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Why There is No Cure or Prevention for Cancer

There is No Holding Back Time

UPDATE - DARLENE'S HOMECOMING: Before I get going on today's post, let me give you this happy update.

As many of you know, long-time blogger and TGB participant, Darlene Costner, who turned 90 last year, fell in her home in early December breaking a bone in her back.

Good news now. Yesterday, Darlene wrote to say that after a second hospital stay and a stint in rehab, she returned to her home on Monday evening where both her son and daughter can help with her further recuperation.

”I must say,” wrote Darlene, “that holidays in Rehab was not in my plan and my family tried to make it enjoyable...they visited me several times and Mark and Gail were most attentive so I did have a nice Christmas.

“I wanted to write a humorous tale about this happenstance, but this morning I am not up to par so the funny side of re-hab will have to wait.”

Don't let anyone ever say Darlene is not a trouper. Just five hours later, she sent an animal photo collection of pets' trips to the vet. Here is one of them.


Welcome home, Darlene, and I know I speak for everyone – we're looking forward to your recovery and full-time return to this community. We have missed you.

* * *

Okay, here is today's other post:

No one can hold back time and that is how it should be. I'll get back to that in a moment...

It is at the end of each year when the media make their annual lists of well-known people we “lost” during the preceding 12 months that I most realize how much the people, events and things that define my life are fading away.

Here are some names we probably share. Frank Gifford died last year. So did Joe Franklin (New Yorkers will recall who he was), Oliver Sacks, Mario Cuomo, B.B. King, Louis Jourdan, Leonard Nimoy, Leslie Gore, Donald Featherstone and Gary Dahl among hundreds of others who populate my 74-year historical worldview.

You may not know those last two names but you surely will recognize what got them a mention on the 2015 death lists: Featherstone invented the pink lawn flamingo; Dahl invented the Pet Rock.

Yep. Our guys, our generation foisted that effluvia upon us. They were funny for a moment or two but way overstayed their welcome.

Time moves on, mercifully in some cases, but it is also merciless, blindly burying the touchstones of our pasts. That would be my personal past I am referring to today, the artifacts of the life and times of my years.

Not infrequently these days, I am baffled by the latest culture. I learned who Adele is only about three weeks ago but that's hardly new. It has been years since I recognized any young musician's name without effort.

Language trips me up too. By the time I had worked out what a “hookup” is, the younger generations had invented “Netflix and chill” which means, if you don't know yet, something approximate to hookup – the next iteration of it, apparently.

Even so, I felt a part of the mainstream culture for a long while. even on the bleeding edge in some cases. When the internet came along, I was still young enough to participate in its adaptation to everyday use. I took to cell phones fairly easily too although not as happily.

Now thanks to them and some accompanying innovations, the cashless society will arrive before long – maybe even before I die – and for some excellent reasons, I don't think that's such a good idea. (See more here)

But it doesn't matter what I think about technology, music, fashion, literature, art, the general zeitgeist or anything else. I'm 74 years old and it is the young who get to define them now.

We had our turn, you and me. Remember when the clergy denounced rock and roll as the devil's music? When long hair on boys annoyed just about every parent? When you had to be 21 to vote? We changed those things.

We can also claim forcing the end of the Vietnam war, big strides forward in civil rights for minorities and women along with creating the early environmental movement. I'm proud to have been part of some of that.

Now, time has passed and a new generation is making their changes. Just ten years ago, the idea of marriage equality hardly existed. Now it is fact. Today's young people made that happen.

In survey after survey after survey, it is the young who embrace inclusiveness of all people. It is they who lead the continuing technology revolution. And it is they who will have to contend with the twin disasters of terrorism and climate change while, probably, making even more music and new slang phrases that pass me by.

But that is as it should be. Rather than regret the dwindling of my generation's influence, I am eager to see what's next, to watch the changes and support them where I am capable of doing so.

Does that mean I'm retiring from my activism, backing off my pressure, for example, to end ageism and other threats to elders' wellbeing?

Not a chance. And maybe, with the help of others, we will get far enough that when it comes time for today's youth to relinquish their hold on the culture to the following generation, we will have gained some ground in that regard for them to build on.

(It takes a long, long time for cultural and political changes to come about. Fifty years ago, I naively thought the passage of the Voting Rights Act solved those problems.)

There is still a place for me and all interested elders to help make a difference – just not in the mainstream and there is some relief in letting go of that. Time moves on – there is no stopping it and no going back.


First... I am so happy that Darlene is doing well!

Second.. this is another DITTO column! Well done Ronni!

They also say the are "talking," which is like saying they are dating. Dating is a dated word.
We elders are dated but now down! Your words ring so true.

Adele frightens me. Not by anything she does or what she sings about or the way she sings it. (She's an okay singer, I guess), She frightens me because I don't understand what all the fuss is about.
Nothing defines the generation gap more than music and when I hear the accolades for her and about the millions of "records" she has sold, and I fail to understand all the hoopla that surrounds her, it makes me feel very, very old.

I still have my pet rock. I have trouble letting go of things that amuse me. How that dates me now that its creator has died.

Our activism sure does change as we age, doesn't it. It's amazing how much faster the world seems to take up a cause in the age of social media than it did when we were young. It's also very hard to keep up at times with popular culture and I almost feel sorry for young people who don't have the time to savor one fad before another is invented.

Good to hear of Darlene's progress - and to have her giving an image that brings a smile along. Keep going - sounds like you're doing great, Darlene.

I'm with you on this, Ronni - the issues during my young years were born of angst, anger, generally about our country's issues and with a sense that something could be done to resolve them. Facing globalization-level problems, climate change, fear being a near daily though often hazy threat, gross inequality - all with less defined lines of choices and resolution - well, I'm ok with giving support from this aging distance and not being so involved.

Perhaps this will promote mass unity and change societies from competitive to cooperation at some point.

I suppose I could go look up Adele, but no. I probably won't. I get it from the context.
Every generation has its icons - remember Frank Sinatra?

Meanwhile, elders will continue to have a leavening influence on society. We just must remember our own salad days and the number of times we were saved from calamity by a wise elder.

Thanks for another excellent column, and Darlene's picture of the revenge-promising dog is priceless.

Just saw a vid of Adele for the first time on Sunday. Bet she is now passé.

As for activism -- I think it might be our job as people who have seen so much to bring a longer view than the young in the midst of the fight can be expected to manage. That's what elders are for, right? At least I hope so.

Thanks for the update on Darlene. So happy she is doing so well! As I read through this post, it sounded like you were withdrawing—giving up. But thankfully no! (Whew!) What a relief to know that you will still be here, telling it the way it is, and guiding us through the process of finding a place for us to contribute. We do have a role, still. I hope we can stick to a positive, strong, leadership message that the new generation can access and pay attention to—a diminished role, true, but nevertheless a meaningful one.

Darlene, thank you for that picture of your dog with attitude. I have a "nephew dog" who gives that sidelong, arrogant seeming look almost like a snubbing, so your pic made me laugh and share.

Ronni, I agree with your sentiments regarding time moving on and our being left in the past. I do believe the technical advances beginning with tv may make this experience be close to unique to our generation and the one before us--in their 90s now.

We, in our 70's (not that I have done a study of this) seem to be more in flux about all the changes than those in their 90's--judging from the wisdom of of those who reply here.

And, I don't mean to be saying our generation isn't wise, just that we seem to have more angst and maybe are just coming to the realization in our own lives. With any luck/wisdom/intelligence, maybe we can weather this somewhat confusing time and move into our 80's and beyond with the same ease as some of the former generation.

You stated "...I most realize how much the people, events and things that define my life are fading away. "

Yes, exactly, fading away--- and every year it seems a bit more--one example:

When I moved to my condo in 2004-- there were old people here. Gradually they all died or moved to care facilities.

Now I have become one of the old people

I woke up one morning wondering what all the excitement about Adele was about but then I realized what a skillful marketing team can do and she sure has one.

First, y-a-a-y for Darlene, her recovery and the vet-visiting dog. Our cats HATE going to the vet and let us know it in no uncertain terms.

I turn 79 today--a fact that I'm both grateful for and in disbelief about. In my somewhat-dissolute youth, I never figured I'd get this far. The downside is that this past year, I have begun to feel physically "older" in ways I didn't before. I no longer have the energy I had even into my mid-70s, and I've developed some "nuisance" ailments that sometimes toss a fair amount of my joie de vivre in the trash can. I haven't worked since being involuntarily retired at the end of 2014. I miss my job and definitely miss the paycheck! I'm no longer connected to the world of work, and that's a big change after 57+ years in the workforce.

On the upside my husband (86) and I are basically in good health for where we are in life--no major end-of-life diseases so far--and living independently. That's a HUGE plus since both of us abhor the alternatives. Our financial resources are "sufficient" but not a lot more than that. Our cars are old but get us the relatively few places we need to go anymore. Our furnace is ancient but hasn't quit yet. Our cats haven't had to go to the vet recently. Things could be worse, for sure.

As far as losing life markers and people, I can absolutely relate. On the other hand, my husband thinks Adele is terrific, and I agree that she has a powerful voice. Her success may be a result of great marketing, but we think there's talent involved as well.

Echoing others' comments here on Darlene's progress. So happy to hear she's entering 2016 on the mend at home.

I have to agree with not understanding the big deal about Adele, but O think that Emily's probably right about the importance of good marketing. I did think Adele was a good sport in the recent story about some 'Adele sound alike/look alike contest', where she actually turned out as one of the contestants.

I agree...Adele has a terrific voice. I think a lot of the youth will do well for the future. They are not so judgemental and more inclusive than some of our generation.

I love this post, Ronni. Trying to figure out how to be old - how to balance letting go with staying engaged - is something that I struggle with frequently, largely because I'm older than the parents of many of the people I work with. This post is helpful with that effort.

BTW - I have one friend who makes it a point to watch the awards shows in part to be conversant with current actors, singers, and the general tone of current culture. It's a great strategy, but unfortunately I can't stay awake for the entire show!

Good news about Darlene. Being home is the best.

The world I was born into barely exists and that's just how it is. I still have friends suffering from the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Many of them died way too young after returning home. And this is still a problem we need to change for our veterans. Some things don't change fast enough.

I'm grateful for multiples of grandchild who try to keep me in "tune" with the new stuff. My whole family still has a fondness for those pink flamingoes and many of us have at least one. My sister who is married to a man from Florida has several small ones that hang on their Christmas tree.

As for no cash, I like some cash still. Hard to give a kid a quarter for the gumball machine without cash. The little ones love putting all my change into those donation things that spin our money around and around before it drops into the dark hole at the end. I still spend at places that don't take anything but cash. The bank fees nick the heck out of a really small business. Some ways I am a curmudgeon.

Darlene, you rock! Glad to hear your are home. It's good to have your family nearby. I like your style.

That dog face made me laugh so hard.

Speaking about our era music, Engelbert Humperdink is performing somewhere in Florida.

Sixties singers perform for their senior fans in Florida.

It's not the same though.

Saw a billboard with Diana Ross last year in Tampa. I loved The Supremes, but only when they were three.

We watched an Adele concert last week on tv and enjoyed it. Lots of angst in her lyrics. Love gone wrong.

Also try to keep up with rappers, hip hop, singers of my nephew's generation, just to stay in the loop.

I will give a listening to any kind of music, but will quickly turn it off if it doesn't ring my bell.

Pet rocks? I kept my pet rock on my classroom desk, for good luck.

Some of our fads were weird, but they were OUR fads.

New fads?

Which one of us has attempted to ride a hover board? Hover board is one word, but it won't type that way here. I tried.

Chiropractors must be rubbing their hands together in anticipation.

"I w-was just test-running it."

I am so glad to hear the good news about Darlene. She's at "that age" where breaking a bone can be disastrous. Glad she's home and has family around to help. And that dog picture? I can look at that and have a belly laugh, look away and come back and laugh again.

I'm just a year younger than you, Ronni, and I've found that as the years fly by faster and faster, I'm entering into new life chapters more quickly, too. I've taken up a new yoga class this year, and I swear after two classes I'm taller! It's called "gentle yoga" and means I can take it without the hurt.

As long as you can keep on keepin' on, I'll be here, reading every single post and commiserating with you on many levels. I don't get Adele either, BTW. :-)

Lawrence Welk. Still on PBS weekly in Iowa. Must still have a fan base. Not me.

This is the first place I have ever encounter this Adele person. Must not be on PBS.
I hope my millennial, Bernie enthusiast grandsons represent the future of our society.

Hi Ronni - thanks for starting off the post with good news about Darlene - always nice to start off with a smile - however I'd like to share some news from Australia - which is so awful it is almost funny - the Police Commissioner of New South Wales (a state in Australia) has stated that he thinks no one over 70 should be allowed to drive! Of course his comments and statistics have been repudiated by Seniors Groups - but what is worrying is that there has not been a universal outcry from public and politicians - who knows perhaps the majority agree?Yes agism is alive and well here.

So happy to hear the glad news from Darlene. Thank you,Darlene, for the revengeful pup photo. Made me giggle.

Ronni, I have given up trying to keep up with the latest cool lingo. (Perhaps "cool" is also passé ? ) I don't have any favorites among the current singers , either...but I do understand the urge ....I read comments about .frank Sinatra and Duana Ross. Probably the seniors back then wondered what the fuss was about.

So glad you are staying the course and will continue to speak up about ageism.
You are the voice for many of us.

"We can also claim forcing the end of the Vietnam war, big strides forward in civil rights for minorities and women along with creating the early environmental movement. I'm proud to have been part of some of that. -"

Ronni, you forgot to mention how you and a bunch of other women in New York stormed that all male bastion known as McSorleys Wonderful Saloon and "persuaded" them to allow women to enter after they had been excluded for like 100 years...

There's a terrific blog post for you. Tell us that story one day...

Thank you for sharing the news about Darlene. So glad she is back home; may recovery be complete and even faster now.

A lot to contemplate in the second part of your post ... as usual, you "force" (allow?) us to take pause and reflect. Not always easy but I am very grateful for you, always.

Nothing better than home! So happy you are back Darlene!
Age--if you're old enough to complain about it--STOP! We all have our chance hopefully most of us have made the best of it.
My music is still Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter and on and on.
Love them passionately still and will forever. And movies...some of the new ones
--adore mysteries, am really into crime dramas--they keep life exciting.
Happy New Year to all and let's hope and pray the news (all of it) gets better.

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