first_img Boomers discover mortality Dr. Bernard G. SuranAs the first wave of baby boomers sidles up to age 55, the scramble begins. Long-standing denial of creaking joints and expanding waistlines threatens to crumble if the reality of aging registers.Thus, alarms wail and drive the imagination to slow the ticking of the clock. After all, a generation that perfected jet travel, the Internet, and fast food should be able to toy with time any way they damn well please.The boomers say, “We’re not getting older. We’re not even losing any of our faculties while aging gracefully. And, we’re certainly not inching toward a nursing home with its image of white-garbed attendants wiping drool from our chins. It is not going to happen. No way.”Instead, a nervous boomer will invent some clever catchphrase that extends middle age into. . . well, maybe not infinity but certainly long enough to create mass denial and ease the jitters about creeping age. Maybe we’re not going to die. Like Burl Ives playing Big Daddy in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” let’s all proclaim, “I think I’m going to live forever.” MiddlesenceOnce, before the time of hucksters, mankind followed a simple four-phase plan: youth, adulthood, old age, and dead as a doornail.Then, the social scientists rightly demonstrated the reality of other stages, phases, and passages; and we took comfort in knowing that growing pains were inherent in a life cycle ordained by nature.If we hung in long enough, we’d discover that we were built something like time-release capsules: As we reached specific ages, we’d experience thoughts and feelings suitable to the realities we had overcome and alerting us to the challenges ahead.True enough. The life cycle isn’t an invention; it’s a set of genuine realities we negotiate from birth to death — unless we try to fool Mother Nature.When we hit 55, the actuarial tables are predicting about a quarter century left to enjoy ourselves. At age 55, males have a life expectancy of 23.3 more years and females 27.4 years. Yes, we live longer. Yes, the miracles of modern medicine hold out hope for proving that the actuaries are giving us short shrift, etc. But, folks, some significant part of the end of our lives will be spent in old age. And rightly so, don’t you think?“Not so,” say the hucksters.Thus, the invention of a brand new stage of life staying the ravages of time: middlesence. Not senescence, middlesence — middling interminably through the final stages of life.Those who went before us used the final stages to prepare our wills and get our affairs in order. No need for that anymore. With the stroke of a keyboard, the middle part of our lives is being extended into a Great Age that, God and the hucksters willing, may not even terminate in “dead as a doornail.”Perhaps middlescence will be followed by post-middlescence or some other form of snake oil that softens the undeniable eventuality. The search for eternal youth has been replaced by the hope that middle age might last forever. And, for a hidden bonus, those adolescents who were slow to grow up will surely become middlescents, slow to grow old.The baby boomers are not happy with the prospect of growing older than they already are. The surveys show it, and the hucksters are making hay on it.And, how will the consumer strategists address the 76 million members of the coming “mature market?” Don’t call them golden-agers. Don’t call them seniors or gray hairs. Don’t indicate in any way that they’re growing older. Certainly, don’t lump them in with that group of golden oldies who have already seen 55 come and go. Instead, they are subliminally conned into believing that the Madison Avenue handstand of middlescence will halt all fears of the grim reaper.Erik Erickson, one of the psychologists responsible for developing stage theories of the life cycle, had no difficulty punctuating the later years with a specific stage. He called it ego-integrity vs. despair.When we have lived our lives fully, healthy persons accept the triumphs and failures of the life cycle as something that had to be, without alteration or substitution, the patrimony of one’s history, and the legacy for those who remain.The unwillingness to accept the whole of one’s life cycle expresses itself in the fear of death; despair triggers awareness that remaining years are short and activates a frantic search for alternate possibilities — like middlesence.In another quarter century, the oldest baby boomers will be nearing the end of middlesence (namely, death) while the youngest will be sharpening their denial skills.If we allow ourselves to be huckstered into a phony middlesence, we may never claim the right to grow old gracefully, to showcase the gift of aging for younger generations, to gather our wits and memories and weave the fabric of our histories into a statement of whom we have been and what our lives have stood for.Ashley Montagu once said he wanted to live fast and die young — as late as possible. Of course, he was just being clever. Just because we’re growing older doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with it.We’d all like to hang on for a few more years, especially if we can manage our own drool. Some of us gray-haired, wrinkled oldsters are still buying green bananas and enjoying the audacity to work our appointment books by the month.While we’re middling toward the end of middlescence, however, we might lend due consideration to the meaning of our lives and how we will frame our convictions for posterity and the leap into the unknown.Soon enough, it’s old age and dead as a doornail. As nature intended. Some part of the final stage involves preparing ourselves for that reality so that those we leave behind may lead lives of conscious integrity without diving headlong into the denial pit.Our time will come. When it does, better to face it like a mensch rather than a con artist feigning surprise and disbelief — and oozing Eriksonian despair. Dr. Bernard G. Suran, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and diplomat and fellow of the Academy of Clinical Psychology and the American Board of Professional Psychology. This column is published under the sponsorship of the Quality of Life and Career Committee. The committee’s Web site is at The Quality of Life and Career Committee, in cooperation with the Florida State University College of Law, also has an interactive listserv titled “The Healthy Lawyer.” Details and subscription information regarding the listserv can be accessed through the committee’s Web site or by going directly to November 1, 2002 Regular News Boomers discover mortalitylast_img read more

first_imgLeicester manager Nigel Pearson believes his side’s early Capital One Cup exit exposed the deficiencies of a squad he knows is in dire need of strengthening. Less than two weeks into their return to the Barclays Premier League, City are already out of one cup competition following a shock 1-0 defeat to SkyBet League Two Shrewsbury at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday. Pearson made eight changes to the side beaten 2-0 by Chelsea at the weekend, which included blooding four debutants – three of whom were rookies – but he still feels the game was there for the taking. Instead, the Foxes lacked quality and conviction to see off manager Micky Mellon’s side, underlining Pearson’s concerns about his squad. Pearson has so far brought in six new faces, including a club record signing in £8million Leonardo Ulloa, but knows he needs more. Asked whether he would be making any further new signings before the closure of the transfer window at 11pm on Monday, Pearson said: “Possibly. I don’t know. “One of the things that is apparent from last night’s game, when you look at other players having opportunities, is that we do need to strengthen. We need more depth, and we’ll try and do that. “Whether that is doable or not is dependant on a number of things, but we continue to work to get players to strengthen the squad. “People seem to think it’s only recently we’ve been trying to do things, but that’s not the case. “It’s been a very frustrating summer for us. The targets we’ve been trying to bring in have not happened. “So you could look at this final week and say ‘if we’ve not done it since May, it’s very unlikely we’ll do it now’. Press Association “I’ve a very balanced view on whether we’ll get any deals done. If we do, good, and if we don’t we’ll have to deal with it I’m afraid.” Former Inter Milan midfielder Esteban Cambiasso has been heavily linked, as has James McArthur at Wigan, with reports claiming talks remain open between both clubs in the latter case after an initial £5million bid was rejected. Pearson, however, is refusing to go into detail about his targets as he added: “I’ve not mentioned players by name apart from Cambiasso, and only because he was put into the public domain by somebody else. “So I don’t intend now to talk about players at no point I have mentioned. “If other people decide to bring potential deals into the public domain, that’s entirely up to them. “But I certainly won’t be discussing those sorts of details because it is totally inappropriate and totally unprofessional.” last_img read more

first_imgStop me if you’ve heard this one before.USC opens up its season with a 50-point romp, beating up a lesser opponent before a supposed “game of the year” the following week against a highly ranked team.Ohio State stumbles before the “game of the year,” playing down to an inferior opponent and having to hold on for dear life.If it sounds familiar, you’re thinking of last year. In 2008, the Trojans defeated Virginia, 52-7, while the Buckeyes escaped with a 16-13 win over Ohio.And how about that “game of the year” the next week? The 2008 USC-OSU game was not much of a game at all: Trojans 35, Buckeyes 3.This year, the two teams are off to similar starts. USC trounced San Jose State 56-3, while Ohio State needed late-game heroics to hold on against Navy, 31-27.So what’s to say the result Saturday won’t be the same as last year? Why can’t the Trojans walk into the Horseshoe, drop another 35 on the Buckeyes and walk away big winners again?There’s the obvious disparity in quarterback experience. Terrelle Pryor was essentially handed the reigns in the middle of last year’s blowout in the Coliseum, getting the bulk of the playing time for the remainder of the season.The sophomore threw 12 touchdown passes and ran for another six in 2008 while starting all of OSU’s key games down the stretch.“He understands the game much, much better. I think he knows more of why he’s doing what he’s doing and why we’re doing what we’re doing and why the defense does what they do and all of those things,” Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said Tuesday via telephone.USC’s signal-caller will be true freshman Matt Barkley who, in case you’ve forgotten, has yet to make a collegiate start on the road or against a ranked opponent.Then there’s the revenge element. The Buckeyes have to be seething after failing to show up in last year’s contest, and while there’s so much turnover from the ’08 squad, it still has to sting.And, of course, USC takes its show on the road this time around. The Horseshoe will be packed Saturday night and it’ll be a loud place to play.“You have to focus in the huddle,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Everybody watches the play caller so you can see his expressions and make the most of the communication. And we have to make our calls.”But that alone is not enough to make this game close.Pryor was unimpressive in OSU’s biggest games last year. He threw an interception, was sacked four times and averaged 1.3 yards on 15 rushes in a three-point win at Wisconsin.He was picked off once and averaged less than a yard per attempt on nine rushes in a 13-6 loss at home against Penn State, which all but ended the Buckeyes’ shot at the national title game.The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl didn’t go much better; he was 5-13 for 66 yards, with no scores of any kind.The rest of the team around him is inexperienced as well. James Laurinaitis, Malcolm Jenkins, Chris “Beanie” Wells, Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline are just a few of the veteran names gone from last year’s roster.“From a playing standpoint, [Pryor is] kind of a veteran. That’s a little bit daunting for a young person that young to be the guy with the most experience,” Tressel said.He added: “We lost some real good ones from the defense, but hopefully this young bunch will get old faster.”Yes, USC’s defense also suffered tremendous turnover. A new corps of linebackers will start at the Horseshoe Saturday. The defensive line has new faces. But even Tressel recognizes the group’s tremendous talent.“If you took the jersey numbers off the guys and just had them out there without numbers, you’d think you were watching last year’s film,” Tressel said. “Again, they know exactly what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, the way to do it.”USC’s ground game remains potent, with junior Joe McKnight looking rejuvenated, redshirt junior Allen Bradford stronger than ever, senior Stafon Johnson in top shape and redshirt junior CJ Gable a force as well.And Barkley?He doesn’t need to be the hero Saturday. He needs to hand the football off, make the easy throws and let the offense carry him — not the other way around. If he can do that, his inexperience won’t be a factor.Don’t forget — if Carroll didn’t think Barkley was capable of winning these games, then he wouldn’t be starting.So what does this mean come Saturday?It means the chips are in place for another not-so-close game. 35-3? Probably not. But a comfortable, double-digit point win? A likely outcome.“Thrilla on Manilla Paper” runs every other Thursday. To comment on this article, visit or email Grant at [email protected]last_img read more