Hypatia was the daughter of Theon, a Greek mathematician and philosopher in Alexandria, Egypt. She must have been a remarkable woman (who ever said that women’s lib is a 20th century phenomenon?), that she became the head of the Platonist school at Alexandia around 400 AD.
She also said,
“Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.”
It is not known if she was in her 60s when she said this, otherwise she would have realized that no amount of preparation can make you fully comprehend how it feels to be senior.
Only a senior really knows how it feels to be a senior.
You can prepare your retirement nest egg, where to live or die, the things you want to do, or your will. But you could never prepare how it feels when wrinkles start showing on your face and hands, your lower back and knees start hurting, your sugar is sky-high, and your cholesterol level is in the red.
How can you prepare for the day when you start forgetting where your car keys are, or your glasses? Can you prepare for the day when you suddenly have a stabbing pain on the chest, or are left alone at home because your children have moved out and away, your spouse died or separated?
Though I often experience those things at my age, but deep inside I find it hard to accept the mold society has cast us in. Call it self-denial, but the fact is that I still want to experiment, discover, go places and do things I never did before because of more important responsibilities.
Yet, by and large, society, society treats people like us condescendingly. Society thinks we are too old to do this or that, too frail to move around without help, hard of hearing and can be as blind as a bat at noon.
If only they know how disparaging it is to be treated a little less than we really are.
This perception of what a senior is like was handed down from our parents who treated their parents we treated ours, and how our children are treating us now.
It was not a big deal before – it has always been that way anyway – until we are at the receiving end. And it sucks.
Mass media, online and off, is not helping in any way to dispel this erroneous perception of elderly people.
When seniors hit the news it is about abuse, of being online scam victims, of health and care-giving issues, and other things that depict seniors as feeble, helpless, naïve, and a burden.
The blogging world is no different. Most of the blogs I’ve read are about nursing homes, caregivers, end-of-life stuff, and diseases common to seniors – mostly written by authors a few years short of 60 and know nothing how it really feels like to be one.
There are a few exceptions, though. One is Sixty+Me which writes about elderly fashion, make-up, travel, exercise, diet, and just about anything vibrant and lively.
Written by a woman for women, its articles celebrate the joys of being old, alive and healthy – very inspirational and motivating.
Another is Elaine Ambrose who candidly writes about sex and sexuality among middle-aged women, and Louise Hay, who writes excellent articles about life, happiness, relationships and things uplifting to a senior’s often dour life.
These women know how it feels to be a senior and are regularly writing about it.
The rest are ho-hums.
Young Mind, Old Body:
For me, the life of a senior is like a child in an old man’s body.
And we know what children love to do – to have fun, play games, climb trees, crawl under culverts. They experiment, try new thing, taste anything they can lay their hands on. For them, bruises and cuts are nothing as long as they have fun.
So do seniors…in a different way.
“You don’t stop having fund because you get old, you get old because you stop having fun,” – tiny buddha.
Seniors don’t climb trees (they simply can’t), or crawl under culverts (ouch!), or eat anything within reach (some do, though). But you can see them having a good laugh at parties, on golf courses, during reunions, in gyms, coffee shops and anywhere else elderly people converge.
The guys I sit with in my regular coffee shop never seem to run out of things to laugh about – even at their own gaffes.
Personally, my life as a senior is fun more than in my younger years. I don’t have bills to worry about, my children have been abducted through marriage and are doing well, and I am technically a bachelor. I can come and go as I please, stay late as much as I can, and spend hours on end in my dating site without the prying eyes of a wife.
Occasionally I get to travel and have as much fun as I can.
Yes, there are medical issues and physical limitations but they are for another day to worry about.