December 26, 2014

Christmastime birthdays, aging, and modern America

As a number of social media friends, including one of my fellow Texas bloggers, know, today is my birthday.

No biggie in general, I passed a sort of "milestone" birthday last year. More on that in a moment.

First, talking about Christmastime birthdays.

My parents got me separate gifts, and made sure I had a regular birthday.

That said, I had a dad who refused to open his Christmas gifts one year — and still hadn't opened them months later — because we kids were being too noisy at Christmas. And, two parents together who, when I was 10, or maybe 12, not only didn't get me the Scientific American gift subscription I wanted, but didn't inquire further about how they could bolster the education of a kid that age wanting a subscription to Scientific American back in the days when it was still a real science magazine.

Both parental units are now dead, and I can't overcome the past. I can only continue to work on how the past may affect me today. Anyway, that's a slice of my childhood family life.

Back to today.

As noted, I had a milestone birthday of sorts last year. Not the last decadal milestone before the bounty of Social Security is redeemable, but the one before that, and one that is commonly recognized as a milestone.

And I can report that not only is 50 the new 50, it's got other issues.

For example, as I blogged this summer, I believe I've been the victim of employment-related age discrimination, which is even harder to prove than sex or racial discrimination. And, I suspect something like "social media skills" is going to be an ongoing trick to try to weed out oldsters in the future. That's because I was in Dallas several years back when the Morning News dumped a bunch of older, better paid columnists and such, and justified it on the grounds that it was worried about their ability to improve their computer skills.

Second, I of course hope that some partnership of welfare-hating Republicans and neobliberal Democrats doesn't further increase the Social Security eligibility age, further undercut benefits or make other changes. That's especially true because of the age discrimination issue, and also because of America's continued fraying of the "safety net" otherwise.

There are plenty of near-seniors who have saved nothing for retirement. There's plenty of others who haven't saved a lot.

In many of their, or our, cases, it's not due to frivolity. It's due to some mix of stagnant wages, troubled career fields, job loss and more.

Finally, as I get older, without being lower-c cynical in any greater degree, I do fully hope and intend to become more and more philosophically Cynical. Here's why.

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