Sunday, May 31, 2015

The older and the wiser

Most people do not want to hang out with older people. That is, the 55+ community. Why is that? To begin with, I suppose it scares them. Most people can't face the grey hair, the lightly folded skin, and all the other little details that follow along with time and experience. The next problem is, it can be hard for many people to relate to someone 20, 30, 40 years older than themselves. The music, clothing, and even speech is very different. Most people in their 60s don't even think to use words like "awesome" or "cool" unless something is beautiful beyond belief or the weather is a bit chilly. And, finally, most people at that stage of their lives are not clubbing and drinking and doing everything in their power to evidence that they are in fact young. If you've read my previous posts, you know how I view young people who drink excessively to prove a point.

But no, most middle-aged people have finally settled into their skin, their age, and their life. Of course, some are sickeningly desperate to stay youthful, but the best older people are letting life lap over them.

This may be why I enjoy the company of people who have crossed that line and entered into a happier new existence. They have the chance to live again in a state where they embrace the world and themselves. They can view their life choices, mistakes, regrets, self-hatred in a open way and realize that it was never worth it. Not to mention, people who are in their 50s and up at this time were young during one of the best eras in history. That is, they were hippies or yuppies, they were soldiers  or draft dodgers, they saw Jerry Garcia alive, and they didn't even miss Nixon in office! Lucky.

Of course there is plenty we younger-folk can learn in books. Videos and books and collections, but there is no way of competing with those who experienced all these things for themselves. Sure, in 30 years I can tell kids about 9/11 and, um, what else do we have? Hurricane Sandy? Eh. Spice Girls? Meh. Lollapalooza? Never been. The fact is, I am not ashamed to say that I feel 900% more safe, comfortable, and happy when in a room full of a 60-somethings than I do surrounded by people who are in their 20s, self-conscious, and judging everyone around them. And, yes, old people can be cruel and judgmental, as well. Obviously, there are flaws in my argument. However, I know from my experience, and within the people I associate with, clothing and hairstyles and those silly little things we all do but are ashamed of don't matter as much! They've seen it all before! They recognize that we're all a little weird and gross and embarrassing, but also magnificent.

As we always hear, being old is hard, but it's better than the alternative. The fact is, people in their 80s and 90s are facing the possibility of death everyday. That's the most metal thing a person can do: face death every time you wake up. You look it straight in the face and say, "Well? What's it going to be today?" If you can deal with this, you are definitely worth knowing and hearing.

Maybe it helps that I am not scared of aging. I am extremely enthusiastic about each day making me move forward just a little bit. I am not trying to rush through my young days. I'm not rushing it and taking it for granted, but considering how youthful people in their 50s and 60s can be, I really don't think it'll be so bad. Once upon a time, being 50 was the end of it all. Give up now and surrender everything, you're done. Not any longer! With surgery and medicine and healthy living, 50 is just a drop in the bucket!

Just remember, you'll want to fit in and be loved when you're older, why not learn now how to do aging right? You can be the old grump full of regrets and woes about growing older, or you can accept the inevitably and romantic decline of it all. So, grab an old person and learn what you can. Appreciate what they can offer. You might be surprised how much you enjoy it!

No comments:

Post a Comment