Thursday, January 7, 2016

Life as an Old Foggy

Why oh why can’t old people stop acting like old people?  If you’re old, you’ve felt this condemnation.  If you’ve ever been young, you’ve thought that thought. 

You want some old? Well babe you’re getting a dose of old today:

An older person may look grumpy because those face muscles become more lax and the sides of their mouth relax downward.  “Frowning on the outside – smiling on the inside.” 

No one, and I mean NO ONE, voluntarily decides to have his or her mind and body get old.  Even the most health conscious person will ultimately loose the aging battle.

My Dad, when he was in his 90s, used to say he wasn’t forgetful as much as he had 90 plus years of information in his head and it took longer to sort.  Loved this truth.

Bodies and the organs within will eventually wear out from use.  It’s how everyone dies.  It’s not about how inconvenient it is for you.

As any employee at a nursing home will tell you, old folks not only had a life but most had fabulous experiences.  They simply need someone to care enough to ask and listen.

It’s not about buying or praying ourselves into Heaven. God sometimes waits to reveal how stupid we’ve behaved until we can process it better and understand the consequences of our actions.

All little kids want a pet to snuggle.  All young parents love snuggling their new babies.  All grandparents are snuggling machines.  The snuggle urge doesn’t go away even when there’s not a single smuggler left in the family.  Old people have pets – it fills the void.  If their pets are creepy rejected old dogs and cats - there’s symbolism at work.

Most old people are kind.  It’s why they are so easily prayed upon by scammers.  It’s why they spoil grandchildren.  It’s why they pray for you and your family.  It’s why they keep that stupid trinket.  Value and emulate their kindness trait, it makes a better world.

There are mean old people just as there’s mean young people.  It’s always a choice no matter the age.

All people are surprised on the day when someone first calls them  “elderly.”

A girlfriend said she would never marry again because sex wasn’t all that important anymore.   Unless Sam Elliott asked her then she’d rethink the situation.

Most grandparents would have quickly and firmly exchanged places with a child who died.  That’s some serious kind of love.

We’re all surprised when we realize we’ve collected too many cottage cheese containers.  I used to ask my dad for a grocery sack full each time I visited.  I’d toss them in a dumpster on the way out of town. He was a product of the depression and I respected his thrift.  He simply needed a little help with the cottage cheese container situation.

Our collections are memories and not just stuff. To really care, ask for the stories behind those things.  Most old folks die with those stories never told.

The most independent of old people are the hardest to care for by their families.  We get that.  What you need to get is we wouldn’t have lived this long had we not been independent and strong.  Pray that you inherited that strong tendency which will guarantee irritating your kids, too.

It’s amazing how American society has embraced loving every human difference except the one we all will eventually have: aging.

If an older person is critical of you because you’ve chosen to not work, not parent your children, not accept responsibility for your actions and expect the rest of society to shoulder your load – get a grip.  You will never be respected for your lack of moral courage by a generation who stepped up to the plate of responsibility even when it was agonizingly hard.

Old people often are the most patriotic of citizens.  It’s a part of their core value system because they had family and friends willingly die to protect our freedoms.  They know people who live with the nightmares of war and yet they choose to quietly remove their hat in front of a flag without any more fanfare than their own silent memories.   

The only hope for many impoverished, single parent, no parent or violent neighborhoods is for seniors to teach values, respect, common sense and to educate.  Help those grandparents who are taking on these monumental responsibilities.

Old folks can be critical.  That person may simply be a judgmental old grouch.  More likely they have experienced the consequences of mistakes and so desperately want you to avoid what they know will be the outcome.   It’s called caring.

Speaking of old grouches:  It takes real effort to not be grouchy when life has dealt you a bad hand, you’re in some kind of physical or emotional pain, tomorrow will be as empty as today or you’re treated with no respect.  Old grouches need love, too.      

If this article does nothing else, I hope it encourages understanding.

II Corinthians:  (16) "So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  (17) For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison."  

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