Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm ready to fade to ROSE--are you?


I have to admit, I was a little floored when I heard the study this week that proclaimed that older people tend to be more susceptible to scams because their brains look for the best in a situation. The study disputed the earlier thought that seniors had diminished brain capacity or other defects, and says instead that people closer to the end of their lives tend to see things, if you will, with rosier colored glasses.

Researcher Shelley Taylor says:

“We know that older adults are good emotion regulators. They make their lives emotionally more positive...They don’t stress out over small things. They turn away from negative scenes. They are less likely to go to scary negative movies. They kind of keep their emotional life in balance.”

I'd just spent five bucks on the zillion dollar Powerball, pretty sure it was a useless gesture. Twenty years ago, when I bought even one ticket, I was convinced this was my real chance to win. I had the money spent before the balls were even drawn. Every time. I had such hope and desire and confidence. I would buy a house, take vacations, write to my heart's content, give my kids a comfortable cushion as they started their independent lives.

But over the years, I've gradually lost that optimism, rather than bent in the direction of the positive. I bought a ticket on a whim, just to cover my bases, but I had no dreams of being a winner. Not even for a two-buck chance.

Maybe it has something to do with being a family law attorney, when I see so many negative things people do to one another, or see clients fail time and time again or even simply give up on their dreams. After twenty-seven years of the same kind of practice, it's true a bit of burnout settles in.

Even at this time of the year, when so many people are positively glowing with holiday spirit, I find it hard to generate even the amount of warmth that could come from my proverbial lump of coal. Part of seems to be the inexorable onset of age--the change of seasons with its barometric yo-yo and the cold weather sets fire to my chronic pain disorders. Hours of walking the malls and the other holiday events are uncomfortable, even unpleasant, despite what I'd really like to do. I won't lie--some days it's hard to be upbeat.

Everyone's situation is different, of course. Some people are surrounded by loving friends and family, and that makes it easier to feel that good things can happen. For some, they follow Charlie Brown's edict--happiness is a warm puppy. Being involved in community organizations and events helps, I know, though it's not an option for me juggling two careers and special needs kids. Just not enough hours in the day.

So I guess I'm looking forward to becoming a "senior" sometime in the next ten years. I can't wait to regain that positive outlook and think well of people again, perhaps even find a little happiness and people who love and support the person who I am. I'm open to finding the best in others, being able to trust them, and expect that happy surprises will come my way. Just happy to hear that it doesn't necessary mean I get to be senile at the same time, thanks to Shelley Taylor.

How about you--do you look on the bright side of life? What helps cheer you up when you can't seem to find a silver lining anywhere?

Barbara “Babs” Mountjoy has written since she was a little girl, unable to restrain the stories that percolated through her fingers onto her keyboard – or, back then, onto the old Royal typewriter. Babs has been a published author for more than thirty-five years, with a number of publications under her belt. Her non-fiction book, 101 LITTLE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SURVIVING YOUR DIVORCE, was published by Impact Publishers in 1999.
Her first novel, THE ELF QUEEN, was released under the pen name Lyndi Alexander in 2010. THE ELF QUEEN launched her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, under which the second and third titles, THE ELF CHILD and THE ELF MAGE, released in 2011 and 2012. Wild Rose Press released her romantic suspense novels, SECRETS IN THE SAND, in 2011, CONVICTION OF THE HEART, in June 2012 and THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE in September 2012. Zumaya Publications published her women’s fiction title, SECOND CHANCES, in July 2012. She has six more novels scheduled to be released in 2013.
Babs is a contributor to two CUP OF COMFORT anthologies. She blogs about autism, writing and life at, and spent seven years of her career as a news reporter and editor in South Florida. Her romances/womens fiction books are published under the pen name Alana Lorens, and her fantasy/sci-fi under the pen name Lyndi Alexander.


Claude Nougat said...

Enjoyed your post, Barbara, especially the honesty of it, a real change. So many times one gets the feeling that the enthusiasm and joy expressed is "overdone". That people make themselves sound happy all the time because that's what's expected. Moaning, complaining not allowed!

Oh, I know, you don't moan or complain but you have a rather stressful life, brimming with activities, home,family, career, looking after kids - it sounds like a lot! Certainly retirement will bring relief to that kind of stress!

And I think that's the key: it's easier to juggle all your interests and commitments when you're retired (at least one chunk is out of the way!) Small wonder senior citizens have a rosier view on life! I know I do (I've been retired now since 2004) - I was close to burnout when I retired, and now, my view on life has changed and become decidedly optimistic...even if I think Xmas has become way too commercial for my taste...And I don't buy lottery tickets, never have, I just know I'll never win!

Barbara Mountjoy said...

Thanks, Claude! Maybe you've got the key--retirement is several years off for me, but I'm looking forward to it. :)