I find it so fascinating when people are irritated or made uncomfortable (to say the least) by the idea that they are old. What is so bad about being old? At many of our jobs we swear by written and unwritten rules of Seniority, but we dread reaching our XXth birthday. We should be proud to be old! If a 35-year-old parent knows soo much more than his or her 11-year-old child, why doesn't a 55, 60, or 87-year-old know that much more than the parent? Old people are wise, they've been around the track many more times, they know things that younger people just don't, and often can't.
In Andy Rooney's old age, he released a little list of "I've learned..." quotes. One of them was "I've learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person." Being old has to rock! Then you'll know everything! And you can just sit back and chuckle at all of the young people running about doing silly things with their lives (but hopefully you'll take a break to steer one or two a little straighter). I mean, will looking X years younger really make that big of a difference in...anything?
An amazing thing that old people can do in particular, and without even trying, is humbling people. I get do disappointed with myself when I'm engaged in a conversation and I forget that the others in the discussion probably know as much or more about the subject than I do. I tend to forget about this until after I say something stupid. I can just imagine the elder people smiling inside while they listen to me. They probably think things like "Haha, I wonder why he thinks I don't know this...oh yeah, he's 19!" or, "What can I subtley say or do so that he'll feel so silly later." At least, that's what I think they should be thinking after I'm make a fool of myself. My fellow blogger, Robert, posted something along similar lines the other day. He describes his feelings much differently, but I identify with his words extremely well in Down!, Ego, Down!
But you know, I said I get diappointed with myself, but really I'm glad. Sure I feel like an idiot, and I sort of carry on with my tail between my legs (thats me humbled), but it's all part of learning. We have to feel less than 100% great in order to figure out how to deal better the next time that happens. Personally, I am excited by the idea of being old and super wise. However, that doesn't mean that I will forsake the time that I have until then. Who knows if I will make it past tomorrow... (My post about death: To Live Is To Love)
What do you think about growing old? Are you looking forward to solving many of life's puzzles, or are you too worried about your face and Social Security? :]
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