Keep your counsel
friendship helps us flourish
We are generations who live for justice, peace and togetherness. The elder among us elders, who fought and worked through WWII, are passing on, but we who marched in Selma, sang in the streets of Los Angeles and chanted in Chicago, who know what one means by 'Paris '68' – we are moving in large numbers into our 60s. Aging will never be the same.
We are also the generations of aggressive champions of the cult of individuality, crafters of Reaganism, leaders in the destruction of the compassionate state and architects of Ameria's fiscal collapse. Generations of paradox, but on all sides with the sense we can make a difference.
Not 'used to make a difference', but do still. Getting older with Hiv is no reason for us to stop – rather a reason to keep on. Look at what the Hiv generations have accomplished:
✘ Mobilization overcomes danger. The Aids ribbon gives new life to campaigns against breast cancer and HepB, Vietnam marches give rise to CodePink. Working together makes progress; getting old with Hiv we need to be together, to be public, to wear our many ribbons with pride.
✘ Awareness is empowerment. If ignoring makes it go away, we'd live in a perfect world. When any of us experiences despair, injustice, confusion or enlightenment – and shares it, that's energy for all to move forward. Awareness opens the door to human ingenuity. Otherwise? Nada.
✘ Research fuels progress. Curiosity about how anything really is, how we feel it, how we cope, why it matters, is the first step in figuring out how to live better, happier, longer. We're on the front lines, care givers and elders creating new paradigms from old.
✘ Compassion is strength. What we do for ourselves works here and now; what we do from compassion for others echoes across the globe and fuels decades of change. This is a lesson we have, once again, to teach the world, as caregivers, as patients, as humankind.
Challenges become more personal. Life goes better together, but friends die or move away, we move, we have less movement. Funny how days seem shorter when one sleeps less. It's easy to drift into isolation. A prescription:
✘ Get busy. Invent something to do. Volunteer. Join a reading club or rowing club or flower club. Help out at the library. Visit old people. Anything is better than sitting around.
✘ Get help. When you can't figure out to do what you want, have the life you are working toward, find assistance. It comes in all forms, groups, clinics, therapists, benefits counselors, visitors, bridge friends. Don't count on the stiff upper lip. It ruins your smile.
✘ Help others. A good way to get help, actually. Through lighting others' lives, light falls on our own. It's all a team effort. Build a team.
✘ Be a force for change. Take no easy answers unless they work. Pay attention. Find out about people, situations, solutions that strike you as strange – they could provide answers you need.
One way to keep moving forward is advocacy groups like NEAHOF, the sponsors of this site. Others are all around you. Enjoy yourself. No. More.