Almost every day I see someone recoil at the word OLD. (i.e. “I’m not 60 years old, I’m 60 years YOUNG.”) When I pull up social media I am growing weary of seeing articles like “If you are over 40 stop wearing this!” or my favorite “Make-up habits that add years to your face!” popping up on my news feed. And forget about finding a birthday card for someone over the age of 50 that doesn’t elicit the grim reaper, diapers, make seniors some overly-obnoxious clichés, or have the pallor of a funeral pillow.
Ugh. Enough already.
Why does ageism seem to be one of the last acceptable “isms” in our culture? And, for that matter, what is exactly is so wrong with being old?
Ok, I get it, as the years go by we may develop chronic health issues, our joints will probably begin to revolt over the most mundane activity and silvery streaks pop up more frequently in our manes, but we can adjust. There are plenty of resources out there to accommodate all of these newly acquired challenges. It is possible to still have a satisfying life when you are old.
In Gerontology we learned that middle-aged folks spend more time contemplating and worried about death, and the so called “horrors” of aging, far more than their older counterparts. Actual seniors tend to focus on things that truly matter to them…they pluck out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. They clear the clutter, whether it be physical or emotional things that clog up our mind and soul. Think of it like this, old age is a time to become who you always wanted to be, but felt like you couldn’t because of financial, job or family constraints. What a freedom!
As we age, we become more of who we are…kind of you in a concentrated form! If someone is grumpy at 80 there is a good chance his twenty-year old self would have been the same way, but society would have accepted his grumpiness and given him a free pass as a young person. See a senior that loves to give back and volunteer? I bet if you peak back into their thirties you would see them stepping up to help when needed. When you hit 60 or 65 you don’t just BOOM become a totally different person, is my point.
Personally, I can’t wait until the day I actually have time to volunteer for local causes. To have days where I literally sit around in my pjs and not worry about “work stuff” or what the kiddo is demanding from me. What bliss to be able to meet friends on the spur of the moment for coffee, or more importantly a meal of some sort! How liberating to speak my mind and not worry about professional repercussions. Just think of it?
I don’t know about you, but old age sounds pretty incredible to me.