Posted on Friday, 6th January 2023 by

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According to Gallup, three-quarters of Americans, including majorities of all party groups, are dissatisfied with the nation’s direction.

The Current State of Affairs

Many reading my column are seniors or those fast approaching that milestone. Everyone, regardless of age, is impacted by today’s runaway inflation, out-of-control spending, random violence, crime, open borders, extremist agendas, and the general ineptitude of those governing us today.

Those on the left and right, from both parties, are to blame. Why can’t they govern, compromise, and do what is best for the country instead of steadfastly working against each other to support oft misguided party leadership?

Each party stokes the fires of discontent to gain the advantage while we all suffer the consequences of their inaction. Lobbyists and special interests drive the agenda; the ones that give the most get their way, regardless of the harm they inflict along the way.

Term limits would change our governance dramatically, our representatives wouldn’t have to kowtow to leadership, and special interests to retain a lifelong job. They would be more inclined to vote their conscious, and what would be in the best interest of their constituents, rather than the party line.

Our representatives will only effect desired changes when those they represent express their concerns openly and through peaceful protests. Ultimately, we must vote them out of office if they continue to ignore the sad state of our affairs today. Our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences if common sense doesn’t prevail.

Reflections 2022

Soon after retiring, workers discover there is more to life than a 9 to 5 job: places to go, people to meet, challenges to surmount, and adventures to plan. When I was in my mid-twenties, my wife and I discussed the advantages of federal service and the ability to retire early, as I did at 55 with 36 years’ service. I chose a federal job, after leaving the military, rather than a private sector job with an airline that eventually went bankrupt.

Even though I retired at age 55 from federal service, the business I established two decades earlier keeps me fully employed to this day.

Retiring early allows us to travel and do other activities that often aren’t feasible in your later years, as I can attest to. One of my regrets in life was deferring travel to desired destinations and certain activities to my golden years, not realizing the limitations age places on all of us.

It’s wise and prudent to save for retirement, at the same time, it’s important to set aside time and funds to enjoy the activities you and yours appreciate while younger and able. Life has a way of hurling curve balls at us and there aren’t any guarantees for what lies ahead, at any age.

And now – the Rest of the Story…

I enjoyed listening to Paul Harvey’s commentary in my youth with his telling tales of the day. He would finish his story after the last station break with this refrain, “and now the rest of the story.”  His melodic voice still pervades my thoughts to this day.

As I reflect back on my 73 + years, I’m amazed how dramatically things have changed over this relatively short span of time. An excerpt from the Preface of my memoir, “The Early Years, A Road Less Traveled” says it best:

“Life in the mid-twentieth century was all one could imagine of that time, a Forrest Gump world running at a snail’s pace. The only cell phone we encountered was in the comic strips when Dick Tracy was all the rage. Computers were relegated to large research facilities, filling huge rooms with vacuum-tube equipment racks emanating ambient light; illuminating the room’s interior.

Airplanes were becoming popular after World War II, but most relied on trains and trolleys to get where they needed to go. The middle class bought cars and homes at a feverish pace, yet most could only dream about living the “life of Riley,” an expression coined from an early 1950s TV sitcom. We watched Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, and others that represented the ideal traditional family, infusing our dreams with visions of a stable, satisfying life surrounded by family and friends.

The traditional family was on parade—a working father, a stay-at-home mom, and two adorable children—yet cracks were forming in that foundation by the 1960s. The younger generation, my generation, made waves as we grew up in a world filled with conflict: the Korean War, Vietnam, the civil rights movement, and so much more. From this discourse the hippy generation and Woodstock were born along with the antiwar movement fomenting riots throughout the country.”

Today’s youth would be hard pressed to imagine a life without cell phones, Facetime, Netflix, and the Internet.  We had six TV channels growing up, no remotes, and you could only watch a show on the day it aired. Cartoons were relagated to Saturday mornings or you would have to attend the Saturday matinee at your local movie theater!  You couldn’t tune in any desired show at will, like you do today.

Many families didn’t have cars and walked or took trollies to their destination.  A sea change from today’s world where everyone is glued to their cell phone or social media and many families have two or more cars parked in their driveway.

A baffaling Contradiction 

Much has changed for the better, especially technologically these past 73 years; you would think that as civilization progresses, society would improve and crime, world conflicts, and social unrest would abate. The contradiction is that it hasn’t! That is the dilemma we face today.

There are no easy answers; all we can do is work to hopefully make life a little better for those who come after us. We must rely on our children, and our children’s children to do the same for each succeeding generation.

There is hope

People, since the inception of time have lamented the problems with the youth of their day. Aristotle proclaimed, “The beardless youth… does not foresee what is useful, squandering his money.” Socrates complained, “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households…”

We may find the youth of today beyond hope but history proves us wrong every time. They grow up, accept responsibilities, and take over the world as we did from our parents. Life goes on, and when the pendulum swings too far in one direction a correction is sure to come.

I wish you and yours a happy, prosperous, and most of all, healthy NEW YEAR! A special thanks to my newsletter subscribers and blog visitors that have following my column for these past two decades.

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Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change.

The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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