May 10, 2013

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

For me there are a few phrases that bring back strong memories of the 1960's and early 70's: "if it feels good, just do it,"  "sock it to me," and "Sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll." This last one was meant to convey the free and open attitude embodied by the newly energized, British-led music invasion and the free-love, pot-smoking message conveyed by much of that music.



Haight-Ashbury, love-ins, the peace sign, The Vietnam War protests...the list is endless. As a rock and roll radio DJ of this era I was exposed to more than my fair share of this lifestyle. While my conservative friends of today might be surprised at this revelation, I was a product of the 60's, hanging out with recording artists, single, and tasting from the banquet of life.

Luckily, I woke up to the risks I was taking and stopped sometime around my mid 20's, about the time I met my wife-to-be. The thrills were gone and the lifestyle no longer satisfied me.

Flash forward almost forty years (oh my heavens...really?). The phrase sex, drugs, and rock n' roll has a somewhat different meaning to us today. A post from April, Sex: At Our Age? After Retirement?, took a look at the changes in attitudes and expectations of this rather important part of human relationships. Studies show that healthy adults can anticipate maintaining a sexual life into the 7th or even 8th decade of life. No longer a "test" of performance or virility, sex becomes just one part of an overall, mature, intimate relationship with another person. Usually it is no longer the main course, but part of a well balanced diet.

In the 60's and 70's drugs, not unlike sex, were for recreational purposes. Many of us were not immune to the allure of marijuana, hash, or even LSD. I must quickly add that I never tried, nor had any interest in LSD. But, unlike Bill Clinton, I did inhale the other substances. The most profound effects were sleepiness and the munchies. 

Today, drugs mean pills to help me sleep, battle allergies, or the stiffness that comes from arthritis. For my age (64 today!) I take fewer pills than many of my peers. I am more likely to down a handful of vitamins and minerals to keep what is functioning in working order.

Rock N' Roll used to be the central core of of my life. As a DJ I was exposed to music all day, everyday. Except when I was asleep, rock music was always playing. Four to six hours a day I'd be in a small radio studio, music blaring at full blast. At home a Jethro Tull or Beatles album would immediately be started upon my return to my apartment. Since my roommate was also a disc jockey, we were never not talking about or listening to the latest hits. Rock music paid my bills.

Today, rock n' roll is about memories. When I want to relax I will put on classical or solo piano music. Occasionally during a weekend of house cleaning, a Beatles, Beach Boys, or Chicago CD will be cranked up. The RV was stocked with dozens of CDs for the 3 week trip we just ended. But, music, in any form is no longer the constant companion it was. 

Once a week I do take part in a ham radio gathering of people who like to discuss 60's music and television shows. One fellow is near Washington, D.C., another in Omaha, still another in Indiana, and a handful from Tucson, Prescott, and Phoenix. We have a great time trying to answer rather obscure trivia questions. Because of my former profession I have an unfair advantage, so I usually answer last. It is fun and I continue to learn something new most weeks.

Sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll: a simple phrase that captured much of what I remember about my early adulthood. Isn't it interesting that, with a very different interpretation, the same words continue to resonate today.




Today is my 64th birthday. My first Social Security check gets deposited in my account next month. I'm celebrating by getting a new smartphone. The old one has a crack across the screen when I dropped it on the bathroom floor. Not as fascinating as my life once was, but that's the way it is.


51 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Bob. Ain't nostalgia fun? But let's still revel in the current "Golden Years". Be well.

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    1. Absolutely, Steve, my "Golden Years" are now. Those early times were great fun and gave me lots of memories. But, it was a young man's game.

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  2. Happy Birthday Bob and many more.

    A local dj had a saying back in the 60's and 70's that I like a lot more than s,d &rr.

    Blue Skies, Green Lights and Peace!

    Wishing you all of those.

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    1. I've never heard that expression before but it sounds like the 60's!

      Thanks, Cindy.

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  3. "Groovy"post....Happy Birthday, Bob! Put on whatever music venue makes your heart sing today and do the "Birthday Dance of Joy"! Isn't life a hoot!!!!

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    1. Here's a scary fact: I find myself listening to the "beautiful music" channel on XM radio (Escape). My career and first blush of success began with "dentist office" or "elevator music" and I still find it relaxing.

      I'm quite burned out on the 60's and early 70's music, as you might imagine. Playing that music over and over for a living has made it hard to enjoy much of it just for fun.

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  4. Have a Happy Happy Birthday! Live on the edge, have 2 pieces of cake! Cindy

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    1. That would be just like my dad. He lives for the desserts.

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  5. Happy BIrthday Bob! I hope you and Betty enjoy some fun activities and definitely some of that CAKE! Yep! The 60's and 70's are cool memories.. we lived through so much history!! And we're still making some!

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    1. Thanks, Madeline (and Ken). I'm still making lots of memories that are very different from those of the 60's and 70's.

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  6. Happy Birthday to you, and congratulations on entering the world of Social Security! That's probably the only thing we're looking forward to about getting older!

    You made me realize that increasingly I likewise prefer silence. The one big exception is when I'm in my convertible driving with the top down. The louder the better then!

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    1. Silence in today's world is a rare commodity indeed. As our friend, Galen Pearl notes often in her blog, silent meditation is so important to the proper functioning of your mind and creativity.

      In your case (and Mike's, too) that silence allows you to dream up all sorts of new vacation trips!

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  7. Wow! Congratulations & ironic thought......I'm the reader in California who just turned 64 in April.....& I work up this morning thinking I'd find out when your 64th birthday was/is. I'm not sure that is ESP, but it was funny.

    Thank you SO much for your blog! I have shared it with friends, some of whom are concerned about retiring & you have been an invaluable part of my steering my way through the beginning retirement years. I really enjoy connecting with you, since blogging is much more personal than just reading a book.

    pam

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  8. Happy b-day! You might want to consider using Ting (http://www.ting.com) for all your mobile phone needs. The non-subsidized phones cost more, but you can more than make up for that in savings depending on your usage patterns.

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    1. Thanks for the birthday greeting. I just got a new 4G phone from Verizon and so far am quite pleased. I like the ability to use it as a mobile hot spot when I'm at an RV park with less-than-acceptable WiFi.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. Betty and I hope to have the chance to see you and Art in August during our Portland jaunt.

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  10. Happy Birthday Bob! Talk about a flashback - your article rings true to the life I led back in the day. It was a great time, a fun time, but as you say we mature and here we are today. And no complaints! We gotta love the time we have and love the one we're with (sound familiar?). Enjoy your birthday and please continue lighting up the days of we readers with your right-on posts. ~ Dave

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    1. Thanks, Dave. And, best of luck with your excellent new book. I hope to have mine on Amazon and this site sometime next week.

      There are two songs that have become more meaningful to me over time: Wasted on the Way by CS&N and Nick of Time by Bonnie Raitt. The lyrics now ring very true.

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  11. Happy 64th! Glad you made it that far.

    We had similar experiences in the drug scene and grew out of it at about the same time. Interesting era but if I had it to do over I would probably change a few things. As for the late 60s, early 70s music, it is still what I primarily potential to. Give me the Allman Brothers, the Dead, Derek and the Dominos, Santana, Hendrix, any of the greats over any of todays pretenders. Even "Aqualung" still sounds great after all these decades!

    Enjoy reaching a significant milestone,.Bob. Here's to the next.

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    1. My problem to that music was over-exposure. I guess it would be like having a job as a chocolate taster as a young man. At some point you'd want anything but chocolate!

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  12. Happy Birthday!

    What is with people taking their phones into the bathroom?

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  13. Happy Birthday, Bob!

    Don't worry, we still need you and we'll still feed you!

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  14. Happy Birthday!! About the phone--at least you didn't drop it in the toilet, like Lily did! Hope you and Betty have a wonderfully fun day!

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    1. My youngest daughter did that. It is not at all good for electronics!

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  15. First of all Happy Birthday. Enjoy the day with drugs (aspirin, mulch-vitamin, Omega 3, or what ever is your favorite). At least you experienced the 60s. I went from HS in '62 to the army and then to marriage in '69. I was busy being an adult the entire time.

    Warren

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    1. I took a 6 month break right after college graduation from the fun stuff to complete my basic and AIT with the Army for my 6 years of reserve duty. Then, I was none too happy to trade tie-dyed shirts for Army fatigues. But, I'm glad I did it. That stint helped me grow up.

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    2. Happy Birthday!

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  16. Happy Birthday Bob.
    My husband has many fond memories of sex, drugs and rock and roll.i love the stories. The funny thing is my kids think I was the wild one growing up. BaHaHa!

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    1. The first time I shared some details of my past along with pictures of my radio days (hair to my shoulders), I think my kids were in either shock or denial.

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  17. Have a very Happy Birthday Bob!!

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  18. Happy Birthday Bob! I once told my children that there was absolutely NOTHING on this earth they could do during their college years that I had not done (with the exception of drugs and such that did not even exist then).

    Of course now that I am in Colorado, edible pot for the knee issue-by prescription no less-is a possibility. I'll let ya know.

    Oh and I also like a modicum of quiet. the heck with the music, whats with the having the tv on all day even when people aren't watching it.

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    1. Rocky Mountain High takes on a whole new meaning doesn't it!

      I trust you are adjusting to your relocation from Texas to the Denver area. Now that it has stopped snowing and the weather has turned pretty, I imagine you are itching to explore your new home.

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  19. Music stopped in the 60s and 70s for my husband.

    What popped into my head while reading your post was "don't trust anyone over 30." How annoying in retrospect.

    Happy birthday!

    P.S. Think there's enough interest or material in a post about joint replacements? My husband had a knee replaced this past Monday and is doing much better than I did with mine. We both plan to have our other knees replaced this year, plus an unfortunate bike "incident" got me a shoulder replacement. Ouch.

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    1. For me, the music didn't stop as much as I became over-dosed on it.

      Interesting about the body part replacement question. The comment just above yours from Barb talks about a knee issue. A good friend of ours from Tennessee had one knee replaced last year and the other one this coming week.

      Add to that your various knee replacements and your shoulder issue, and yes, there might be a post in in somewhere.

      In the meantime I am walking slowly and carefully. I'd like to avoid what seems to be a common operation nowadays for as long as possible.

      Question: does anyone get through this stage of life without a knee replacement? They seem about as common as having one's tonsils out used to be.

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    2. I'll add here that I have chosen NOT to have a replacement and will be writing about it in the next few days.......both choices are valid but I did some research and decided to go without it. Have you thought about replacement up to this point? (not to go off topic completely)

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  20. Just to clarify my husband rarely listens to any music from the 80s to the present day! He's hopelessly stuck in those two decades.

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  21. Barb? If it's not too personal, is your knee bone-on-bone? I'll watch for your blog post but I believe your blog is one of many that I cannot respond to for whatever reason.

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  22. Feel free to reply as as anon if it lets you...i thought anyone could respond

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  23. When I was doing research for my blog, the # one theme bb were talking about was sex and relationships. Some things from the sixties have changed, but some haven't

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    1. Relationship problems or strengthening is a hot topic for me as well. Retirement can place quite a strain on a marriage or committed relationship.

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  24. Steve in Los AngelesSun May 12, 01:47:00 AM MST

    Happy Birthday, Bob and many, many more!!!

    Congratulations on getting your first Social Security benefit payment soon! I will be waiting until I celebrate my 70th birthday (as long as I remain healthy), which is somewhat more than 12 years and nine months from now, to begin my Social Security benefits. Of course, I will begin Medicare when I celebrate my 65th birthday.

    All my best to you and Betty!
    Steve

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Steve. Even though I've been retired for over a dozen years, I will feel "officially" a retired person when that first SS check lands in the bank account next month.

      My "bridge" investment account that I designed to carry me from when I stopped working in June 2001 until next month worked out perfectly. It will be empty next month when SS and IRA withdrawals start.

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  25. Cari in North TexasSun May 12, 12:05:00 PM MST

    Happy Birthday, Bob! Thank you for sharing your life with us as we travel this road to/of retirement.

    I turned 60 last October and started getting my military pension check. I feel as you do - now I feel "officially" retired. Even though I'm still working part time, I have the option to quit, which is a nice feeling. I'll qualify for early SS in a couple of years, which will really be nice!

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    1. Betty is still a little less than 7 years away from her full retirement age. But, then comes the joyous day when she starts getting her SS check! We'll take the 50% spousal benefit since her own amount would be about 1/3 as much.

      Let's hope our buddies in Washington haven't somehow totally mucked it up by then.

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  26. A slightly belated happy 64th. Now that you are a fully mature adult, you can look forward to many more years of expounding wisdom. Cheers.

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