Since I qualify as an aging adult, I feel I might be able to shed some light on the truth of aging vs. the myths connected with them. There are many of both. The truth is that our bodies ae disintegrating. We don’t have the flexibility of youth nor the stamina. Our knees are screaming for relief and falling down occurs not because we’re clumsy and addled, but because those joints happen to give out from time to time. Our skin is drying out. Isn’t it interesting that the commercials for creams to prevent aging are being used on women under 21?
One common myth that many young people consider as truth is that all old people think about is dying and going to heaven. I guess it’s partly true if you believe that this is not our eternal home. I happen to be one of them, so I’m looking forward to heaven, but I’m not going to stop living while I inhabit the earth. God doesn’t want me to do that either.
As we age, our conversations change. Our opinions on politics and the condition of the world may not be popular, but often make a lot of common sense – of which there may not be a lot of anyway. Instead of talking about how many miles we’ve walked, we tend to discuss our bathroom habits. We talk about our aches and pains more often than we should. We dwell on unimportant things and make them into life shattering issues. Part of this is because we have more time on our hands. There is a solution to that too. Do something! Get involved in a health club, a senior activity center, a volunteer position where you can encourage others. Just because we have more time to think about ourselves, we don’t have to. Being with others, helping them in some way, (even a word of encouragement or wisdom) bringing them lunch or better yet take them out to lunch. Meet your friends for coffee and conversation. Take up a new hobby. Investigate classes for art, weaving, theatre, writing or any of the activities you never had time for before.
Our bodies will expire someday, just like the salad dressing in the refrigerator. We don’t know when that day will be, but while we’re here we can make a difference. Don’t ask us to be an activist, although I know a few seniors who are still very voracious in that area. Don’t expect us to give up watching “Jeopardy,” or playing cards. We deserve those tiny pleasures. As young adults, look ahead to what it will be like for you. Would you want to be cooped up in a nursing home just waiting to die? We can be vital until our dying breath. Let us be. Encourage us to be. Sometimes we forget what our motivation is in life. I believe that we all serve an active purpose for living. We can change minds, we can listen and give advice, we have a lifetime of experience we can share that might make someone else’s journey a little easier.
We’re all in this together is a much overused term today, but it’s true. If we can find a common denominator, we can move mountains. We can change the course of history, help others, and most importantly – LIVE!