- Able to satisfy my addiction to reading
The Internet, a free-English rotating library, and scrupulous spending on Kindle satisfies that need.
- Can use the excuse ‘I’m old’
I flash my passport to healthy young men on crowded trains when no seats are available.
- Don’t have to worry about getting into college or grad school
- Know a lot
How I wish I had understood money, food, health, hormones, and the brain and nervous systems! As well as sexuality; how culture forms personality; and, differences – on all levels – between men and women, as I do now! Living in 10 countries and experiencing Asian, American, European and Middle Eastern cultures have educated me. Plus I’ve read a lot and learned from friends. Additionally, time teaches much.
- Little desire to shop
Overseas, I would take an item from a store’s shelf, hold it in my hand then consider buying it. I added to its cost, its weight, packaging without breaking, and moving expense. Was the object of my desire worth all that? Often, ‘No’. Nowadays, I have what I want and give souvenirs away.
- No awful bosses, hostile working conditions, horrifying colleagues or reluctant student conditions
- No Debt
I never owned a home, so no mortgage. I worked my way through college and borrowed books one semester. No children, no co-signing loans. My VISA credit card kept raising my limit to $10,000. I maxed it to quit teaching by marketing henna-like temporary tattoos. Failed. Going overseas for 10 years, the debt was ‘forgiven’. I paid my next card’s $1,800 limit monthly. Portugeuse banks demand a deposit equal to the limit of one’s credit card. Mine is 500 Euros.
- No need to get up on time nor go to bed before 11 pm
- No looking for the least imperfect man I can tolerate in marriage
Eventually, I realized no man was perfect: I had to choose which imperfections I could live with daily. One man was near- perfect but smoked marijuana. Everyday. Marijuana makes it impossible to write a coherent paragraph for three days. Deal breaker. For men, I chose not to have children. Deal breaker. In my 50s, a friend said, “All men want at our age is only one thing.” I looked at her, “What?” I asked. “A nurse!” Deal breaker.
- No making or grading tests; no millions of minor ethical dilemmas assigning final grades
Teachers agonize over tests while arguing with colleagues who teach the test and prefer multiple choice and true/false easy-to-cheat questions . In Saudi Arabia, administrators instructed teachers to review all tests, raise the grades, and let more students pass. Some teachers suggested a passing grade of 50%. Teachers often agonize between giving a student a B+ rather than an A- or vice-versa. Same for Bs and Cs: Which grade is fair, honest, and most likely to encourage the student without causing harm?
- No SAT, ACT or GRE tests; no midterm and final exams
Just medical exams and morning checking of blood sugar levels to avoid diabetes. Every morning I yearn for anything less than 100!
- No tourist traveling
Many old people like to travel. Not me. Sitting by Trafalgar Square when 19, I labored over the currency exchange. A good tourist has access to huge sums, unlike me. Rather, I lived and worked in countries. This satisfied my passion to learn about human nature and cultures. Being a tourist is easier. Why? Bliss, while enjoying beautiful sites, is ignorance of a country’s dark cultural secrets. Tourists usually do not have to acknowledge or adapt to cultural behavior demands. More basic, my entire life has been lived on minimal funds. The one time I enjoyed being a tourist was riding an elephant in Thailand’s north, while on a visa run for South Korea.
- No wondering what I’ll be when I grow up
From childhood, I planned on being a psychologist. Reagan closed mental hospitals; entry level positions became non-existent. Becoming a teacher was not part of The Plan. It evolved naturally and fulfilled my childhood dream of joining Magellan’s trip around the world.
- Origin of the word ‘old fart’
As people age, their digestive system ages too. It becomes flawed. Like a car that needs a new muffler, it backfires.
- Paid college loans
Worked every semester except my first and last. One semester I had to borrow friends’ books. I graduated with a small amount of debt. I paid some, not all. No one demanded payment. However, when I finally possessed a driver’s license at 28, then a new one in Californian two years later, this raised a banker’s red flag. I quickly paid the debt and its accumulated interest.
- Understand and cope with my genetic flaws
Short, one blind eye, higher than average IQ but less than Mensa, cataracts, kidney stones, diabetes, chronic depression, and a primitive hunter-gather nature to always be on the move.
- Understand why old people talk about illnesses
In college, we endlessly gossiped about our parents. Then teachers, then lovers, and in old age, we talk about what we experience most: sickness.
In conclusion, I’m surprised I’m alive despite my wild life. I’m surprised I can pay for a roof over my head and food on the table. My only regret is to have lived and loved and learned so much, but have few interactions with young people to share my knowledge. For future generations, I better finish writing my third novel, compressing 25 years of overseas living into one book!