CAN YOU SAY “ELDERLY”?
Webster’s Dictionary describes “elderly” as: “approaching old age; rather old”. But, hey, what does Daniel know? How about this description—from people who haven’t even experienced such a milestone:
*Over the hill
*Out of touch
Well, now, just because I’m 80 (for another couple of months) I’m not ready to wave a white flag—you know—give up! We “elderly” are completely misunderstood. So misunderstood.
I prefer to think of myself as an 18 year old with 62 years of experience! A person who has gained wisdom over the years (along with a few—or a lot of—pounds). Listen up: attaining “elderly status” is a bit like fine wine…we all know wine is best when aged.
By the way, I’m sick and tired of watching commercials featuring young women (girls!) applying “wrinkle cream” on smooth, UN-wrinkled faces! It’s downright insulting. We all know there’s no cure for crow’s feet and facial lines (outside of plastic surgery). Out of reach for most of us, of course.
And, why, oh why, can’t we ever find trendy clothes that actually fit? Still, so what if some of us choose to purchase those elastic-waisted pants….or anything stretchy?! Give us a break, folks.
And, don’t get me started on the shoes now gracing our closet shelves—I know; we no longer strut about in those beautiful 3-inch heels we once wore almost daily (they’re still in my closet and I look at them longingly, picturing myself a svelte age 40 again), but must our only choices be practical, brown shoes? Brown and tan are NOT good colors for our increasingly colorless skin tones.
The worst part of aging, though, is being stereotyped….as though we have nothing left to offer, that our ideas are all “old/out of date”…that we’re invisible. But, not all older adults are dependent on others or in need of help (yet). Not all of us are retired, either.
What about those older/“activist” types who serve in a variety of ways? It could be at Walmart…or in hospital settings, or even ushering at church. Don’t dismiss us because we move more slowly. We want to feel useful! See. Us. Please.
But, enough complaining; it’s time to look on the bright side (there’s a “bright side”?) Well, yes, I think so….umm, give me a minute.
So, here’s my take: We can’t change how our bodies look as we age, so we can (must):
*Be open to change—yes, really
*Be less critical
*Smile more (in spite of pain in our hips…or… everywhere!)
*Be grateful for having reached this stage of life
*Reach out to others more…and more
*Write notes, make phone calls
*Listen to music
*Accept that we’re never going to turn back the clock
*Embrace relationships, especially with God
*Be satisfied with what we have, not what we don’t have
Remember the words of Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
And, don’t forget Shirley McClain’s bawdy rendition of a not-to-be-forgotten song, asserting that: “I’m Still Here!”
Yeah, we are.
Mary A. Smith