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Old 12-19-2007, 08:08 AM
13,319 posts, read 25,561,639 times
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I don't think "best days or not" is a feasible consideration.

Of course, the days with the longest outlook are behind us, more every day, every year. is that the best?
My physical best days are long behind me. Does that count?
Technically, still anything is possible. However, with passing time, "anything" becomes less and less likely, or desirable. Years ago, it was all more open-ended. Is that best?
I am wiser, more tired, less depressed, more banged up, more dreams explored and found wanting. Only time can do some of that. Dunno what's best about any of it.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:16 AM
Location: Tennessee
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Originally Posted by somwhathip View Post
I was at a media conference about baby boomers in New York recently and they had a number of baby boomer experts presenting information (e.g.; did you know 1 out of 3 adults alive today are baby boomers?). Anyway, this guy asked a very provocative question - do you think your best days lie ahead of you, or have you already seen your best days.

I would really like to hear how other people would answer this question ( i promise to give my answer, but later). Please qualify by saying if you are a boomer or not (born 1946 -1964)

Boomer. The best years of my life (so far) were between the ages of 18 and 21 and right now...so, kind of hard to say. In both of those two stages I was discovering things that were new to me.

I'm thinking new things were a part of the rest of my life but I didn't know/notice enough to appreciate them.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:13 AM
Location: Home is where the heart is
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Default A very long answer to your question

I like Brightdog's attitude. I spend much less time being depressed, too.

Looking at the question from this angle…

I was depressed quite a bit during my teens, angry during my 20’s, a little bit happy in my 30’s, contented in my 40’s, and since then I’ve figured out what I like to do in life, and I spend more and more time doing those activities. There's a pattern here. Obviously I now spend a greater percentage of my time doing activities that I like and feeling happy. So from that angle, the best days are ahead.

And now, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to tell a little bit about my story, and how depression turned into anger and then into contentment:

I started life in a suburb near Cleveland, OH. My parents moved there right after the war; they were one of the first black families in town. The town was a wonderful place to grow up—straight out of “Father Knows Best.” We had a few problems with prejudice (neighborhood punks threw snowballs through our windows) but mostly our neighbors were nice.

Most of the bigotry came in the form of false assumptions. For example, I didn’t take advanced math classes because “everyone knew” college was for white kids. (And everyone knew math was for boys.) I loved Cleveland, but my parents always said we would be happier if we moved south.

So we moved to Florida, certain that things were about to go so well for us. But our assumptions were wrong. Turned out my father had better opportunities in Cleveland. And the people had a different way of looking at life—I found it dismaying. I judged everyone, and made a lot of assumptions about how everyone around me was going to turn out.

I remember being stunned by how many girls in high school were pregnant (…and married and playing house. It was the 60’s after all.) I judged them the most harshly of all. Now 40 years later I've been back to Miami a few times. Those girls had a life very different from mine--but many of them ended up with lives that make them happy.

These girls didn’t feel ashamed, they were thrilled. They were Cuban girls who thought that if they had a baby in America they wouldn’t risk being shipped back to Cuba. It really made me realize that there are wildly different strategies for success in life. But I looked at these girls and thought life was really depressing.

It's amazing to me now that I once let other people's lives depress me. I guess I just didn't want to judge my own life, which really was becoming depressing.

My parents both got into trouble with alcohol. Life took a very bad turn, and we moved into a series of bad places. Each one was worse than the one before. School was for losers. At the age of 17 I took off to “see America.” Like a lot of people back then, I became a hippie chick.

So my teen years were depressing—but my 20’s were better. At least my life was under my own control. There were many exuberant moments. But, to be honest, there were many unhappy times too. Desperately unhappy times. Was the best yet to come, or the best behind me? You tell me:

I floated around from city to city, lived with assorted people in various rundown places. Sometimes I thought it was a grand adventure, sometimes I got really angry. I told myself I was angry about what was happening to the environment (and Vietnam, of course), but looking back I think I was just angry because it felt better to be angry than depressed.

Once I lived in a yurt, once I lived in my car (just for a few days—that was enough!). I had a home base of sorts in Houston, where I worked at part time jobs—mostly as an activist for one cause or another. I did things like hand out fliers at the Earth Day festival. I watched people crumple up the fliers and litter them all over the park—it made me depressed. I remember thinking the world was “a doomed sewer.” A few times I toyed with thoughts of suicide (I wasn’t serious, just overly dramatic).

Free love was the rage back then. Everyone was experimenting, but I just felt used. I wanted a solid boyfriend, even if it was “square.” So I found a way to make it cool—I got a boyfriend who was white. Don and I really liked flaunting it, especially in front of his family in River Oaks.

We broke up after awhile—I moved to San Francisco, and shared a horrid little apartment downtown. A few weeks later I was robbed and the guy had a gun. City of Love, yeah right! I fled San Francisco, came back to Houston, and Don and I got married. We were partially in love and partially in love with the idea of making a statement.

Don’s parents tried to be nice. They never once said a thing about my color, they just said they objected to such a young marriage because it meant Don would probably never go to college. (They were right, he never did.) I was determined to prove them wrong, so I started shooting off my mouth about how we had a plan, how I was going to work two jobs and put him through school, how we were going to get scholarships.

And just to show them, I did get two jobs. I quit being a low-paid activist and got a real job as a secretary. I stopped smoking pot and instead began growing and selling it. Not exactly a proud moment in my life, but it was my first taste of being an entrepreneur. I also quickly learned it’s much smarter to sell legal merchandise.

I went to the local library to find out about scholarships, and discovered that the library was a wonderful place to hang out. A librarian took an interest in me, and assumed that I was researching scholarships for myself. I didn’t bother to correct her assumption. She arranged for me to get a relatively high paying job in the sales department for a local country club.

My husband and roommates were dismayed. How could I sell myself out to the white man like that? Didn’t I know they were just using me to impress the world with their token black employee? I thought that was pretty ironic because my husband and friends were using me in just the same way. Everyone was using me as a token black female, why not make some money at it?

I liked the money I made at the country club, and I liked getting a chance to design advertising. And, to my surprise, I liked many of the people. I found out my assumptions about them did not turn out to be true. But most of all I liked “fooling them” that I was working hard to make money so I could go to college. After awhile I began fooling myself.

Meanwhile, my husband was getting bored with marriage. And I was getting resentful that he didn’t want to do anything but part time activist jobs. Finally, he learned about a “golden opportunity” for activists out in DC. Everyone in the house got excited. That was the place to be, they said. We were going to change the world! So we moved to a crummy neighborhood near the capital building. And other than that, nothing much changed. I began to see Don was never going to do much in the world, and I resented leaving my great job. We split up. I continued living in the city. For a while it was fun, but life was also very hard at times. I had a few very frightening moments walking home at night. Finally, I got attacked one night.

After that, my mother insisted that I stay with my relatives who lived in this boring town about an hour away. I hated the idea at first, but after I settled in I found out I really liked getting away from the city. What a surprise! Once again, I learned that my assumptions were completely wrong. Once again I started going to the local library, just for something to do. Out of habit I began looking up scholarships, and it occurred to me that, instead of “fooling people” I could pursue a college degree for real. Why not? If I could send a husband to college, why not send myself?

I came across a saying that changed my life: “Happiness is a decision, not a feeling.”

And as amazing as it may seem, I ended up at Northwestern University. Then I went to the University of Denver. And because it was just so outrageous and unexpected for me to be there, I really made the most of it. I made a point of meeting all sorts of people. By the time I was done with college, I was a completely different person.

By the time I hit 30 I began to be happy most of the time. That’s quite a change from the depressed, angry person I had been in my 20s. The person I was back in my 20’s is so foreign to me, now, that thinking about my memories feels like I’m watching a movie about someone else.

I think of all the things I learned in college, the most important lessons have been about the stupidity of making assumptions and the power of positive thinking. Again and again, I learned that happiness is a decision, not a feeling. I decided to find reasons to be happy, and I keep making that decision every day.

That was just the beginning of my life. I’d need a whole book to tell the adventures of my career years. But the point remains the same. Life has had good adventures and bad adventures, but the more I go along, the more I just laugh at it all. I’ve been getting happier, so YES… the best is yet to come.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:30 AM
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We are born 1948 and less then a week into retirement. If the best days are behind us then we made a big mistake. Right now it appears they are about to happen. Geez how can no stress not be the best of times?
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:05 PM
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
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I was born in 1940 so obviously most of my life is behind me.

Some of it was good, some of it could have been better.

The fact that I am still alive shows that most of it was OK, but I have no idea what was or will be "The Best".
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:29 PM
Location: Lovelock, NV - Anchorage, AK
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A positive attitude can get you a long way, not only in your career but in your friendships and I do believe the a positive attitude will assist in prolonging your life. I look through rose colored glasses and I like what I see, so I do believe the best is yet to come.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:18 PM
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Born in 1953. Regarding youthful depression, I think some of it might be a developmental response to separation/individuation (at least for girls). But there is the next level, where it is so biologic, one cannot "decide to be happy." It's not "about" anything, it just is. If someone hasn't experienced that, count yourself fortunate.
That said, I have less of it as I get older, and count myself either wise or fortunate or both.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:25 PM
Location: Journey's End
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My best days behind are known and savoured; the days ahead of me are all unknown, and an adventure about to happen.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:04 PM
Location: The South
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Born in 1937. I think the best days are behind.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:07 PM
Location: Maryland Eastern Shore
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Originally Posted by Tressa View Post
Born in 1955 so yes a boomer. I feel that my best days are ahead of me, .
Me too - born in 1955 - but my best days are behind me - unless one of the Beatles or Rolling Stones calls
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