Saturday, December 31, 2011

What's Your Attitude

How do you feel about the old (or euphemistically the elderly?  All too often negatively.  We don't want to think about getting old; it's not the world we live in.  But many of us have a loved one who's old! and we have to think about it. (I'm old, and if you're reading this, you must be aware of that.  Think about it.

You may not be aware of the fact that old people are often much happier than you are-- or I was.  I retired from salaried work 23 years ago, and for a long time I used to preach the gospel that life begins with retirement.  Maybe so, maybe not! Actually it depends upon how much of your life is invested in your job.

I know people (closely!) who dread retirement; they virtually equate it with dying.  For me it was otherwise.  I worked for bread to put on the table and welcomed the end of 'wage slavery'.

Once a young doctor had to visit an old woman; he asked her how she happened to get in the retirement center ('nursing home').  She explained that her husband had passed after 73 years of marriage.  He asked her how things were; she replied it's heaven.  He was shocked, but she smiled and "proceeded to describe how she had endured decades in an unhappy marriage with a gruff, verbally abusive man." Now she had her life back, and enjoyed every minute of it.

I can tell you that that sort of life script may be about as common as the kind with 'heavenly' marriages.  (I'm happy to report that my marriage belongs to the second category.)

The moral of this story it don't start off feeling sympathetic when you encounter an old man or woman.

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