Sunday, November 22, 2020

Puffy?

Yeah, puffy. You want to make a big deal out of it? No, not me. I was just thinking that it’s an interesting name for a mattress and décor company.

Then I was intrigued by the fact that Puffy just released results from their national sleep survey.
They surveyed over 4,400 adults from all 50 American states, asking them how they were sleeping in the time of Covid.

Surprisingly to me, 74% said they preferred working remotely from home. But, they were going to bed later and less satisfied with the sleep quality. I guess you could say they are a bit stressed out. Millennials have it the worst, as 62% of those surveyed reported higher stress levels while working remotely.

It seems that how you work remotely has a lot to do with your stress level. Baby boomers were working out of home offices, which most likely reflects the fact that they have larger homes. 54% of the boomers surveyed fell into that category, while only 20% of the Gen Z and millennials had designated office spaces. Presumably, the rest were working at the breakfast bar, dining room table or the bedroom. Home office spaces translated into lower levels of stress according to the survey.

Not surprising, 79% of boomers preferred working from home. Well yeah! They have fancy pants home offices. 68% said that their productivity level was higher than when they were in offices.

Only 20% of millennials had a home office and 42% were working in their bedrooms. 62% were feeling more work stress than they did before the lockdown. Keep in mind that these are the “digitally-native” workers who grew up with computers but are struggling with the adjustment. Housemates, young children and limited space are all factors in their dissatisfaction with work-at-home circumstances.

Bottom line, Puffy’s data suggests that sleep satisfaction across all demographics has nosedived. Older adults in particular, while transitioning well to remote work, are not happy with their sleep. Only 27% of those over age 55 were satisfied. Gen Z’ers reported the highest satisfaction (48%) and that appears to correlate with the redecorating they’ve done during the lockdown.

Aha! I think I get it now. Puffy sells bedding and bedroom décor. Better décor — better sleep! We’ll all sleep better now that we know their secret.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.

 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Guilty?


I was reading about retirement the other day. Could mean I’ve been thinking about it. Although now that I’ve read what some people say about retiring, it’s tweaked my contrarian side. One particular writer advised that by retiring, I would be giving a younger person an opportunity to take on more responsibility. Okay, that’s fine by me. They continued by adding that the younger person would get a promotion and make more money. That’s fine as well. Therefore, she/he concluded, retirement is really an act of generosity, so don’t feel guilty about it.

What the hell did he/she just say? Don’t feel guilty about retiring? Nuts to that. Guilt is the last thing I would feel on the way out the door. I’ve been working since I was 12 years old. Helping out in Dad’s business, working summers to pay for college, working in several careers and then co-founding a business that’s about to start its 35th year.

I get that there will be a period of adjustment when the time comes. That’s why I’ve decided to ease out the door by remaining a consultant for a few years. But the pressure to start the day by checking client emails and formulating a work plan will be over. No more reacting to weekend work requests. It will be more about what I want to do that day and having a more relaxed attitude about what needs to get done versus what I’d like to do. The weekdays should melt into the weekend, so that eventually, I hope, I can’t tell the difference.

My Type A personality is not going to give way overnight, but I’m hoping some Type B traits will leach in somehow. At the very least, I’m hoping to have fewer and less frequent To Do lists. Then again, if you have a lot of free time on your hands, a To Do list might be just the ticket.

Guilt? I don’t think so. Paid my dues, put in my time. Soon, most of the time will be mine.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.

 


I


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fake!

It would be one thing if baby boomers read things on the internet and recognized them as fake news, but you have to blame certain politicians for turning everything they don’t want to hear into fake news.


Now for some true news. Guess who the biggest fake news spreaders are? Give up? Baby boomers, my friends, are fertilizing the infosphere with erroneous information at a rate greater than any other demographic. Sad but true, older Americans are more likely to share articles from fake news domains and disreputable sources. Researchers looking at 2016 Facebook posts found little sharing of fake articles excepting persons over 65. The Social Media and Political Participation Lab and Princeton University, found that on average, users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news domains as the youngest age group did.

How do you explain the boomer propensity to share false articles? Perhaps they think naively believe if it shows up on Facebook it must be true. They must not have alternative news sources by which they could fact check what they are reading in order to become more discerning. Another theory is that they are just lazy. They read something that is what they want to believe and have no inclination to follow up to ascertain if it’s true. A third, and more ominous possibility, is that they know it’s false but just want to pass it off as true to piss people off. I could surmise what political affiliation some boomers might have if they fall into this last category, but that just might be fake news as well. Last, but not least, there’s the theory that boomers have just gotten dumber. The bullshit meter just doesn’t work like it used to, sad but too true.

Come on boomers! You’re better than this! You were part of the generation that marched for an end to the Vietnam war. You protested and marched for civil rights legislation. You are supposed to speak truth to power, not share lies and bullshit. There’s enough fakes (people and ideas) in our world right now. Boomers ought to take some pride in having enough sense not to spread falsity and make it worse.

And proud at least to not be as bad as the Russians.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.

 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Losing It

Get rid of it! Let it go. Give it away. Clear it out. Dump it.

How many ways can we say it? It’s time, maybe no better time, to clear out all the clutter and junk you’ve been holding on to since who knows when. Some things may have sentimental value, but when push comes to shove, not that many.

I can hear you now. But these things may come in handy one day and then you’ll be sorry that you got rid of it. How sorry? Like “Oh my God, that would have been perfect for (fill in the blank). Really? Perfect? Will the recognition that you could have held on to it for just one more week, month or year really make you feel better or worse? Or will you be able to just think, too bad, and then move on?

I’m reminded of the t-shirt that had printed on it “Whoever dies with the most things wins.” But what do you win? And besides, you’ll be dead, and everyone knows there are no winners in that case. If you have kids, they don’t want any of the stuff you’ve been saving for them. So that leaves…..who? The people who clean out houses for a living. They are unsentimental pros. You would be better off disposing of your junk NOW than leaving the job to strangers.

Sell it online or donate it to people in need. Either way you will be doing them and yourself a favor. I wish I could go one day without mentioning the pandemic, but if you need another reason to jettison all your flotsam, it’s that a virus could wipe any one of us over 60 types in no time at all. Imagine strangers pawing over the stuff you could not bear to part with, perhaps rejecting it anyway because they already had enough junk of their own. It would be far better to see it go to people in need or those who might actually desire it than seeing it continue to collect dust in the attic, basement and garage.

Once you get in the disposal spirit, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to part with just about anything. In the end, it’s just things. Trust me.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.

 

Uh Oh Spagetti-O


According to the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, boomers are demonstrating greater cognitive decline than earlier generations.

For the cognitively impaired, that means we’re looking at early warning signs of dementia. Boomers start having lower cognition scores than earlier generations at age fifty to fifty-four. We know this because the scores from these tests were compared with those from tests taken by people over the age of 50 in past generations.

This has serious implications for our future mental health.

Every two years, study participants filled out surveys. They also completed a battery of cognitive tests in which they were asked to perform such mental tasks as recalling words they had heard previously, counting backwards from 100 by sevens, identifying objects depicted in drawings and naming the president and vice president.

Sound familiar?

Person, woman, man, camera, TV.

What explains our decline in cognitive function? We eat right, pursued higher degrees, and often have professional careers. The study indicates it may have more to do with loneliness, depression, and psychiatric problems than a deprived childhood. Substance abuse too (think opioids) may be a factor.

A large percentage of boomers also have heart health risk factors, such as obesity, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

In short, a lot of boomers are in lousy physical shape and therefore not in very good cognitive shape.

So it’s time to shape up. Doing nothing will only exacerbate the trend. We need more regular physical activity and pursuit of social relationships. In addition, we need to address underlying mental health issues as well as treat the cardiovascular diseases. For some boomers, even these remedial behavior/health changes may not impede their risk of dementia in years to come.

Person, woman, man, camera, TV.

Oh thank God. I was getting worried. A minute later and I can still repeat those 5 words. I’ve got nothing to worry about.

Unless they give me 5 different words.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.

 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Stoned

 


Be safe. We are in this together. Be kind. Be happy. Stay home. Be the change. Rainbow. Smiley face
. Apparently, the painted stone thing is its own pandemic, but Covid-19 has clearly rocked the trend. Sorry. So many puns, so little time.

Brightly painted smooth stones have been making their way into nooks and crannies for quite some time, but the pandemic has definitely accelerated the trend. Commonly known as kindness rocks, the trend has a strong appeal to children who are fascinated and delighted by the discovery of these painted rocks. It appears that the artists believe we need these signs of positivity in order to keep moving forward and not be discouraged. In these very strange times, there is no argument there. Hence, we find them in garden beds and perched on walls, on library shelves, next to the playground swings, on a beach, and countless more locations.

Perversely, I’m wondering if the stones could be a bit more focused on the baby boomer demographic. Not too late to save. Try Zumba. Clean out the garage. Age in place. Get your will in order. Think about disability insurance. Unload your stuff. Get rid of your landline. Vote for your grandkids. Don’t fear retirement. Hashtag! Stop printing everything out. Lose the ponytail. Get off your ass. Try new things. Watch your weight. Lose the stupid ringtone. Stop judging. Turn the volume down.

You could place these stones outside the gerontologist’s office, inside the library, over by the shuffleboard court, along the walking trail, in the cooking class, on the bus, in the senior center, or near the ninth hole of the golf course. Anywhere that boomers congregate would be a great place to get stoned. I believe they would promote just as much delight in a 70-year old as the kindness rocks do for the 10-year olds.

So it’s time to rock!

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.

 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Calculations

Is it just me or is everyone more calculating? And I don’t mean in the manipulative or devious sense. I mean that we are all forced to analyze and gauge things in the time of Covid. A trip to the grocery store is no longer a jump in the car and drive off proposition. No, that would be foolhardy. A trip to the grocery store must be planned carefully, in order to evaluate the risk level. Can you go between 8 AM and 9 AM? Those are the hours set aside for those over age 65. Is Tuesday less busy than Wednesday? Will all the fresh produce be out at 9 AM or just the tired stuff from the previous day? It’s a lot to decide/calculate.

If the grocery run seems complicated, try thinking about a road trip. Where? Will it be overnight? Where will you sleep? Where will you eat? What can you do when you get there? Will there be social distancing or will you run into loads of maskholes? The days of deciding on the spur of the moment that you want to go somewhere for a mini-vacation or long weekend are just a memory. We can only hope that some day soon we can ponder that possibility again.

Then there’s sharing food. Let’s say you want to bake a pie or cook up a casserole for someone who is unable to get out much. The risk is low but you still might want to wear a mask and gloves while you prepare the food. When it’s time to deliver it, the mask goes back on and the 6-foot rule is in effect. Reusable and washable containers are advised. Ha! Nothing could be easier.

What I would really like to calculate is how many more days and months this pandemic is going to last. It’s a little bit like the inmate marking the days on the cell wall. The difference is that a prisoner has a defined sentence while we deal with the open-ended term. For now, we can only calculate how much longer we’ll be forced to calculate.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.