Well I suppose they can call us senior citizens, the elderly, old people, whatever, but that doesn’t really describe who we are.
It isn’t fun getting old even though most of us shudder at the thought of going back to our earlier years. We are the same people who rode bicycles, went to school, had heartaches and great loves, raised children, danced, played, stayed out too late, thought we were the wildest and most fun segment of the population.
Now, at times, our bones refuse to cooperate, making all kinds of creaking and cracking noises when going upstairs or downstairs. We take medication for this that and the other and worry that there won’t be enough retirement to see us to the end of our lives. We lose loved ones; feel unnecessary in a culture that values youth and beauty above all. And if that weren’t bad enough, we lose our memory, our teeth and hair and most of us have to figure out how to get by on a fixed income. We lose the strength we used to have but still we feel vital, necessary, know we have a lot to contribute to others and to our culture, wisdom for one, which doesn’t grow out of us like some magical age thing, rather it comes from making lots and lots of mistakes.
We’d like to pass on what we’ve learned but mostly we get treated like we’re daft just because we have a hard time making the body obey. We are like jalopies with Cadillac engines. Our parts are falling off or breaking down but our engines are going strong. We have much to offer but often our children treat us as if we can’t think because we can’t hear as well as we used to or remember things like we did when we were young. That doesn’t mean our minds aren’t sharp, that we don’t want to love and be loved. We do and more.
We recognize how short life is and want to make the most of every day. Sometimes it’s hard when we’ve lost a loved one or had to move, or are ill, or poor. Since I am one of “us” I know what it feels like, and I am here for telephone counseling or office visits. I can help you navigate the “Straits of the Elderly.” We should live life as fully and happily as possible for as much time as we have, and that’s what we want but sometimes we need help to figure things out or to grieve or to get support and suggestions for problems we have.