November 08, 2012

Getting Old - #2

The idea that you should get old is actually a collection of ideas… cut your hair because long hair is only for young girls… it’s okay to gain a few pounds, and a few more, and more… wrinkled skin is inevitable... your eyesight should fade… a leaky bladder is acceptable… it’s normal to be hard of hearing... it's okay to feign poor hearing when you want to ignore people… you can’t lift anything too heavy… you can no longer jump down from a ladder… you can’t climb a fence or a tree anymore… you don’t dare run because of the leaky bladder and the possibility of hurting yourself… you're too old to go skipping along the sidewalk... if you fall, you should expect to break something… fatigue is normal… you don’t need to learn anything new… you’re too old to go to school… you can’t master new tools or technology… you don’t have to understand new forms of money and finance… you needn’t understand the daily business lingo because only the kids use it… you should expect to retire and not have to work anymore… you don’t have to contribute to the world any longer because you already did your share… someone should take care of you when you no longer feel like taking care of yourself… you can’t drive a car because your reaction time is too slow and your eyesight is bad… it’s socially acceptable to repeat the same story over and over… it’s okay to spend the majority of the day napping… being off-balance is normal for old people… you don’t have to walk because now they make scooters to help you get around… a bath once a week is okay because you’re not going anywhere special… housekeeping is not important and takes too much energy and movement… your health will go downhill… you’re not confused, it’s the world that has gone crazy… you’ll end up in a nursing home… If you accept any of this without question, you already have one foot in the grave. You are choosing the path your life will take without examining your choices. The most common comment from old folks is that 'the world is falling apart' when the truth is 'their old world is falling apart' mostly because they are not maintaining it any more. The old world falls apart because of everything listed above... retirement, fatigue, failing to contribute, repeating the same old stories, refusal to learn new tools, technology, or forms of finance, etc. We need a new cultural norm that leads to spry, involved, and powerful elders.