Tom Young's first journal

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Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:28 am

Winter is becoming a long haul... I know, because I I'm getting antsy, and realized that when I found myself reading the "Hollywood Reporter". This time an article that made me think. ... net-765989
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt on Thursday predicted the end of the Internet as we know it.

At the end of a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where his comments were webcast, he was asked for his prediction on the future of the web. “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear,” Schmidt said.
The quote got me started. Basically the article says that because of the proliferation of personal electonics... glasses, health bracelets and such that the individual will live in a virtual world, and interact with others by your own permission.

The part that got to me, though, was the projection that the 40% of the world that has internet access wil grow rapidly in the future. Along with that... the next step that opened the door to some wider thoughts:
Sandberg and Schmidt lauded the Internet as an important way to give more people in the world a voice. Currently, only 40 percent of people have Internet access, the Facebook COO said, adding that any growth in reach helps extend people’s voice and increase economic opportunity. “I’m a huge optimist,” she said about her outlook for the industry. “Imagine what we can do” once the world gets to 50 percent, 60 percent and more in terms of Internet penetration.
She cited women as being among the beneficiaries, saying the Internet narrows divides.
So women are empowered! That's great... and that starts the thinking process...
So if the internet empowers women... what about THE PEOPLE????

I look around and see older people like me, who are living their lives, passively. We can't change the world. Our votes count for little, after the election. We smile, and hope for the best.
Bad enough... but then I look at my kids, now in their 50's, but aside from voting, feeling just as much disenfranchised as me... watching and reading the news... pleased or angry as one side or another of the current crisis is presented.

So who is making the policy? Who is making the decisions? Who are they listening to? To ease the pain, we typically watch or read the liberal, conservative or progressive viewpoints... just to keep the blood presure down. What do we (the "most people" we) do to affect change? Aside from the few who will call or write the decision makers... almost nothing.

What if... the internet became a place to formally "vote"... or "choose"... or "agree or diasagree"... with a "poll result" page. Simplistic? Not workable? Can't be done? Hmmm... maybe.

In his 1974 book Computer Lib, Ted Nelson connected computer use with political freedom with the rallying cry "Computer power to the people! Down with the cybercrud." Forty years ago... Not there yet. Still millions... billions... trying to be heard. Some reach a few thousand, or a few hundred thousand others, but what if... the people could be empowered with a central, formal site to ensure their voice is heard.

Women power a start, but why not a one voice, one vote.. "sense of the people".

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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Scrubby » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:21 am

Tom Young wrote:So who is making the policy? Who is making the decisions? Who are they listening to? To ease the pain, we typically watch or read the liberal, conservative or progressive viewpoints... just to keep the blood presure down. What do we (the "most people" we) do to affect change? Aside from the few who will call or write the decision makers... almost nothing.
I haven't gotten around reading it myself, but the book "Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't" by Jeffrey Pfeffer is supposed to explain just that.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:45 pm

Am not here often enough to tune in to all of the posts, but I do enjoy the philosophical approach... something that seems to be missing in most internet discussions. Negative blogs are hard to read, but provide a place for venting.

So, a little divergence here, about looking at the future. Instead of seeing our world as a place we can change, it seems to be a structure quite different from anything that would enable the "people" to effect change, but rather a world of puppets, controlled by the puppeteers.

Imagine the tower of power... a place where the very wealthiest individuals live in opulent splendor, aware of their own special elevated status, impervious to the will of those who re looking up.

Wealth and power come... not from hard work, but from legacies, and/or the use of capital (wherever and however obtained) to grow the fortunes that provide the protection for their status.

Lawyers, armies, governments, and the law itself, all controlled by wealth, in a manner never before seen... not in history or even in imagination. Never again a Frech Revolution... never again a government chosen by the people. Never again a public demand for the correction of ills, damages, or any change that does not benefit those who live in the tower.

The very latest projection of freedom from the doom that comes from environmental changes, food crises, or overpopulation... goes only to a year that would be old age for those who are over 20 years old. That means no effective change, and an eventual doomsday scenario that stops in about 50 years.

My crystal ball is cloudy as to the process and timetable, but I can see no way that this could change.

Liberty, fraternity, equality. Never again.

I watch for signs of hope, and if not hope, wide recognition. The sparks of a moral revolution pop up here and there, but are always short lived, or quickly crushed. My own preferred model for a new world is in CESJ... but this too, shall never see light of day.

And so it goes, my dear wife and I live very happily in Today... thankful for what we have. Our four sons are also nearing retirement within the coming four to eight years. While I don't expect thay will have the same good fortune, I believe they will be okay, in an increasingly complex world. We must all look to our own future, hoping to be above the midpoint of society. I fear that those below the midpoint may not fare well at all.

With age, sometimes comes curmudgeonry. :)

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:57 pm

A one year bump.
Nearing the 80th year... November 3.
All is pretty much the same. No words of wisdom...

If anything, life is much less extreme. As my bride and I slow down, it's easier to pick and choose what we do. Life becomes more stable... more organized out of necessity. Adventure comes from planning, and not from a flight of fancy or as a challenge. As memory becomes more of a problem, establishing a framework for time and place is a major change from our younger days.

So... as to time: First... a calendar... no more just the normal memory. A listing of appointments, events, and reminders that we used to keep in our heads. Things like the 90 day reordering of prescriptions or the annual tax, insurance, or regular payment dates for most of the the recurring bills. But it doesn't stop with just the daily schedule, but with the general hourly activities.. exercise, medicines, meals and things like shopping, social activities like card games, group coffee etc. Not a firm written plan, but a structure that keeps life more full and even.

The place part... Yeah.. pretty much like -a place for everything, and everything in its place-. From the organization of the refrigerator, to the stocking of the pantry, to the closet and then to the garage. Plus... one special place for everything that is lost or doesn't yet have a place.

Sound like it's just normal living? Well, yes... but if you've had experience with an aging relative or friend who is having memory problems, you'll understand what structure means. Nowhere in the aging process does stress play greater role than in the frustration of fouling up the routines of what used to be "normal".

This is just a first person observation that probably seems unimportant or self evident. Certainly nothing that ever crossed my mind in earlier years. Now.. it's becoming important. A step at a time. If there is any value to this, it may come from recognizing organization as a part of aging that is better dealt with early. For those with aging parents or relatives, a reason to be proactive... a subject to to be dealt with ahead of time. Better to establish the patterns early... habits that can become second nature when the learning process no longer works.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Fri May 12, 2017 5:57 pm

Sheesh... Now into the 81st year, and dealing w/the forgetfulness that we call alzheimers... Not too bad yet, but getting there. Short term memory not worth a damn, but the underlying IQ seems to still be there.
So that explains the intervening time. Just found the link in my deleted files. Jeez.. did I write all of those posts?

Anyway... trying to cover my lies. Still living in my villa home in the Liberty Village Peru, Il CCRC... Still have our FL home, and our Woodhaven Lakes campground Park Model on Bass Lake.

Health still pretty good for me, and my dear wife. One set of kids is going to retire to a new home in Sarasota in Early August, and will live in our Florida community while their home is being built. Other guys still going along, now in their mid 50's

Money seems to be holding up very well, as we no longer do the traveling, the meals out, and spending on the house. Looking back, we still have the same (low) assets that we had when we retire in 1989... no more, but no less, and what I call phase 2 of later retirement has kicked in strong. We're still frugal, but don't even thing about money any more...

Have become even more philosophical in my dotage. Well satisfied and very happy as we grow older.

Will come back, now that I've found the link... Regards to all new, old and potential retirees.

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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat May 13, 2017 9:15 am

Welcome back! I never saw your journal the first time around; interesting reading. I can sympathize with your memory issues, as my DH is 80 and struggles with the same.

Do you find it hard to keep dividing your attention between multiple homes? I don't think we could do that any more. Upkeep, moving essential stuff around, winterizing, keeping vermin out, switching mail, just making a place home again after it's been empty...too much stress for the payback in our case.

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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Eureka » Sun May 14, 2017 9:36 pm

Glad you found your password and is back on board! Enjoyed reading your first journal and hope for much more.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:45 am

Touching base after 3 years... Still alive w/my bride and living in our home in Liberty Village.

All's well healthwise, and still financially secure. Best of all, still happily enjoying what is now more than 28 years of retirement. The philosophy of two stages of retirement has not changed.

While I still post on five different forums, not as often as before. Whether my imagination or not, it seems that there are more "ego based" posts. "Look at how 'smart', 'rich', 'successful' I am... :roll: "

It's also hard to keep up with newer topics, especially on very large forums such as ERE.
That said, this old man is developing some new interests in the world that are not yet mainstream.

So... just tossing out two that may have already been discussed here... as a matter of interest for those who may be interested in discussing the future of the world... maybe for the next 20 or thirty years.

The first is AI... trying to develop an overview.

The second is "Digital Dissidents" a fascinating two part production of AlJazeera, which is available on their website.

Would appreciate direction to any current links here on ERE, or other websites with extensive overview.

Anyway, look forward to being back, to share and learn. :D

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:42 pm

another "wordy" update... still here... :)

Some thoughts on dementia.

First person experience. Initial onset of memory problems came on about 5 years ago. Now, @ age 82, just a fact of life that requires adjustment.

The initial reaction was one of periodic depression and a look to the family for sympathy and understanding. Of course, this appeal was rejected... "You're fine.... Look... we all have lapses of memory. You're overthinking this!"

Gradually this gave way to grudging acceptance... not because they believed, but that it was okay if it made me happy. Today, we have a much better mutual understanding, which makes my life more comfortable.

Describing the slide into dementia from a personal standpoint is not easy. On the one hand, the deeper intellect is largely intact, but the short term challenges are daunting. Most difficult are the social aspects. As a onetime leader, organizer and "people" person, continuing the social part of what I used to do, requires major changes in personal interactions. As I organize and run several scheduled events in our CCRC, I've had to learn a new way of relating to others. No longer able to put faces and names together, or even to remember names alone, has meant developing an over-friendly general approach to hide the problem, and, instead of recalling recent conversations or events, have resorted to little "tricks" to let others fill in details that I can't recall.

Brings us to today. Very much aware of ever increasing changes to the "normal" life activities. Still in the process of making adjustments to minimize the effect. Most difficult is overcoming the inevitable sadness that accompanies the problem. Slowly coming under control with grudging acceptance. My dear bride has been my support with love and understanding. Together we are working on the things we see as being critical to the time we have left. Simplifying our lives. Organizing time and effort to make the most of what we have. Looking ahead to the things that will inevitably become problematic, and seeking alternatives. In effect, decluttering the mind of the angst that naturally occurs with confusion.

Helpful "stuff". A tamping down of the curiosity and interest level. Less of the wanting to know everything, and more of enjoying the basic pleasures of life. No more reading... less interest in the local "news", balancing "outside the home" pleasures... entertainment, eating out, visiting, long drives in the country and travel... with the ease of watching a good movie.

So, yes... no worldwide travel at age 95... no Senior Swimming Masters events that I had planned on... and we missed my 60th college reunion. The email relationships with old friends has gradually disappeared. Our kids come to see us, we don't travel to see them, and this weekend we'll miss our grandson's wedding in Pittsburg.

With all of that, we're still coming to a pretty good place in life. Things like posting on websites, take longer, and sometimes get repetitive and confused. It takes a lot longer to find "words", and remembrance of things past often jump from days, to years to decades, but all in all, life is very good and it's still quite easy to find things to make us happy.

I suppose it's not "growing old gracefully", but learning to accept, and take life in stride.

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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by jacob » Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:43 pm

Since short term memory is slipping resulting in a change in daily habits and tactics, whereas deep intelligence is intact, I find myself wondering whether you've changed any long term strategies (presumable originating in deeper structures), e.g. health, investment, ... beyond tweaking them to rely less on short term memory.

If it was me, I would not be able to invest the way I do. I would have to go with something simpler that I figure I either wouldn't have to touch or something that's entirely mechanical. (Not much different from most people.) Also, in terms of running a full house(hold), I think I rely hugely on short term memory to keep all the balls in the air. The systems-theory of ERE is complex to implement and maintain. It's in many ways the opposite of simple living.

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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Clarice » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:46 pm

Tom Young wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:42 pm

Some thoughts on dementia.
First person experience. Initial onset of memory problems came on about 5 years ago. Now, @ age 82, just a fact of life that requires adjustment.
@Tom Young:
I have a question. Are you sure you have dementia, and not age-related memory loss? The strategies for cooping would be different. Dementia usually comes as slipping away and affects many cognitive areas, not just memory. Acute self-awareness is unusual for dementia. Memory loss can also be a manifestation of depression, which is a third condition common in old age requiring another cooping strategy. Think about this. Sometimes, it can be helpful parsing these things away (no personal experience, professional one - speech-language pathologist working with old people).

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:40 pm

Yeah...I guess that self diagnosis isn't acceptable. I've talked it over with my doctor, and we both see no purpose in going through whatever tests are necessary to be"legal".
I figure I'm pretty lucky to still be able to think and reason, despite the fact that short term memories, names and faces are a blur, and I rely on my dear wife to help in social situations.

To Jacob... in line with your comments. Yeah... it's almost all mechanical now. Never an investor per se, our finances are extraordinarily simple. IBonds from the early 2000's, a tiny annuity for my bride, (of which more, later) Social Security, and a too large checking/bank account. All interest rates are frozen. One credit card, and and occasional $10 check from a very few stocks that came from out of nowhere when we retired. That's our financial structure.

Despite starting retirement with a net worth of little more than $500,000 in 1989, now, 30 years later, at age 82, we still have the same amount. (actually, a tiny bit more :) Not good by inflation standards but we feel comfortable. The small long term care insurance policy, and living in a CCRC helps, as we know what to expect.

In short... Total expenses $40K, Social Security $25K, Interest on bonds $12K, and a small fallback cushion plus the small LTC insurance and annuity.

As far as simplifying our lives. A continuous major project that we take seriously, and one step at a time. Every single part of living. What we have. What we do. When we do it. Where we go. Who we interact with. A place for everything and everything in its place. Timing. Schedules. Reminders. A white board. Alexa... yeah becoming better....
Lists, contacts, appointments. We're nowhere there yet, and probably never will be. A work in process.

When it becomes too much, we know we'll move out of our Villa (private home part of our CCRC) and hopefully move into the "independent" apartments. the back-up is assisted living.

We're trying to do the right things. We don't want to be a drag on our family.

Jacob... I do believe in the deeper intellect, and have found some kindred spirits in our CCRC. Surprising, and a little hard to get beyond "face value", but with understanding a lot more than meets the eye.

Back to the small annuity. Boy... I thought I understood but was I ever wrong. It was $8,000 that my wife received when her mom died in 1984. Started out with a high 12% interest rate, declining to a minimum guarantee of 4%. Current values:
Annuity Value $63,000
Accumulated value $57,000
Surrender value $53,500
The thirteen page contract was unreadable to me, so we just let the $$$ accumulate. Today, 4% is very acceptable to us.
Now, the choices are "take the full annuity" (whatever that is) until death.
Take a ten year payout on a monthly basis. (only time choice)
Wait and take the surrender value... which will entail taxes.

(I should add here, that we haven't had to pay taxes since 2003 when we liquidated our IRA's. )

For anyone who has an annuity or has an older relative with an annuity, I'd suggest learning how it works. A revelation for me... and thankful for the small amount.

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