I skipped my 50th birthday last year.
It snuck up on me anyway.
I had planned to walk the Camino de Santiago. The centuries old pilgrimage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostelo in Galicia, Spain, is well known among devout Catholics.
Emilio Estevez made a movie about it starring his father, Martin Sheen. I don’t know how many watched The Way, but, even as a lapsed Catholic, I found it very moving.
The full trek on The French Way takes about a month, but I figured I could manage one of the shorter hikes from Leon, Spain or up the coast of Portugal. I certainly had enough vacation time saved up.
I calculated I would need about $2500 for airfare and incidentals (pre-inflation numbers). When I started to plan the trip in 2019, the economy was good, my car was paid off and I had no debt apart from college loans. I had plenty of time to build a small nest egg.
Little did we know that the ruling class had other ideas.
By the time my 50th rolled around, the market was tanked (Let’s Go Brandon) and people like me weren't going to be travelling any time soon.
We were lucky to have a job and enough funds to pay for $4 a gallon gas to get there.
I ignored my birthday. What was there to celebrate?
I feel differently this year. My arthritis may be driving me nuts, but my lungs are in good shape since I no longer get the flu shot. I am also not dead or damaged from the Covid injections (it was worth losing my job over that).
I may be broke (seems to be the default setting for me), but I don’t have cancer, multiple sclerosis, a heart condition, inflammatory bowel disease, disintegrating bones or no immune system to speak of.
It could be worse. I see it every day. My patients have spent their entire lives doing dirty, tedious, dangerous work and they are falling apart. Many would like to retire but can’t afford to. Others will be forced onto disability because of illness.
All we want is to be able to rest on our laurels for a few years before we croak. Is that too much to ask? A small house or apartment, time to visit our kids, a weekend at the beach?
But the ruling class still has ideas.
It is not enough that they got paid to stay home and pretend to work for over two years. They have managed to start another useless war and openly condone the murder and mutilation of children and the indoctrination of young adults with screwed-up, luxury beliefs about climate, race and gender.
They continue to profit while decimating what is left of our finances and our health.
Who knows what more nonsense they have in store for us?
They won't be satisfied until they blast us back into the Middle Ages, trapped in our 15-minute cities with no hope of a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to a holy site.
It is up to us, the few who haven't lost their minds to hypochondria (or the will to live as free men and women), to defy them.
And, before I get too decrepit, I will find a way to walk the Camino.