After our usual TV ‘church’ service on Sunday, I found myself gaily humming one of my favorite show-tunes…
Oh, what a beautiful morning,
Oh, what a beautiful day,
I’ve got a wonderful feeling,
Everything’s going my way.
I came in to my desk and set aside the furious political screed I had planned to submit for this column.
As a person who lived through several years of clinical depression, I’ve learned to keep an eye out for signs that it’s trying for an encore. As a Republican, the results of the presidential election and its aftermath have depression writ large upon the next four years. That, on top of the rest of 2020’s cavalcade of misery, is enough to drive the most determined Pollyanna right over the edge.
While no one’s ever nominated me as the image of Polly, those who know me also know that I love happiness, a good joke, or a story with a happy ending. Sometimes endings have to be re-engineered to make them acceptable or even bearable. A lousy ending can prod us to sit back, take a deep breath and wait for the strength to do that engineering; to view it as a challenge to the future rather than an end to it.
Donald Trump, 74 years old, and I are about the same age. I voted for him twice, but would not again. There are many aspects to my decision (covered in frothy detail in the rant you’re not seeing here today.) One feature of my conclusion fitting to this discussion is the age thing. Now, any of you who are 74 and running a business, working a 50-hour week, or helping to raise your kids’ kids, know that we do what we have to do. And often love every minute of it. But. When you’re most honest with yourself after a bout with whatever ails you, would you want to be in charge of the nuclear codes? Or all of the chaos that leads up to that yes/no decision?
Not me. My temper is measurably shorter than it was 20 years ago and patience with others’ perceived stupidity is noticeably reduced. My interest in and willingness to keep up with technology wanes by the day. What will this natural disintegration look like at age 78 and four years beyond that? Be honest, now.
Sure, a lot of us are sharp as a tack at 8 a.m. or when involved in vigorous discussion, but the staying power isn’t usually what it once was. Elders have valuable wisdom which we can impart as advisors on some level, but we probably shouldn’t be the ones in charge of a rapidly changing world at 82.
The new drooler-in-chief is a terrifying prospect and the departing tenant has shown us how destructive an oldster in pique can be. Everything’s not going my way right now, but I’m going to enjoy our beautiful mornings while I can rather than dwell on less than beautiful feelings.