[Greggs] Why Are We So Sad? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Greggs] Why Are We So Sad?

Two weeks ago, I was swimming in a pool and decided to halt my forward crawl by using my face against the concrete side. As some older Southern people say, I "knocked a big-ass goose egg on my head." After this unfortunate accident—which will most assuredly ruin my future career as a nose model for the Home Shopping Network—I immediately headed to my mother's house for pharmaceutical consolation. I do this because any woman over 50 seems to have a prescription for some sort of pain killer and usually an anti-depressant.

Now, my battered head didn't particularly need an anti-depressant, as my 30th birthday brought on its own bout with malaise, requiring a milligram of Lexapro for every year I've been on this Earth. This lovely pill ensured I didn't get put in jail for murder the next time someone asked me if I planned on getting married. Since my own neurotransmitter needs were handled by a lovely doctor early last month, I headed to Mom's for a good dose of something I simply refer to as "the pink." I'm not quite sure what the pink pill is, but I do know it makes me sing like Whitney Houston before all the crack. My cats will attest to this. As a result, they hate the pink with a passion. The Lexapro, they love. I often find one of them chewing on the foil package when I stumble to the coffee pot in the morning.

One of my friend's doctors recently told her, "Everyone who is anyone in Jackson is on Lexapro." This seems to be true in more places than Jackson—Forest Labs, the distributor of Lexapro, touts it as the No. 1 drug in America. And I'm not just talking the No. 1 SSRI. I'm talking the Number One Drug In America. Meaning more people are taking Lexapro than anything else. I'm willing to bet most of these people are middle-aged women.

It seems that older women can get a doctor to write a prescription for almost anything, as quickly as they can finish saying, "I've been married for 20 years." Twenty years? Sweet Baby Jesus, she must obviously need some narcotics and serotonin.

My mother blames it on the fact that most doctors are male, and horribly frightened of an upset middle-aged woman. In fact, they are so frightened, they are willing to give her whatever she wants just to get rid of her—whether that "whatever she wants" is half his sh*t in a divorce or a prescription for happy pills. For this reason, I crave middle age.

I have also begun calling my mother "Mama Elvis," and seek her out for medicinal purposes anytime I decide I've had a bad day. She happily acquiesces, as she assumes that if she gets me groggy enough I might get knocked up and accidentally give her a grandchild. So far, no luck. But the collection of pink pills in my medicine cabinet is a testament to her unending hope for a bundle of "Ali" joy.

What I want to know is this: If Lexapro is the No. 1 drug in America, and the majority of people taking the drug are women, why aren't we talking about why the hell we are so sad? Why do we act as if everything is fine and swallow our terror with a cup of coffee in the morning, grasping tightly to the hope that we might smile a little easier? Why? Why? Why? I know that question can be horribly annoying to people, but it seems to me that if we are so upset that a large percentage of us need to be drugged, someone needs to ask.

I mean, it used to be chicken soup and one good stiff drink were the only things we needed to get through the hard days. Hell, until recently I only needed the one good stiff drink. Screw the chicken soup—too much sodium. Age also brings on a little- talked-about side effect called "swelling." This swelling seems to be happening in body parts I wasn't quite sure I owned until the past year. Thank God gin is a diuretic. I often tell people I'm not drinking to make myself feel better—I'm drinking so my shoes fit.

All that aside, it seems that for years we have made it through the worst of times with only a good cry session and an even better martini. I have to wonder who has sold me the idea that instead of these two very natural coping strategies I need to pop a few milligrams of SSRI.

I'm not saying depression is a farce. I'm saying that the way we deal with non-clinical depression is a farce—a large farce. This farce is promoted by mammoth companies who pay our government lots of money to continue running commercials that list symptoms of a disease that are simply symptoms of life.

Being a woman is hard. Half the population of this Earth will never know how hard. It just so happens that the people who run the entire world are from the half that will never understand exactly how difficult it really is. Men don't have to wake up one day and throw their tits over their shoulder just to roll over in bed. I believe that just like my mama said, they're scared sh*tless. Both by the slinging tits, and by the bad attitude brought on by waking up one day and seeing those tits hanging down around your swollen ankles.

So what does all this mean? Should men not freak out when women get upset? Should we learn better ways to deal with sudden urges to throw heavy objects at them instead of popping a pill? Should we just throw our tits over our shoulders and saddle up to the bar?

To tell you the honest truth, I'm not positive and will leave you to your own conclusions. The two main things I seem to take from this are: 1) My prescription for an anti-depressant must mean I'm well on my way to middle age, and 2) now, we all know that we can thank Forest Laboratories for mothers everywhere always knowing how to make you feel better.

But all this could just be the Lexapro talking. Someone bring me a martini.

Previous Comments

ID
73639
Comment

Another good column, Ali. You were funny, too. You had to be drinking or smoking something funny when you thought of many of these lines. Sorry to hear about those babies falling out of favor and having to be thrown over the shoulders to manuever and control. I feel the pain, but that's not much worse than our three buddies constantly hitting the floor or pavement. As living proof men are smarter, we often wrap them around our waistline giving the false impression that we have gotten fat. I bet you didn't know that, and instead thought middle-aged men were fat and out of shape. Some women have even given a name to this misidentification called thanyourthangdisease - where your stomach appears to stick out farther than your thang.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-10-05T12:29:09-06:00
ID
73640
Comment

Ali, make sure you keep the gin and Lexapro separate. I would like for you to live a little longer. ;-) Anyway, I believe in either a medication/therapy combo or just therapy. When I first started dealing with panic attacks and depression, the family doctor prescribed some meds and told me to come back in a few weeks. The meds help with the brain chemistry part, but I still wasn't dealing with the environmental factors. The stress was counteracting the meds after a few months. The doc's solution? Stronger meds. After having a severe panic attack and being off work for almost a month, I switched doctors and was seeing a therapist. I started to do much better after changing meds and being able to vent about all of the garbage I had been putting up with. Yeah, the battle still continues (I'll write more somewhere else), but I'm glad I realized that therapy is nothing to be ashamed of. Maybe that's why some people prefer just meds - it's easier to hide, I guess, but some folks don't want meds either due to the stigma. Ali, I'm glad that you know how to find humor in any situation. Take care.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-10-06T19:07:31-06:00
ID
73641
Comment

L.W.-One of my favorite quotes... "If we ever stopped laughing, we'd never stop crying." :)

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-10-07T08:41:39-06:00
ID
73642
Comment

Will a woman with a spirit like that of Casey Parks envision her 30th birthday as bringing on its own bout with malaise, requiring a milligram of Lexapro for every year that she's been on this Earth? Probably not. Nor, after studying with feminist scholars like Sharon Welch at the University of Missouri/Columbia, will Casey assert, even in jest, that "any woman over 50 seems to have a prescription for some sort of pain killer and usually an antidepressant." Anne Russell Mayeaux

Author
anne mayeaux
Date
2006-10-07T18:13:46-06:00
ID
73643
Comment

not to make this a drug thread, (that will get attention! ha) lexapro is not just for sad, it's also for anxiety, having those oh I forget, ha - well, my daughter was nearly disabled and lexapro helped..but then she said finally thank you I want to try it on my own. migraines or not, etc. point is, try it, see what is , what helps, get off asap. do yoga, whatever, don't rely on drugs,but if they help for a bit, don't feel 'guilty.' I just remembered - and it's not been that long, hehe - panic attacks. lexapro helps with that, and they are no fun. so, be wise about what helps you. do yoga in the meantime. and work for peace.

Author
sunshine
Date
2006-10-07T19:14:52-06:00
ID
73644
Comment

another reason we are sad, and we should be sad, it's a damn sad world http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aN93uWsAexzI&refer=europe

Author
sunshine
Date
2006-10-07T19:57:01-06:00
ID
73645
Comment

Thank you, Sunshine, for keeping it real. Anne Russell Mayeaux

Author
anne mayeaux
Date
2006-10-07T21:37:46-06:00
ID
73646
Comment

Dr. Mayeaux-In all due respect, getting to say whatever the hell we want to say as women IS feminism. And, I'm not Casey. But, she loves me just as much as I love her for our differences. Its the one thing that makes us beautiful. Grad school taught me many things about myself as well. One of them being that when someone tries to shame you, or speak down to you, it most often says more about something inside of them instead of something inside of yourself.

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-10-08T19:43:24-06:00
ID
73647
Comment

I can't imagine being depressed about turning 30 or 40 (I wasn't either time), and I hope I won't be as I approach 50 or turn 45 (which, coincidentally, I'm about to do in a couple hours). I decided a long time ago to be happy at whatever age I am; there are simply bigger fish to fry, good to do, and good times to be had, than fretting about getting older. And I rather feel that the a$$holes win (whoever they are) if we women (or men) constantly obsess about the things we can't change, thus using up our energies for the things that really matter in life, big and small. However, I certainly don't criticize Ali for expressing these thoughts. The more we know that other women have such hangups, perhaps the more we can help them let go of them. That's not done by lectures, I think, but by modeling the fact that life is good, or can be, at every stage in life. Personally, I'd rather slip my wrists than live my 20s over again, although I had a fine time and crazy memories. But that was then; this is now. As I turn 45, life has never been better, and I expect, hope, pray to feel that way at 50 and beyond.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-08T21:58:00-06:00
ID
73648
Comment

Happy birthday, you. :o) To be honest I'm kind of dreading 30 myself. I can't speak for Ali, but for me it's a mix of death anxiety and western capitalism--"I'm closer to the grave and, oh yeah, I'm single--and my career hasn't exactly peaked yet either." Why does that matter? Because we commodify ourselves. We don't recognize our beauty, our uniqueness. Then again, as much as I dread 30, I have said for years--and still believe--that I'm at least 20 years from peaking as a human being. I grow so much on a year-by-year basis--I grew quite a bit within the past week, actually--that I'm really not tired of getting older yet. If Tom Head can grow as much between 28 and 45 as Donna Ladd has, then it's not such a bad deal. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-10-08T22:22:15-06:00
ID
73649
Comment

What a beautiful witness. Happy Birthday, Donna. And Happy Birthday, Ali. Thank you, Donna, Ali, and Tom for all of the ways in which you challenge and inspire us. Gratefully, Anne

Author
anne mayeaux
Date
2006-10-08T22:43:45-06:00
ID
73650
Comment

Thanks, all. Tom, had you known me at 28, you'd know that my personal bar was low. ;-) But it was about that time that I started figuring out that I had to start getting outside my own head more often, and that life was about so much more than me. ;-) Didn't happen overnight, of course, but to me, the wonderful side of getting older is this secret you don't really know until you, well, get older. But, I fear that some folks miss it because they're too busy lamenting something they can't do a damn thing about it. I've just never gotten wasting energy on that. (And people wiser than I believe that within the refusal to lament aging lies the key to eternal youth. Of a fashion, of course. But the riddle is that you need to be proud of your age in order to stay "young." ;-) On that note, I need to go find a certain boyfriend (whose birthday was Friday, btw) in this vast suite we've enjoyed so much and leave the blogging for another day. Toodles.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-09T00:28:34-06:00
ID
73651
Comment

Well, y'all might know how I feel about this. Quack, Quack. http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=8907_0_7_0_C

Author
emilyb
Date
2006-10-09T08:54:55-06:00
ID
73652
Comment

50 is the new 25....I don't think our generation will have the hang-ups about age as the previous "gen" did because we are staying young in the mind and doing so alot earlier. We are current on Music, Heath, Art, Technology....we have to be in order to survive.....it's the attitude...... For instance does anyone really plan to "retire"......how dull......like look at today's leaders......they're in their late 50's and 70's......Leland Speed....71 and head of economic development. David Watkins (I think would be in his late 50's) and essentially jump starting DT development. My fathers generation is the last gen to "Retire"....how dull......how can you rally make your mark without substantial age and experience behind you. It's like those kids in the 90's coming out of the Universities with "MBA Heads"....with no history of mastering anything besides a school book curriculum. Well.....we are just now starting to dig out of that mess and most of them...Well...."will you take fries with that sir"......life's big contributions come later......and are validated by experience. OK back to work.....

Author
ATLExile
Date
2006-10-09T09:33:14-06:00
ID
73653
Comment

I think my idea of retiring is writing books most of the time. ;-) But I may change my mind as I get older, but I doubt it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-09T10:02:01-06:00
ID
73654
Comment

I'm still waiting on your Civil Rights book Donna. Ali and I have a retirement plan. We plan to save all our emails and publish our book of letters ala Shelby Foote and Walker Percy. It will fund our rock star nursing home. And by then, we'll be able to say all the things that are REALLY in our heads without getting sued or run out of town. I can't wait for that age when crazy women are called eccentric.

Author
emilyb
Date
2006-10-09T10:40:45-06:00
ID
73655
Comment

"I think my idea of retiring is writing books most of the time". I think you should start writing books.....Now! (see you at Lemuria).......by the way......now I have been visting a certain political blog related to Mississippi..."if you get my drift".....Why is it....that they spend so much time denigrating this site and in particular it's editor.....????? Would it not be better to just make your case without sophmoric attacks on others (Individuals and Ideas)....I mean didn't we learn that in the sand box.....at 3? Let's face it I am more conservative than true left liberal but....there is a common meeting ground if we choose to see it...... As my mommy told me "I never saw my light glow any Brighter by Blowing out the other Fellows Candle"...God rest her soul....... maybe that's why we are so sad....or maybe not so sad as we are tired....of all this constant attack......

Author
ATLExile
Date
2006-10-09T11:20:02-06:00
ID
73656
Comment

Happy Birthday Todd & Donna! Here's to wonderful year for the both of you. I think getting older isn't so bad but that's probably because my twenties were kind of insane. Thirties are much calmer & purposeful also more fun. I think you realize you have to make your own definition of success, no one else does it for you.

Author
Izzy
Date
2006-10-09T11:27:59-06:00
ID
73657
Comment

Oh yea and by all means Happy B' days to Donna and many more....... Todd too!!!!

Author
ATLExile
Date
2006-10-09T12:00:46-06:00
ID
73658
Comment

maybe that's why we are so sad....or maybe not so sad as we are tired....of all this constant attack......ATLExile I thought that was very profound...the overbearing argument culture as well as abundance of advertising wears us down, way down. Everyone but I think especially women are sent the advertising message that we are incomplete & lacking until we purchase the latest round of cosmetics/weight reduction aids/"cosmetic" surgery. Sometimes the argument culture makes me want to put my hands over my ears and sing Jingle Bells

Author
Izzy
Date
2006-10-09T13:05:50-06:00
ID
73659
Comment

I should probably use this moment to explain that beyond just having that normal feeling of "OH DEAR JESUS I'M TURNING THIRTY" and that means I probably should clean my toilet more, my meds had more to do WITH turning thirty and finally realizing that vibrating with social anxiety so badly that I wanted to scream wasn't normal. You know, with age comes self-knowledge :) When I say "malaise" I mean general a$$holerly. Not necessarily depression related to just getting older. The "getting older thing", other than the amount of sleep I require getting larger with each passing year, doesn't really bother me as much as I let on. Mainly because of what Em says above....I can't wait until I'm old and the "crazy" becomes "eccentricity". AND, I get to wear one of those bada$$ hats with the netting and some small dead animal around my neck. I find advancing age to be the one thing that brings about the feeling of contentment with myself I searched for during my early twenties-most often in the wrong places. But those stories are more sad than funny. :P

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-10-09T13:20:11-06:00
ID
73660
Comment

Ali....when I dwelt on thirty I decided my role model would be Catherine Denuvue in "The Hunger".....I mean she looked so good at 4000 years old.....I mean so what if she ripped peoples throats out and ate their viserals...I mean what ever it takes.....right? So whats a little anti- depressant and pain killer.....no big deal girl.......

Author
ATLExile
Date
2006-10-09T14:02:11-06:00
ID
73661
Comment

Because you have to laugh. And laughing wrinkles are way mo' better than crying wrinkles. I'd rather have laugh lines than the furrowed brow. No regrets. Learn from mistakes. Share the wisdom. Eat the Godiva. Buy the shoes. Doesn't make us bad feminists or weak women. Makes us authentic and real.

Author
emilyb
Date
2006-10-09T14:36:46-06:00
ID
73662
Comment

I think my thirties have been pretty good so far. I haven't really wanted to be younger than I am, which is nice. I am beginning to notice that I have to fight to stay fit, that I lose the ability to run very well if I don't work on it, ect. So I guess I envy the metabolism of people in their 20's, but that'd about it. I think there are 2 reasons. One is that I have a much better sense of myself now than I did then, and when I watch 20-somethings I can still sense that they are inclinced to wear their "identity" on their sleeves. I'm not being critical of that -- I know I did it too, at least on the inside. But as I've aged I have learned to care less and less about what people think of me and who notices me, and that makes me feel much more in control than I used to feel. So I like that. It helps me be myself in every situation. The other big reason I am happy I'm the age I am is just that all my friends and family are aging along with me. I want to continue to relate with them and share my life with them. So life becomes one long road trip, and the only way to share the memories is to go along for the ride. I wil admit, though, it seems that things are much tougher for women, if they are single. Everyone gets ansy when they are 30 and single, but for women it is more urgent They have social pressure AND biological pressure to "get on with it" , whatever "it" is. Throw in the sexual peak, timed inconvenienty to correspond with the steady sexual downhill slide of all the available dudes, and it gets frustrating. So I know it's tougher for you ladies, and I can only say I'm sorry for you. But, really, 30 is no big deal. As I approach 36, I realize that 30-35 is still closer to the 20's than the 40's. It's at 36 when you really begin to feel the downhill slide. So, Ali, you've still got 5 years to be hip.

Author
GLB
Date
2006-10-09T19:25:57-06:00
ID
73663
Comment

This is supposed to be my year, when I learn the answer to life, the universe, everything. 42. Now I'll have to search the rest of my life to find out what the durn question is. I am in much better shape mentally than I was 10 years ago. Then, I was with a horribly abusive man, and had no sense of self-esteem and no hope for the future. Things have completely turned around during that time. I'm with a wonderful man who loves me just as I am, and who I'm sure sometimes is more than I deserve. We have two wonderful children who have captured my heart. I may be ten years older, but I feel twenty years younger. Life is good. My mother had a nervous breakdown when she hit 40. I will never let that happen. I just take each day as it is presented to me: each challenge as it comes. My 25th high school reunion is next summer, and I'm actually looking forward to it!

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2006-10-09T21:17:07-06:00
ID
73664
Comment

I thought the answer was "how many roads must a man walk down?" At least that's what some mice told me. {:)

Author
GLB
Date
2006-10-09T21:20:19-06:00
ID
73665
Comment

Crap- I just figured out that every single person on this site is younger than me.

Author
Rico
Date
2006-10-09T21:44:01-06:00
ID
73666
Comment

Wow, tons of birthdays here. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALL OF Y'ALL! :-) Lady Havoc, thanks for the testimony. I'm sure it helped someone. I'm approaching 32 in a couple of months, so I've dealt with the initial shock of turning 30 already. I said I would never let my age get to me and I would be proud of it no matter what, but something snapped in me around that time because I felt I was lagging behind in my accomplish timeline. Okay, I'm 30, on disability, single and living with my mother. Based on what society dictates, not only am I an old maid, but a sick old maid. Owning a cat doesn't help my rep either. Am I a complete failure? Well, no. I'm finally figuring out who I really am. I think I spent most of my twenties doing what other people wanted me to do instead of trying to figure out what I was MEANT to do. I feel like I woke up from a deep coma - well, stupor is more like it. I'm through rambling now. Good night. :-D

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-10-10T00:04:01-06:00
ID
73667
Comment

Good for you, L.W. You seem pretty cool to me. And owning A cat is no problem. Owning 40 starts to be a problem.

Author
GLB
Date
2006-10-10T00:20:16-06:00
ID
73668
Comment

Ali, you're sad because life is freakin' sad. It's also joyful. But it's not good trying to hide from the sadness, any more than it works to hide from the joy. Youth is overrated. I was young and very very stupid. Now I'm less young, and less stupid, and I like being less stupid. Also, I like being able to intimidate the young 'uns just by being myself. Metabolism changes, recovery time from injury and alcohol excess lengthens from hours to days and into weeks, which is a drag, but, who needs to drink that much anyway? The trick is to just keep paying attention, and keep listening, and keep asking questions. And, keep being open to the sadness, as well as the joy.

Author
kate
Date
2006-10-10T08:19:10-06:00
ID
73669
Comment

Kate, I love what you said.

Author
Izzy
Date
2006-10-10T09:35:39-06:00
ID
73670
Comment

Checking back, I agree, kate says it well. Not to compare, ha, but Buddha also said, life is suffering, we want what we want , all the time, and right now. We want to feel good all the time. Esp. here in the USA, where it's a promise, happiness, pursuit of and presumably attaining. Youth is not exactly overrated, wow I could really dance then. (Hint, do it now) But every age is fine, now I love doing yoga, and it's a dance and a fine one and I learn every day. Meanwhile, I could suggest Dr. Weil's book Healthy Aging. I know, it's for us over 50. But he has some good philosophy, like hell with all that anti-aging advertising, accept that life is a journey and part of it is getting older but , really maybe wiser. The US is one of the few cultures that idolizes youth , and that's a long story. Catherine Deneuve, Sophia Loren, and my favorite and ha I forget her name, ah Charlotte Rampling. Candace Bergen in Boston Legal. Nora Ephron. The somewhat young but my heroine Amy Goodman. Look forward to your forties, fifties, beyond - it's the time to shine and leave behind all the damn bs about women should be. Well, if you don't live in Afganistan. Or states where there are no birth control clinics, or decent health care, or child care, oh , don't get me started. peace, let's keep at it.

Author
sunshine
Date
2006-10-10T16:32:23-06:00
ID
73671
Comment

L.W.-Don't feel bad. I own TWO cats. Way ahead of you on the "cat lady" scale. :) Kate-I think you put it well.

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-10-10T18:18:01-06:00
ID
73672
Comment

LW, sorry, wrong thread but I couldn't find the one about Byram you posted on yesterday. If your friend said her mortgage had gone up because of people moving out of byram or Jackson, that is not true. That has nothing at all to do with a mortgage payment and if it goes up or down.

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-10-10T18:31:57-06:00
ID
73673
Comment

Kingfish, go here for my reply.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-10-10T23:36:21-06:00
ID
73674
Comment

sunshine, my cat's name is Sunshine. Go figure. The dog's name is Midnight. Tee hee. I draw the limit at compulsive hoarding. It's more unhealthy for the cats than it is for the hoarder. Pets are supposed to be good for your health, but you have to think about their health too.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-10-10T23:42:46-06:00
ID
73675
Comment

Ok, I guess its time for me to bear my soul to the room about why I think being over 30 is better than being under 30 - subjective though this may be. For me, life began at 30 (well, actually 29, but close enough). From about the 6th grade till 29, I had hooked my self-esteem to what others thought of me - I felt I had to keep up / achieve an "image" -- meaning at the very least, I had to be "like everyone else", better yet "cool" (i.e., a "stud", a "people person", and genrally getting a lot of approval from "the right people"). In effect, I was brainwashed into thinking """if you aren't getting approval from the 'right' people/ one of the crowd", or at least 'mainstream' then you're not worth the gum that sticks to your shoes""". The entertainment industry was just as guilty of promoting this attitude as the local "in" crowds were, and arguably even more so. This attitude gradually weakened throughout my 20s, although more in a "sweep my problems under the rug" fashion than actually confronting my problems directly. This caused a serious bout of major depression in my late 20s. I didn't get help for 2 1/2 yrs because I tried to "be brave", "suck it up", feared that getting help was "weakness", and all other assorted macho, (pseudo)manly attitudes. Don't even ask how much this conformity caused me to try my damndest to suppress my authentic personality. It wasn't until I was 29 before I WOKE UP, accept that my authentic "me" was too strong to overcome, and acutally BUILD UP my authentic personality. Soon thereafter, I learned to TRULY think for myself and finally learned what it meant to TRULY have my own opinions. It was not long before I said "I'm getting the hell away from the in-crowd because they're just a bunch of people with overgrown egos who have the gall to tell us how to think, how do dress, how to talk, what kind of tastes in things we ought to have, what we ought to value, etc. etc. etc., blah blah blah!" Just in time for my 30th birthday, I could say I was being my own person, although I was still in the learning stage. Although I'm not problem free, I can still say I have a reasonably happy life. Let me quote Mark Twain, as relayed by Micahel Woods in his PBS miniseries Legacy: Origins of Civilization. Speaking on the India segment of the show, Woods quoted Twain We in the wealthy west tend to think of Indians as intolerably destitute. But in matters of the spirit, it is we Westerners who are the paupers, and they who are the millionaires (in todays terms, Twain would probably say Billionaires). Exactly when I was 30, I learned this idea applies to any area of life, not just dollar wealth. Wealth in self-esteem, wealth in openmindedness, wealth in ability to form and defend your own opinions, wealth in ability to be a good-hearted, caring person; wealth in friends (well, this assumes you have truly good friends, but even so). These are things that make people truly wealthy: NOT status, power, money, popularity, or sex appeal.

Author
Philip
Date
2006-10-11T07:37:19-06:00
ID
73676
Comment

I always teel my children how rich we are. No, not because of money: we don't have much of that. But we are richer than most people who live in big, beautiful houses: we have loads of love. And that's all that matters. Sure, money's nice: it's good to have electricity, entertainment and all that. But it's not the most important thing. I hope the best for our children: I hope that they grow up to be successful and to do things they truly enjoy doing. But if they grow up knowing how to treat their fellow man, then my life is a success.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2006-10-11T08:54:07-06:00
ID
73677
Comment

I found happiness early in life by being alone, thinking, and discovering who I am and what I liked despite poverty. And I was so determined not to pick up bad or harmful habits - smoking, alcoholism, drugs, hating others, lying and ridiculing those less fortunate or different, making bad or harmful friends, and so on. In other words, I meditated on things I thought were good, and I nearly always resisted the things I thought were bad despite peer pressure from anyone, even from girls/women, my greatest test and temptation. I knew I was a man once I could resist the power of the wrong girl or woman. My goal in life from as far back as I can remember was to travel a road less travelled. And I soon figured out that fools rush in where angel fear to tread. As I aged and matured even more I took on this motto which I partially stole from Emerson and have posted on the door to my office: To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the word a bit better, whether by a healthy child, good works, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because I lived; to be kind and accomodating to strangers and visitors where possible; to show love toward those who I doubt love me; to change the things I can and accept those I can't; and to be a positive example of the countenance and goodness of man and human kind. I realize how lucky I am to be born healthy despite being born black in a hateful world. Everyone is born with a condition. I wasn't about to let my mere obstacles keep me from gaining happiness, love, joy, peace, success, or fullfillment . Somebody else or some conditions beyond my control would have to preclude me from getting the things in life I desired. Ray Charles Carter wasn't about to stop himself. WE ARE WHAT WE THINK AND MEDITATE ABOUT. If you think of only sad events, you will be sad. IN OTHER WORDS, FREE YOUR MIND AND YOUR ASS WILL FOLLOW. Smile. Cheers.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-10-11T10:48:06-06:00
ID
73678
Comment

I heart Ray Carter. Thank you!

Author
emilyb
Date
2006-10-11T14:42:33-06:00
ID
73679
Comment

I think we found out what is wrong with Ali. it goes back to her Catholic Schoolgirl days. http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news0599/gals.html

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-10-11T15:21:35-06:00
ID
73680
Comment

I heart Ray also, and Philip too. This thread is just a blossom. Well, it's nice. ha. Emerson and Twain. Both really good in older years. Old is not just for rocks. hehe. Meanwhile, I must add to my list of older women above. Just watched the mid-day re-run of Colbert Report - so fun. Well, he had a segment, you have to see - with Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem. Making an apple pie. I am not kidding. Add them to the list, and Colbert, maybe he'll age well, I hope so, I intend to stay around to see. (Humor is important.) Oh, I'm only 60, that is a kid's age nowadays. Yes, I admit, I was born in 1946, the year of grace. ha. one last thing - greenstone radio http://www.greenstoneradio.com/GSM/ don't get it, will try.

Author
sunshine
Date
2006-10-11T15:28:26-06:00
ID
73681
Comment

one more last thing - Kingfish : that article about Catholic girls - I was a Catholic girl once. so, let me just say - pretty funny.

Author
sunshine
Date
2006-10-11T15:36:00-06:00
ID
73682
Comment

Look who wrote it. sigh. As for Emerson, all I can say is... Has the dawn....ever seen your eyes...

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-10-11T15:55:51-06:00
ID
73683
Comment

Nice, Ray. I couldn't agree more. I had a great time in my 20s and 30s, but I must say that I'm happier now in my 40s than I've ever been. And it's for many of the various reasons stated. I know who I am, and like myself. I work hard doing things I love. I can see the results of my work every day. I have love and respect from people younger and older. I live with a wonderful man who can sing like Frank, makes me laugh constantly and cares about the world around us as much as I do. I have lots of mewing little gods running around my feet and warming my chair when I'm not in it. I don't feel the need to prove myself every second. I don't constantly stew inside my head. I try not to overblow my personal dramas. I'm surrounded by positive people who love life and are determined to make a difference in the world (a choice *we* must make, in my view). I don't have my mother any more, but I have her hands (and her spirit and compassion). I don't even know how, as a 20-something, I could have begun appreciating the gifts of life. I don't think we're supposed to. That time is a preparation for this time. Life should be wonderful and glorious at every stage. How silly of humans to use valuable time worrying about getting older. That's a really nasty trick that socialization plays on us. My advice: Just say no.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-11T16:11:01-06:00
ID
73684
Comment

Ray, that's a beautiful post. Thanks for this. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-10-11T16:16:42-06:00

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