that I am after, that I not only need the social aspect but I also need hope as well.  I need to feel that we have a chance to change things for the better even if it is not going to be during my lifetime.  When Zazu says at the end of Capra’s movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” that an angel got their wings when you hear a bell, I feel the opposite effect works too when it is NOT a wonderful life.  So any time that we hear a negative sound, such as a car horn or a Billy Joel song, someone will proclaim “Look, another asshole has bought the farm.”  Yes, it is my hope that the youth of today will care more about just their own lot in life and that all these older ones that wouldn’t know fairness from a safe deposit box and that would screw the world over just for their own interests, will die off and leave the progressive world to take it’s natural course (with a little help from some well-meaning activists).  No matter what happens though, watch out for elderly drivers especially because you are going to be one before you know it.

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