On growing older - not dying!
written by Ron:
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It started years ago. It was the first time. A young man in our local market said, “Can we help you carry
your bags out to your car?” It was almost comical the way my head snapped towards the young man, a real double take. I quickly said,
“Thanks, I can manage.”
The years have rolled by since my sudden realization of what growing older means
to younger Americans.
The passing years have shown me that growing older means one thing to the younger among us
and another to those who mark the years following their sixty fifth anniversary.
As we senior citizens mark the
passing years we often find the younger ones speaking louder, gesticulating and wondering if we catch the drift of what they’re saying.
After all, we’re old, which must mean we couldn’t possibly understand what they’re talking about.
that to those younger around us the years we have spent growing, achieving and even succeeding are remnants of our own particular
dark ages. They give the impression that our accomplishments were done when times were remarkably different than what theirs are today.
It’s almost as though they are giving their elders a perfunctory pat on the head and discounting years of their active service to
generations past. These elders were once presidents, senators, foreman, actresses, race car drivers, surgeons, nurses, inventors and
leaders of the nation and its communities.
In America there is a tendency to look at retired people as finished,
done, sort of just- waiting- around- folk, not really capable of contributing anymore.
There is a tremendous
waste of experience and talent going on in America. The retired men and women in this country could be contributing in every aspect
of our nation’s growth, safety and future.
The mistake occurred generations ago, when the age of sixty-five
was established as the time for men and women to leave their jobs and stay home. They were deemed too old to contribute to government,
factories, colleges, hospitals, sports – even mentoring.
America is unique in its approach to the aging.
Other countries realize the value and contributions the seniors among them have and can dispense.
elders are given priority over young people. In China special respect is paid to older people, not only because of their possible
frailty, but because of the knowledge they retain.
In America that knowledge is still there, ready to be
used, but, most often going to waste, dormant – a lifetime of learning sitting unused. Undervalued.
Many of the retired, the elderly, retain the strength and energy for battle. From their experience they are able to see what is really
important. They can serve as peacemakers, creating solutions instead of wars. They can see the best interests of all concerned. They
can provide perspective.
The elders among us can provide access to society’s knowledge. Their wisdom can
be a salvation to many of mankind’s problems.
It is more than respect for their age that the elderly seek,
it is a working relationship with people, firms and government. A relationship that uses their talents and experience for the betterment
of its community, nation and world.
The elderly are pictured with the physical challenges of age
– aching joints, fading eyesight and weary bones. Some of the aging fall victim to these hardships, but most are vibrant, healthy,
active and ready to contribute.
As American youth grow more corpulent and pot-bellied; addicted to a sedentary
lifestyle, it is time to turn our attention to the millions of retired and mature among us and for us to use the profound knowledge
and vigor they carry with them.
It is time for a social revolution that will bring the elderly, the retired
back into the mainstream of American progress.
Perhaps one of the causes of America’s problems today is the
result of its shelving those who carry with them the knowledge of past mistakes and the cognitive ability to avoid making them again.
And thanks again to the young boy at the market, “But I can still carry my own bags to the car.”
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