Tag Archives: Baby-Boomers

Boomers and #VR [virtual reality]

One of the first friends I ever made online is George, of Ready, Aim Click. George is also my go-to person for info on graphics, gaming and the tech that drives both. This is the eye-popping youtube video he just sent me:

If you’re getting a bit long in the tooth, like me, and wondering what all this VR bunk is all about, this video may change your mind about the value of the technology. I know, because it’s changed mine. I WANT IT NOW! -cough- Sorry.

The VR equipment you see in the video clip is probably top of the line and so expensive I can’t see me buying it any time soon. But…prices will drop, eventually, and when they do, this little old lady is going to be at the head of the queue. 😀

cheers

Meeks

Advertisements

“..live my days instead of counting my years..”

Carpe diem by any other name smells as sweet*, and yet those lyrics from Dusty Springfield’s song ‘Going Back’ literally made me shiver.

Of course we have to live in the now. The ‘now’ is all we truly have. Our talk of the past and the future is just the naked ape trying to make sense of the world. The past only exists in our memories, and the future belongs to our imagination. So three cheers for the Now. But the Now can be wasted, trivialized, spent on small pleasures while the big ones gather dust.

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of time, but never more so than now, now that I’m getting older with so much still to do. I don’t know how many productive years I have left, but knowing they are finite is like a hand on my back, pushing me forwards, making me strive, making me want to create something of lasting value.

I know I’m not alone. Every Baby Boomer who sets out to do something – no matter what that may be – is feeling the same way, which is why I think that counting our years is the one, positive thing about ageing.

So no, Dusty, I don’t want to go back; I just wish I’d started sooner. Youth really is wasted on the young.**

My thanks to David Prosser for sharing this great video clip and kick starting my bout of philosophy! [In other words, this is all his fault. :D]

Happy Sunday from Downunder,

Meeks

*A deliberate misquote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

**There is some debate as to who first came up with the quote about youth being wasted on the young. Some sources cite George Bernard Shaw while others believe it was actually Oscar Wilde. I don’t really care; it’s just a great quote.


Women and superannuation

**As a woman with no superannuation at all, this is going to be a rant, so be warned.**

angry

There was no such thing as superannuation when I was working in the corporate sector during the 80’s, and after I married I moved to my then husband’s small business. I stress the word ‘small’ because we could not afford to pay ourselves a salary per se, that luxury was reserved for our employees. We only took out what we absolutely needed to survive.

The family business had its ups and downs, but it did pay the bills, and once our daughter arrived, it gave me the opportunity to work from home. Effectively, I became a full-time Mum, and a part-time, unpaid employee. I viewed my employment status as a bonus because I had never received a ‘wage’ anyway.

Unfortunately, the business did not survive the ’90’s and nor did the marriage. I’m not complaining, that is just how life is sometimes. I’m sure there are millions of women in the same boat. My rant, if you like, is about an economy that totally ignores the plight of women such as myself.

Let me explain. Superannuation was initially brought in as a means of ‘forced saving’ so the Baby Boomer generation would not be completely reliant on the government pension to survive in retirement. It’s probably not a bad idea, for those who work in corporation jobs, but what of people who own and run small businesses?

If you think my description of working in a family business is unusual, think again. There are a lot of people in my generation who never bothered about superannuation, or the lack thereof, because we naively assumed that we would strike it rich and be rolling in cash for our old age. Of course we never truly believe in the old age part, but that’s a rant for another day.

So there you have a whole lot of people with little to no super. At this point, my rant is unisex as it applies to men as well as women. But do you remember the part where I talked about working from home while raising my daughter? That is the part where the lot of women takes a nose-dive. By trying to have it all, we end up with no career path and no continuity.

Of the two, career related benefits, the lack of continuity is perhaps the most insidious. Back in the ’70s I was registered as a secondary school teacher, but once I became enamoured of computers, I stopped teaching and eventually, my registration lapsed. That should not have been a huge problem, except that about the same time, most government institutions transitioned from paper to digital records. And they made you jump through hoops to update your paper records.

Now when I say hoops, I mean great big world spanning vicious circles. Firstly, I was born in Hungary and came to Australia as a refugee [along with my parents, obviously]. I became an Australian citizen when I was 17 or 18, and I was given a rather lovely, paper certificate as proof.

Unfortunately that certificate, along with all my other documentation, including Hungarian birth certificate, was in my maiden name, but by the time I wanted to re-register as a teacher, all my current ID was in my married name.

Long story short, re-registering as a secondary school teacher was just too hard, so I let it slide. And by the time I had to look at getting a paid job again all my qualifications were years out of date. Caring for elderly parents pushed the continuity of my skills even further. I had kept up with my skills on the computer, but how did I go about proving that I still had skills?

Those of you who have followed some of my more personal posts will know about my efforts to regain recognized qualifications, and my attempts to use those qualifications in the paid workforce. I haven’t given up, but my track record to-date has not been very successful.

So… I’m 62 with some hard earned qualifications, but no job to speak of, and of course, no superannuation. What I do have, however, is the family home. It is my one and only asset, unless you count a 1988 Toyota Corolla. It is what I will have to sell one day to pay for my dotage. Yet now certain politicians are talking about including the family home in the asset test for the pension.

On February 17, 2015, Scott Morrison ruled out including the family home in asset testing, and yet, despite that, speculation is still buzzing around in the media.

Not to be cynical, but given Scott Morrison’s pragmatic, and callous treatment of refugees, and the many back flips coming from this government, I have a bad feeling about this. Pensioners are sitting ducks when it comes to governments wanting to balance the budget.

So I ask myself this question, if I don’t have any superannuation, and may not be eligible for the pension at age 65, just exactly what am I supposed to do to survive the golden years of my retirement?

I should probably have kept this post as a draft but I accidentally hit publish instead of preview. Ah well. I’d still like to know your thoughts.

cheers

Meeks


Apple & Tesla? Yes, please!

I don’t own a single Apple product, and I don’t normally blog about cars, but there’s always a first time for everything. Right?

tesla roadster

Yes, please, because the Tesla Roadster [pictured above] is one of the sexiest cars ever built, and it’s electric [and completely out of my price range!

Also yes, please, because if Apple and Tesla join forces, a prediction made in the link below, I may actually afford to own an electric car [the cheapest one] before I’m too old to enjoy it.

More importantly, yes, please, because I may also have access to a driverless car by the time I shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel of anything that moves!

https://medium.com/@jason/apple-will-buy-tesla-for-75b-in-18-months-544154ecf342

[Apologies – for some reason the link won’t show unless I mess it up with the [red] double quotes. You will have to copy and paste the URL address into your own browser. Just don’t leave in the double quotes!]

So all you Baby Boomers out there might want to have a look at the future that awaits us if the biggest computer tech company in the world joins forces with the most advanced, electric car company in the world.

I, for one, can hardly wait. Yes, please! 🙂

Meeks


Is this the end of Aussie apathy?

revolution picBack in the ’70s, when I was going to uni., we used to bemoan the fact that our parents, and most ‘adult’ Australians, just didn’t care about big, political issues. So long as the economy was ticking along nicely, they were happy to keep the incumbent government in power. For example, Sir Robert Menzies was Prime Minister from 1949 – 1966. That’s 17 years, without a break!

We, however, were more politically aware. We cared. We would hold our governments accountable.

We, of course, were the Baby Boomers, and we did do more than our parents before us, but there were still unspoken codes of conduct for voters and politicians alike:

– A State or Federal government had to be really on the nose [Aussie for really bad] for it to be voted out after just one term [3-4 years],

– Parties did not knife their leaders in the back, at least not once they were in power. That kind of politicking was meant to happen behind closed doors, while the party was jockeying to get out of Opposition.

In short, there was an element of the gentleman’s club about Australian politics. I think we can safely say that old school etiquette is well and truly gone. Or as our much unloved PM, Tony Abbott, once said, ‘dead, buried and cremated’.

In the last four years we’ve seen a never-ending merry-go-round of parties and leaders, all wanting their 15 minutes of fame. But we’ve also seen the electorate throwing its weight around like never before. The voice of the people is loud and raucous, and it’s being heard in high places.

[Sorry about the cliches but you must admit they fit really well just there. ;)]

A lot of the motivation behind the electoral swings is self-interest – middle and lower class [sic] voters are sick of politicians who promise one thing and deliver pain instead. In the past we’d shake our head with a cynical ‘Hah, politicians, what can you expect?’. These days our cynicism has turned to anger, and even if we can’t force the politicians to behave, we know we can pay back some of the pain they give us, and so we do.

So far, this awakening amongst the electorate has not been particularly good for politics because, instead of motivating politicians to ‘do better’, it’s just motivating them to jump faster every time a poll confirms or predicts a slump in popularity.

That is not the way to run a country. But, not knowing, and not caring what the electorate wants is not the way either.

The thing that excites me is that we, the voters, are finally starting to train our politicians. Catering only to the big end of town is not acceptable. Catering only to the unions is not acceptable. Making surpluses on the backs of the weak and needy is not acceptable. Being effing selfish is not acceptable. Being arrogant is not acceptable. Being a professional politician is not acceptable.

We are still a long way from training our polies to be ethical servants of the people, but I think we have made a beginning, and that is worth cheering about.

So if this truly is the end of Aussie apathy then I’m all for it. I’d rather see some chaos amongst the political parties than go back to the polite, but paternalistic standards of the past. Voters unite!

cheers

Meeks


“There is no skeptic at the end of a fire hose”

That line, delivered by Peter Marshall, Secretary of the United Firefighters Union [Victoria Branch] made the crowd at the Climate Change Rally roar its approval, and I yelled right along with them.

Marshall went on to say that in decades past, firefighters would have to deal with just one major fire event every ten years or so. Since 2002 however, there have been NINE major events. They all know that things have changed. They all know that their jobs have become much harder, despite new technology. And they all know that things are going to get even worse if something isn’t done about climate change.

Interestingly, David Packham, an expert on fire behaviour, doesn’t believe the incidence of more frequent, hotter bushfires is because of climate change. He believes it is down to nothing but fuel loads.

Now I have great respect for David Packham, and as a layperson, I agree that fuel loads play a critical role in bushfires, but fuel loads can’t explain the frequency of other, catastrophic natural events around the world. And I do think climate has more than a little to do with the dangers we now face every summer – because I’m old enough to remember the weather patterns we used to have. Maybe some of you will remember as well.

As a child of six I have a very vivid memory of the day the everlasting heat finally broke with a massive thunderstorm. I remember because I, along with my parents, and most of the people on our street, rushed out to dance in the rain. That was in 1959.

Then again at about 16 or 17, I remember lying in bed under the open window, praying for a breath of cool air so I could get some sleep before my exam the following morning. I didn’t get my wish.

The thing to note here is that back then, neither we nor many other people owned fans, much less air-conditioners. Sometimes it got incredibly hot, but most of the time summer was bearable, and going down to the beach was fun.

Maybe I’ve grown soft in my old age, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t survive without cooling of some sort these days. And I certainly worry about bushfires a whole lot more. The world I knew is changing, fast, and the future promises not relief but more of the same.

That fear for the future was echoed by a lot of other people at the rally on Sunday too.

When I realised that I was effectively a roving reporter for my blog, I gathered up my courage and started talking to people. The three ladies in the picture below were all roughly my age, and they were happy to tell me why they were at the rally.

3 ladiespic

One of the ladies talked about her fears for her grandchildren. The other two expressed similar concerns for the future, and were determined to do what they could to ensure that something was done about Climate Change. The sense of urgency was palpable, despite the pristine blue skies and glorious sunshine.

Looking around me I saw  people from every walk of life and every age bracket. If you look closely at the pictures in my previous post, you will see babies and young children, teenagers and young adults, people in their 30’s and 40’s, and lots of people like me. I even saw one placard that read Baby Boomers for Climate Action. Trust me, we Boomers were out in force, and I felt quite at home.

Sadly, a rally of 30,000 people out of a total population of  roughly 4 million is not going to make Tony Abbott lose much sleep. Even if we double that figure to factor in the people who wanted to come but couldn’t, that’s still only 60,000. Again, not enough people power to force any government to rethink its position. That is the bad news.

The good news is that we true believers got to see each other, and the seeing was uplifting. I came away from the rally feeling energized by the knowledge that I wasn’t just some mad dog barking away all by myself. Whether my efforts do any real good is moot, but perhaps the combination of lots of small efforts like mine will make a difference. While there’s life there’s hope. 🙂

And perhaps you out there will find yourselves motivated as well. As one of the speakers at the rally said, if every household in Australia invested in solar power, our reliance on dirty coal would be broken, and we’d save money as well. It’s good to dream. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


%d bloggers like this: