Life’s Changing Conversations

Ever notice that as you get older, the nature/topics of your conversations with other adults changes. For example, when you are in college, its all about the opposite sex, grades (how good or how to stay in school), booze, parties, and if you are into them, sports and cars. Future careers also plays a big part as well as the job search during your last year.

Move into your twenties, and now its all about your job, future career moves, dating or if you’re married, about maybe starting a family. If, when kids arrive, then the focus shifts to them.

In your thirties and forties, the dialogues are pretty much the same. Some go down the divorce road, dating, adapting to a new normal, but for the most part, it is still about kids, careers, schools, home improvement, etc. etc. etc.

The next big evolution comes in one’s mid to late forties. Some make career changes, empty nesting is on the horizon along with college tuition payments. Life is good because you are having adult conversations with your kids. Around this time, one of life’s tough challenges – end of life issues presented by your parents. For many it is the first time they face their own mortality and bring a new perspective because either consciously or sub-consciously you begin to realize there are two road ends rushing toward you – your retirement and ultimately, your death.

Fast forward into your fifties and sixties. Hopefully you are successful and success isn’t necessarily defined by the size of your portfolio, but it helps. A larger portfolio gives you options, one of which is the psychic satisfaction to make the absolute right decision at your job instead of a politically correct one and if challenged by a superior, the freedom to tell him to f—k off.

The fifth and sixth decades of life present physical, mental and medical that become the topics of conversations. You become even more conscious of how the aging process is affecting you. If you’re lucky, you manage to get to your mid-to late sixties without major health crisis, e.g. a heart attack, bleeding ulcers, a bout with cancer or some other life threatening disease. All of this drives what we talk about with friends and family.

Once you get into your seventies, dinner conversations with friends are often dominated by comparing doctors, treatments for similar ailments, and other medical issues. They’re mixed in with those about children and grandchildren that can be good stories about promotions, new jobs recently arrived grand babies to tragic tales of mental health problems, bad marriages, even premature deaths and suicides.

It is all a reminder that as much as we think we are immortal, we’re not. A shrink might tell you that it is a way the sub-conscious is subtly preparing you for the ultimate end.

This isn’t meant to be morbid, but just an observation about conversations I seem to be having with friends. Just so you know, I’ve become dyslexic about my age. Subtracting the year I was born from 2018 indicates that technically, I am seventy-three but in my mind, I’m just thirty-seven!

Marc Liebman

September 2018

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