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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

SENIOR MOMENTUM: A Series of Situations

 A Little Anxiety …

… goes a long way.   The older I get, the more I notice the price it exacts, and the importance of managing it positively.   Yeah.

 One common source of anxiety stress is the prospect of traveling  -- not the fun at the end of the trip, the people and places, grandkids and such!  It’s the complex process of planning, paying, and getting there that has morphed and migrated in ways that can drive you nutz!

Spring and Summer months lure and tempt us to hit the road, hop a plane, or my favorite:  ride the rails!   Just wish it were as simple as it sounds…but lately, it’s not.

Take flying for instance.  Even if one is actually flying for a mere 3 or 4 hours, it takes nearly the entire day to accomplish it!   What once was an hour or so to get to the airport, maybe 25 or 30 minutes to check in and get to the gate, then board and take off in another 10 minutes – has now become an absurd paranoiac circus that includes dressing not for travel, but for the “security process!” and requires 10 – 12 hours from home base to arrival at final destination.

I love to travel!  But to hold onto that love I have had to completely re-invent my approach, and my methods of participation.  I don’t “get ready” anymore, I strategize!

To begin with, has the savvy travel agent who used to know all the routes (and the combinations of modes, and the times and rates, and who willingly communicated with you about it all), just disappeared?  Even if there is a person sitting in front of you or on the other end of the phone, you can bet they are attached to a computer network to which they react – with little power to influence, change, modify, or “create” the dream trip you had in mind.  Basically, the traveler’s options have become a series of multiple-choice scenarios that are ”packaged” solely for the economic convenience and profit of the seller.   (How many times have you heard ” … it won’t let me do that” ?)

I’ll admit that possibly (in some strata above my pay grade) that lovely old world of service and creativity may still exist, but it has been a long time since I have seen it.  I imagine that some may insist “nothing has really changed” … well, I’d bet they have someone else doing the footwork!

But, all the while, help was on the way!  In my wildest dreams, I’d never have thought that qualifying for a disabled parking tag, having arthritic knees, damaged vertebra (and a few other annoying gifts of advancing years) would be the very circumstances that would deliver me from the aggravations of the contemporary flying process!  But, believe it or not, the whole picture changes if you get off that Airporter and go directly to a wheelchair!

Have to admit, the first time I was awash with guilty feelings (for about 3 minutes) as an attendant whooshed me past the lines for check-in, and to the head of the lines for “security check!”  Within minutes we were zooming down ramps and long corridors, with a quick side stop at Starbucks, another for a bag lunch, another for bottled water, and there we were at the Gate!

Correction.  The head of the line at the gate – poised for Priority Boarding!  Not only had my compromised body delivered me from multiple frustrations, but I now was wheeled aboard ahead of the lines, into the empty plane, and had my choice of seating!

As I munch on the stingy snacks (they used to serve meals), I reflect on my earlier frustrations in those twilight years between “ getting older” and “getting disabled,” … and I ponder the ironies of blessings and curses.

Zoë Tummillo is a Business & Marketing Consultant/Trainer/Commercial Writer, dba COMMUNICATION CONCEPTS, in private practice since 1974.   In addition to Commercial work, she writes “Senior Momentum:  A Series of Situations" and essay memoirs of growing up first generation Italian American:  “Pieces of My Path"  To contact her -- email: