Tag Archives: age

This is How I’ll Look at 65


Thanks to the help of the truly horrifying iPhone AgingBooth app (and an effect from Instagram), I’ve taken a sneak peak at my future (opposite).  It’s wrinkled.

As much as this is a total gag app, it actually made me think.  Maybe it isn’t too far off.  Maybe that actually is how I will look at 65.

“Seeing” myself at 65 made me think of what I would want other parts of my life to look like.  Here’s a working list:

1)  Jammie and I have two kids: Boy and girl.  Hopefully some grandkids… but that is unlikely given the fact that WE don’t even have kids yet.

2)  HomelessWe don’t live anywhere full-time.  Instead we have favorite hubs where we kick it.  Here’s a sublist of those places:  London, Los Angeles, Butte County (CA), Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Manila.

3)  We see those closest to us a LOT:  One of my key complaints about life now is that, at best, Jammie and I see those closest to us a few times a year.  In the case of my family, it is like once or twice a year.  That isn’t good enough.  We have GOT to be more mobile.

3)  Jammie and I speak: Mandarin.  (To keep up with the kids who will have had a Mandarin-speaking nanny.)

4)  I’m looking back at a career that: Meant something and helped people.  Internationally.

5)  I’m still blogging for CultureMutt:  And I hope YOU are still reading and commenting:)

6)  I’m not scared of my age:  I work with a woman who volunteers in my office and is one of the sharpest, most elegantly dressed people I know.  Dorothy is 97.  I want to be her.

7)  I’m in marathon runner shape:  I have started running again and my goal is to get in shape for several marathons a year.  And keep it up.

8)  I am volunteering for something that requires inordinate amounts of public speaking:  Maybe it is because I joined Toastmasters (a truly superb, international, Public Speaking society with over a quarter million members worldwide) but I LOVE public speaking and take every opportunity I can get to get better at it.  Volunteer work involving public speaking would be great.

9)  I’m enrolled in a top-notch culinary institute:  I would love to go back to school at 65.  Something practical like chef’s credentials would be ideal.

I am sure I’ll add to the list but this is fine for now.  How would your list look?  Tell me in the comments.



Bjorn Karlman

Two More Things…

1) We’ll be looking at the aging process from a multicultural perspective this week so be sure to check back in.

2)  At my last weigh-in, I had lost approx 13 lbs since I started my First Monthly Challenge.  This will be my last week of the juice / smoothie diet so I am looking for a strong finish and will keep you posted.


Pulling the plug on (communication with) grandma

love in any language
love in any language

This summer ultra right-wing spin masters crisscrossed the US, spouting sensationalist garbage about Obama’s healthcare plan and organizing America’s lunatic fringe for circus-style mayhem at Town Hall meetings. One of the more charming claims made was that somehow healthcare reform was going to allow the government to “pull the plug on grandma.” Sen. Chuck Grassley, who first made the comment regarding the government’s potential future role in end-of-life decisions, later retracted it. But like Joe the Plumber, the expression stuck around. The mention of grandparents struck an emotional cord with people. We want them around. But as much as we value older family members it seems that most of us do precious little in the way of communicating with them. What’s to blame? Busy schedules? Misaligned priorities? Or is the real evil… social media?

I typed in one simple question into my Facebook status today: “Are your parents on Facebook?” Comments ranged from “my parents are old school eastern Euros…they type with one finger…so your answer is no” to “Mum is a super user… AND my 80 yr old grandmother!” I got 23 comments total.

The general trend was surprising to me: Most of my friends had at least one parent that was on Facebook even if they were subscribed, as one person put it, “only as a lurker.” Keep in mind that most of the respondents were in their late 20s or 30s and had parents that are or are pushing, grandma age.

Facebook reported this year that the fastest growing demographic of users was over 35 (http://bit.ly/7CMGd). Even more significantly, the fastest growing subset of this larger group of people over 35 is women over 55 (http://bit.ly/173ReU). That’s right, grandma has invaded Facebook. Trends such as these may be part of the reason one of my friends’ responses was, “My dad is (on Facebook) and he keeps trying to friend my friends. I will not friend him. You have to draw the line somewhere!”

LifeTips blogger Jamison Cush said, “Conventional teen wisdom: once your parents embrace something, it is no longer cool. So, inspired by a recent Facebook friend request from my mother, I am boldly declaring on this blog that Facebook is so over.” This kind of logic may be indulged for comic effect, but there is truth to it. As much as I want to stay in touch with my retirement-age parents, I don’t want them sifting through my Vegas pictures. And I will think twice about social media that allows them to do so.

Is it just time to admit that cross-generational communication is a touchier area than we give it credit for? Trying to do what we’ve failed to do in face-to-face communication across an age gap isn’t going to get easier because grandma now knows how to post bingo pictures and, very disturbingly, friends your online buds that she finds attractive. You could try to remedy the issue through heart-to-hearts over hot chocolate.

Or maybe just beef up your privacy settings.


Bjorn Karlman