Advantages of Growing Old
...You Will Not Be Here in the 22nd Century

There are some advantages of growing old. The obvious advantage is that you are still alive and therefore growing. If you were not growing old, you would be dead. For much of my adult life, I have had the goal of outliving George Burns who reached 100-years. I have less than 29-years to be able to beat him in the area of longevity. Having said that, half dozen years ago, I danced with death twice but won. Therefore, it seems to me that the cards dealt me for reaching 100 are not stacked in my favor. In addition, after exercising my entire life, I have a slight high blood problem that needs to be controlled with a little white pill.

Years prior to having a blood pressure issue, I went to Dr. Marchand, my cardiologist, just to check my heart. He asked me then about my cardiovascular program. He asked a person who had been gung-ho about exercise since running cross-country in high school and college. I told him that I exercised daily for 30-minutes, and I am able to get my heart rate up to 80% of my heart's capacity for 20-minutes during my daily program.

My program did not enthrall Dr. Marchand. He wanted me to exercise for 45-minutes every day. The issue of pushing the rate up to 80% of its capacity was not important. What was important to him was my exercising for 45-minutes every day. I trust him and have not worried about the 80% capacity target point for years. Nonetheless, I do exercise 45-minutes daily. I ride a bike around the lake in my subdivision twice and can do so in just under an hour. Today, as I am writing this essay, I just put my kayak into the lake and will add that to my regimen tomorrow. That will add a half hour to my daily workout. Talk about commitment to a strong heart. In spite of my exercise routine, a couple years ago, my blood pressure started to increase. I take a small white pill and am fine.

In addition, I eat fairly well and take the vitamins and drugs recommended to me by my internist and my cardiologist. I will work hard at my overall goal of reaching the 100-year milestone...against the odds. However, what is my alternative? If I do not, vegetating until I go belly-up is not a goal nor the way I wish to live my next several decades.

Since I have taught Chinese philosophies and religions for years, have traveled in China, and have taught a class there on one of my trips, I have a great reverence for the Chinese. Visit my home sometime, and you will find walls covered with large photos taken on all my overseas trips. Many of the photos are from China. Go into every room, and you will some artifact or souvenir from China. If you go to Wolverton Mountain and type into the search box, China, you will find over 100-articles, 4-interviews, and thousands of photos.

Have I made my case for my love and interest in China...excluding the Chinese government since WWII and the invasion of Tibet in the early 50s? Having said that, one of the things that impresses me most about the Chinese is their reverence for their older population. In the States, we write off the elderly as merely a burden to their younger generation.

In China, the elderly get great respect, in part, because they have gone down the road of life for many years traveling life's journey. This results in being wise due to years of learning and experiences. The Chinese look to the older population for insight. That is the advantage of growing see things differently. You are wiser.

This sculpture is of a child offering an older person some food while a grandmother and another young child watch.  Included in this photo are mother and small child interacting with the sculpture.

This sculpture is of a child offering an older person some food while a grandmother and another young child watch.
Included in this photo are mother and small child interacting with the sculpture.

This respect for the elderly is not a philosophical mindset for most Americans. We tend to write off learning from those with years of experience. We all too often are naÏve and miss a message of the enlightenment that the older generation possesses. The Chinese get that message; in America, we do not.

Having traveled in about 4-dozen countries all over the world since graduate school 45-years ago, I understand the priceless learning experience that overseas travel gives a person. Several months ago during winter break from teaching, I spent almost a month in Myanmar/Burma. Even though my life has been filled with overseas traveling and teaching, I finally saw the light in Myanmar.

I had a regular checkup with Dr. Marchand about a week after returning from Myanmar. While my heart is fine and the little white pill is working. However, he was able to put words onto my feelings that I felt while in Myanmar and still have months after the experience. In a half century of traveling, I have enjoyed every country to which I have been. However, this trip was radically different. I changed. The person who went there is not the same person that I am today.

Go to my webpage and look at Critical Issues on the right side of the page. Scroll down until On Seeing the Light and click on that link. Read the introduction and the first article regarding Carl Sagan. At least, you will understand my experience.

While I was wound up back in the 60s during the civil rights movement, 2014 and hopefully for the rest of my life, I will continue to be even more wound up than back when in college and graduate school. In both time periods, I knew that things would change. During the 60s, I knew we would change laws in America at the national level to address overt racism. In 2014, I am optimistic about Myanmar and the necessary changes that they must be addressed as an emerging country in Southeast Asia.

Those transformative times a half century ago and the present were and are exciting times for me personally. Nonetheless back in the 60s, I did not see things as clearly as I do now. Change was not easy in the States nor will it be easy in Myanmar. America is changing slowly today due to conservatives in Washington and nationally. The conservatives, tea party, and the birthers are facing a very clear choice. They will need to get with it or America will pass them by.

The conservatives are wrong. Period. Go to Google and typed in the words, conservative, and this is the definition of a conservative that first pops up from some other 37,200,000 other sites:


  1. a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.

A conservative wants to maintain the traditional values and beliefs of the past. I do not get it. The conservatives have dissed the liberals for being avant-garde. However, they take pride in holding onto the past as if anything in the conservative past was of value.

Let us look at some of the issues swirling around Washington and in every home and workplace beyond the beltway in Washington. Why do they rally around the past...especially since the past was not a great beacon of anything that contains enlightenment or progress. Look at what the conservatives wish to maintain:

Sexism. If you want some examples of maintaining the past beliefs and standards, look sexism. Todd Akin ran against the incumbent, Senator Claire McCaskill, in Missouri. Forrest Gump would have said after Akin's explanation, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Do not write off Akin as some nutcase. Loads of other conservatives have said similar nonsense on this very issue.

Now, Stephen Colbert says the same thing...from a satirical vantage point. He addresses rape and sexism in general. In fact, he shares some advice with republicans who are running for elected office.

Sexism is wrong morally, and it is wrong politically. More women vote than men do. If you do not care about the moral/ethical issue, the conservatives at cutting out a majority of American voters. While I write this, I can hear Forrest Gump muttering again, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Racism. Conservatives again are cutting out a large number of the population. People of color, black or brown, make up about 25% of the American population. Again, aside from it being morally wrong to buy into racism, the conservatives are dissing a large chuck of Americans by many attempts to discriminate such as voter suppression. The conservatives attempted to suppress the vote in the South prior to the 60s. That was one of the main reasons for the civil rights movement.

When I do not fully understand something, I will say so. I do not lie or bs. What I do not fully understand is why I am so motivated and driven to write about the conservatives. Back in the 60s, every person in the civil rights movement knew that change was inevitable. The naissance of the civil rights movement occurred in late 1955 with Rosa Parks, and, within exactly a decade, the Voting Rights Act was passed. We were not going to change the racists, but we were going to change America. We made a radical change in America. However, we still need to work to further the issue of equality.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
Homophobia. During years as a psychotherapist, I have used a resource book called Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR). It contains loads of information on what the American Psychiatric Association considers all the psychological disorders along with that disorder's numeric code. DSM does not consider homosexuality as a psych disorder...and has not for decades. However, homophobia is an issue in all religions. Religions tend to deal with god/gods. Nevertheless, they increase their level of expertise nearly everything. They did so with sexism and racism, and they were wrong there also.

Income inequality. We live in a country ruled by those who make up financially 1-5% of the population. This rule is called in political oligarchy. They make more money annually while the rest of the 95% essentially remain stuck.

Inflation adjusted increase in after-tax household income

Inflation adjusted increase in after-tax household income
between 1979 and 2005 for the top 1% and the four of the five quintiles.
This chart reveals the after-tax mean household income in the US after adjusted inflation.

Equal pay. In spite of the fact that the first bill that Obama signed in 2009 after becoming president was called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, women still make on average about $.77 to every dollar a man makes even though they both have the same experience, education, and training.

Median personal income by gender and race in 2005

Median personal income by gender and race in 2005.
This chart shows the income inequality in the US.

Global warming. Opponents of global warming make about the same sense as Ptolemy notion of a geocentric or earth centered solar system.

Science as we know actually began with Galileo and his notion that we live in a heliocentric solar system and not a geocentric one. The alternative was the Ptolemy notion an earth centered solar system.

Median personal income by gender and race in 2005.

Ptolemy being assisted by the muse Astronomy

NASA has a breathtaking link showing the melting of the North Pole. Watch it at the Climate Time Machine. Still many believe that the earth is not warming. Again, the political right disses this notion.

Healthcare reform. Go this article, which I wrote in posted on 8/23/09. Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on 3/23/10 exactly seven months later. You can also go to Obamacare on my website for a dozen additional articles about this topic.

Having written about Obamacare and discussed in my classes, let us watch this video for a couple of says it all. And what do the conservatives have to say? They will talk a lot, but they do not have a problem by which they can keep children within their family plans until 26, insure the millions without affordable healthcare, cover preexisting conditions, and equalize the costs of insurance between men and women.

Here is a video in which Obama Announces New Health Care Numbers.

MSNBC's healthcare chart

MSNBC's healthcare chart

One of the advantages of growing old is that having been around a long time, you have seen a great deal. Another advantage is that even if I make it to January 20, 2043, there is now way that I will get to the 22nd century. Unless America wises up regarding voting for the tea party, the birther, and the radical right, none of them will also make it to 2100. However, their children or their grandchildren will. If you are conservative, do you for a nanosecond want your children or grandchildren to be in a conservative world...assuming that the earth exists? I do not. I have two grandchildren, Jack and Owen, that could make it to 2100.

I am explaining thermodynamics to Jack and Owen.  
Jack followed my explanation, but Owen had some doubts.

I am explaining thermodynamics to Jack and Owen.
Jack followed my explanation, but Owen had some doubts.

Ayanna, my granddaughter, is finishing her first year in college. If will be a bit more problematic for her to get to 2100. She would be 105. However, I am trying to get to 100. What's another 5-years?

These next two photos are at Ayanna's graduation party a year ago.

Ayanna and Jack

Al, Ayanna, Jack, and Owen

On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.

Obama signs health insurance reform bill

Obama Signing the Affordable Care Act

Visit the Obamacare page to read more about this topic.

Forrest Gump Film Poster

Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Visit the Stupid is As Stupid Does page to read more about this topic.