The Other I

June 28, 2011

An attack on old age

Filed under: Growing Old — theotheri @ 8:34 pm

This isn’t really an attack on old age.  It’s an attack on the idea of old age that is held so broadly throughout the modern world that people rarely even question it.

Fundamentally, the assumption is that old age is not a positive achievement.  In fact, “you don’t look that old” is considered a compliment.  And promises that various cosmetic products and other youth-preserving strategies will take years off one’s appearance is a major ploy of advertisers.   Similarly, “I’m feeling very old”, or “I’m getting old” are never meant as achievements.

In fact, we are urged to deny that we are getting older.  Old means tired and out-of- contact with the real world, it means forgetful, and maybe kindly but not with a whole lot to contribute.  Most people do not think of old people as ecstatically happy or innovative or creative.

Well, every stage we go through in life has its unique challenges, and old age is no exception.

But old age has its unique potential and delights as well, and I am determined to make the most of them.

Okay, right now it’s pretty easy.  I’m still in good health and my mind still works reasonably well.  I do get tired more easily than I used to, but I’ll be damned if I am going to agree with those people – young and old – that getting old is a drag.

It’s not.  It’s the stage that includes the last years of my life and I’m going to get every bit of living out of them that they offer.  I’m not spending this time wishing I were young again.  I’m not spending it regretting that the past is gone and can never be recovered to be improved upon the second time round.  I’m not going to pretend that I’m younger than I am or hope that nobody notices my greying hair and wrinkles (which I will say I’ve earned).

I don’t find getting old a drag.  I find it exciting and stimulating and challenging, and I love it!

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4 Comments »

  1. I am with you on this one. It annoys me when people lament that their children are “growing up too fast” – when I think of people who didn’t have the chance to grow up, it’s really sad.
    I believe strongly that people should live life to the full at the stage they are at – and not hanker after lost youth – or live in regret about wasted time.
    I am also totally not ageist – there are people who assume they are not invited or not wanted because they think they are too old for various things – I hate that. Just join in. I think I always will, until I can’t.

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    Comment by sanstorm — June 29, 2011 @ 2:30 pm | Reply

    • Right! Thank you for your amplification. Whatever age we are, life is for living today. Not yesterday, not tomorrow.

      Like

      Comment by Terry Sissons — June 29, 2011 @ 8:25 pm | Reply

  2. what i do not miss is acne, dating, whether i am physically attractive or not (never achieved, not worried about now) whether i can prove myself, the shoulda’s, how do i justify my life, childlessness, my non-acceptance of a divinity/higher power/hope. what i greatly appreciate is my slowing down so now i can breathe, take it in, think about things. what i regret, is that i still fall back to old patterns and pass up the opportunity to be, to enjoy me, to enjoy what crosses my path or more positively, to wonder about the paths i am now taking. thanks terry for pollinating. k

    Like

    Comment by kateritek — July 5, 2011 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

    • What a great list! And I can identify with every single one of them. Maybe we should write a book: Why Old Could be a Great Trip.

      Thank *you* for helping me realize being older is even better than I’d appreciated.

      I was talking today to an 85-year-old woman who is in pretty constant pain as the result of severe arthritis in her back. And I asked her about happiness in her old age. She said immediately that yes, it absolutely is the happiest time of her life.

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      Comment by Terry Sissons — July 6, 2011 @ 7:54 pm | Reply


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