It’s all right being old – though I’m not sure what ‘old’ really means! Have you ever seen drawings of Socrates? He always seems old and that seems an OK by me – wisdom with age. Have I got it? Time will tell! Anyway I think we’re a growing power so it’s good that us golden oldies can have a voice here. Wherever you turn, it seems, you see references to “a growing elderly population” and statements like “older people are living much longer than previously,” so watch out the rest of you, the grey haired army is coming to town! It’s all right, you can make fun of us if you like, but watch out!
I read an article a while back, I acknowledge with a slightly guilty grin, that spoke about the way we live with our mobile phones. It suggested that they are often old fashioned big blocks, with our number Sellotaped on the back – and they are left off! Yes, well, so mine isn’t so old and it’s not a ‘big block’, although I’m going to have to I confess sometimes it used to be off – to save the battery, you know - but I’m getting better! But hey, you’re here on the Internet so you can’t be doing so badly – us silver-surfers have got to stick together! How many descriptions of us people in our twilight years you can spot in this article so far? Twilight years???? My goodness, what a terrible one to finish with! I can’t think of any more for the moment.
As I’ve pondered all these names, it strikes me that society doesn’t know what to think about us. When I was a child, an uncle who was sixty had one foot in the grave and we weren’t surprised when elderly relatives – elderly being over sixty – ‘passed away’. But that has all changed. There is now talk of today’s sixty being yesterday’s forty, today’s eighty being yesterday’s sixty and so on, with many people living well into their nineties if not to over a hundred.
These longer survival rates are often good news, but sometimes not. Many of us now in retirement are fortunate enough to have an adequate income so that we can go on enjoying life – but that’s not true for all of us of course. Getting older means bits don’t work so well as they used to and many of us keep going with a diet of pills – but we keep going. Living longer means we’re also around to contribute to the dynamics of the wider family – grand-parenting has taken on a new lease of life. For many of us, we may no longer be contributing to the economic wealth of the nation directly, but we’re still a valuable resource in terms of family life and support. While we’re fit and able, we see what we can continue to contribute. So here I am an elderly provider of help and support, a provider of security and an open ear. If I earn it, I can be a source of wisdom and insight for the rest of the family. I’m not going to try and be the same as them, because I’m not. I can’t keep up with my sons physically and at times their banter leaves me breathless but, hey, this old codger in the corner has still got it and if they want to take the time, I’m still here for them with something worthwhile to share. So this golden ager ain’t going to go quietly! I reckon I could be in the most fruitful period of my life. Without a job, did you say? Yes, especially without a job. I’ve changed my job for a new role in life. Come with me in these pages and let’s ponder on it together. Be seeing you!
Quote: “Because you are sixty, your friends and family may start looking to you as a source of wisdom and experience. Preserve the illusion and say little.”
(Source: Things to do now that you’re 60)
1. “What did you just call me?”
Rochford Life have provided these pages to boost the egos of those of us of more mature years. Having just described us ‘oldies’ like that, I have to confess I don't like being called ‘old’ especially when it comes in the middle of a phrase “yer stupid old….” yelled by some urchin in an untaxed and uninsured motor who doesn’t understand that I’m being careful when he’s being impatient and dangerous on the road. And no I’m not a grumpy old man!
I suppose that is marginally better than an ‘old fogey’ but not much! If we were in America we might get called oldsters or old-timers but over here it's more likely to be ‘senior citizen’ which has taken over from OAP. The other day I saw us called ‘retirees’! Did you know that October 1st is “Older People’s Day”. Older people? There’s a colourless description if ever you wanted one, but perhaps that’s why they chose it.