“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Still bristling over a comment made by a grocery store clerk yesterday in reference to an older couple who had just taken more than they should have through the express checkout line: “It’s always the retirees. Nothing to do and all day to do it.”
This dismissive devaluing of the life of senior citizens both irritated and saddened me.
It irritated me because I’m a retiree and I have quite the opposite problem–more things to do than time to do it all. The implication that life in retirement is sitting in a rocking chair watching the world pass by is far from reality for most retirees I know.
It saddened me because it seemed to imply that life past a certain age lost a good measure of its value. This line of thought should come as no surprise in this world that’s constantly changing, where we are always looking for the newest and greatest next best thing, and where we are prone to throw out rather than repair or make do.
Certainly the world today is vastly different than that of our parents and grandparents but I shudder to consider the implications of ignoring the wisdom of our elders and, worse, what it means for us as a people when we choose to devalue the lives of those who have gone before us.
It grieves me. It scares me just a little bit too.
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Today: making appointments, taking photos, writing, learning new things, and maybe some baking.
This rude attitude is actually nothing new, though it seems to me that those who have such an attitude are actually few and far between. You just happened to come across a sad person who holds this view. Most of us love and appreciate our older family members, friends, and neighbors.
I think you’re right, Beth.
I truly wish I could be around when this younger generation might be approaching their 60th birthday (and beyond) like I am to ask them how they feel about “old” now? I realize – in myself – that I sometimes think rude thoughts, and then chastise myself along the lines of “you have no idea what struggles that person is having today.” At least I am conscious of these bad thoughts in my head and the where-withall to correct myself.
Me too, Karen. We all have those moments when we feel less than understanding. For me, that’s why I choose to try to fill my mind with things that are beautiful and edifying. What goes in influences what will come out!