In a recent back issue, the topic of the phase of presently working or being retired was discussed, stating that if one is of a certain age and doesn’t appear to be involved in some kind of engagement that could be classified as “work”, one could–or would–assume that one is retired. This is a state of existence where one once had a source of a job for income that could also be labeled as a personal identity that’s outside of a domestic setting (family, etc.), but presently is no longer engaged in such a placement.
When we published that editorial, we received a number of letters and commentary notes that addressed that subject. Normally, we obtain a comment here and there over something that was published, sometimes weeks long after the fact. However, the comments we were receiving started to come in within the first twenty-four hours of release. (This news service normally releases each edition on Sundays usually between the hours of 9:00 PM-Midnight PST. Since the COVIG-19 epidemic began to take hold, we at times have been releasing an issue on Saturdays from 9:00 PM to as late as 3:00 AM PST the next day. Our first replies came early that Sunday morning!)
Anyway, much of what was being stated came from other readers that faced a similar aspect to our commentary. These replies we assumed were sent from those that were of a selected age–50 and over–noted that they, too, noticed that they were assumed to be within a state of retirement. Even to the effect that these people were in fact, working from home but still took the time to do other things around the household that wasn’t part of their traditional “work”. After all, one can slog through massive amounts of virtual “paperwork” all day with the need to do something else for just a moment–feed the dog, sweep the front sidewalk, or do some other things for their own peace of mind!
It’s been written in many places both in print and through online portals about the various positions of life where people living within a domestic setting have faced, especially during the phases of the COVIG-19 situation. Parents of kids under eighteen have been attempting to work from home (WFH) while their kids were out of a classroom setting due to physical schools shutting down or through so-called “extended summer vacation”. Also, people were laid off from their jobs that ranged from the younger groups (mostly working in food service) to those that were older working in such places as an office-type settings or some related aspect that wasn’t a WFH gig!
But this article isn’t so much speaking about COVIG-19. (We discussed that topic long enough!) We are speaking about the phases of feeling one’s age, especially when one knows what they are about to engage through their later journey in life.
Recently, I had the opportunity to view online (‘natch) a documentary entitled My First Last Film, made by a woman named Tracey Thomas, a retired tech executive based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to the press notes as supplied from the title’s distributor, it stated that when she turned the age of sixty in 2014, she realized that she was entering a phase of life that she wasn’t too pleased over, asking such questions as “How did I get here (turning 60) so quickly?” So she turned to her “boyfriend” (more of a man closer to her age than a “boy”) named Dennis Peters, who was involved in film making. (Actually, the process of “making a film” should be called “creating a moving image capture” since many of those who are involved in such creation don’t use “film” as their medium, unless they have a lot of money to spend for the film lab development process–but we digress!)
So with camera in hand, along with the production crew to assist her, she started this documentary with the notion in interviewing other people who were 60 and up to address and make note to this specific form of life journey.
Sadly, while in the process of creating this documentary, Dennis was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease and eventually died of this illness. She continued through the process of creating this documentary after his death to gain awareness about others going through this similar phase, as well as discovering her own notion in life, adding that “..it’s a brave new world after 60, and (she’s) ready for whatever is next”.
First of all, for a first time “filmmaker”, Tracey’s documentary is rather impressive for what it contains. The doc itself seems to be divided upon three categories, each one woven throughout the feature. One third expresses about the companionship between her and Dennis and her dismantlement of grieving over him when he became ill, and the deep loss she faced when he died. Another third shows how she put this documentary together, showing scenes of her speaking with her crew, hovering over the editor looking at her many computer monitors viewing various “takes” and “rushes” (as edited on Apple’s Final Cut Pro), as well as dealing with the music composer on getting the right music beds in check. (The film composer, Cathy Grier, appears to be working from her home, a place where such documentary pieces tends to be slapped together!)
And of course, the last third (third third?) focuses upon the subject matter–interviewing both men and women over their opinions of reaching the seventh decade of their lives. And from what was seen or at least recalled by this reviewer, these people were rather rather satisfied to be in their current stage in life for what it was all worth. Yours truly doesn’t necessarily recall what they were presently involved with at the time of their interviews, but they appeared to be on what’s been called as their “second chapter” in their lives. Their immediate families (assuming that they had one) were all grown up, some were gone physically from a place or gone permanently through death. A few were with their spouses along their side–or possibly not! One woman made reference about her grandkids–family members that were rather important to her.
To give a disclaimer here. This writer turned that magic age last spring. The only way I personally feel the age I am is when it appears to work against me. When I am looking for gainful employment, it can be rather tough, if not nearly impossible, to find a job. Or perhaps knowing that if I wanted to maintain a “family”, I have to use an “adapted” version. I have to seek those that I am not related to by blood and/or marriage and to use these folks as my close friends as “family”–assuming that they want to be part of my “family” in that stance. (On another side note: Yes, I do have others I am related to by blood, but its been years since I had last communicated with any of them while assuming that they are all still living in the first place!)
As with all other “independent” fiction or non-fiction feature releases of late, many of those in release–including this title–are available to view through streaming portals or by way of video on-demand (VOD). Visit the documentary’s official website at
http://www.MyFirstAndLastFilm.net for further details.
Again, this isn’t really about seeing a life’s journey coming toward an ending or through closure. I really think of it as binge watching a TV/Video series with a fixed collection of episodes as it progresses. One knows that it will eventually comes to its conclusion. Then again, if the series one is burning through viewing episodes becomes a hit, one will know that a sequel/spin-off/revision/knock-off will be in the works, extending the life out of the intellectual property in question for many more years to come. That is how I see my life. And if one is really aged, one will see their life as a 12 or 14 chapter serial that Republic Pictures used to churn out from the 1930’s through the 1950’s, with each installment ending with a cliff hanger telling the viewer that the next thrilling episode will show in that very same theater the next week!
As The Rolling Stones once sang, “What a drag it is getting old…!”
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