Some things are better left alone. That might sound defeatist but there are just times when one must leave well enough alone.
Here are a few examples concerning older people:
If you ask for a different medication, you may suffer worse side effects.
If you send out appliances to be fixed, you will find yourself without them for possibly long periods of time.
If you wait around for perfect weather conditions, you will be spending a lot more time stuck inside.
If you wait for others to do things for you that you’re capable of doing yourself, you will lose your independence at an alarming rate.
Most aging Americans today refuse to let their limitations rule their lives. Instead, they find ways around their disabilities and power ahead. I hope my generation has as much moxy and determination as theirs. It’s to their credit (those that are thriving) that they’ve defied the odds and entered into a new world of technology and hope!
Ever notice that there are more new drugs on the market every day? And just the side effects, alone, can make your pulse quicken. In 2016, we should be curing diseases not still suffering from them. Why is healthy, affordable living so out of our reach?
Watch any black and white film (and even most current ones) and there’s not an actor to be found without his/her lips wrapped around a cigarette. People sometimes have to work at jobs surrounded by carcinogenic substances because that’s all they are qualified to do. We can’t start living in bubbles so what’s a person to do?
It’s true, for the most part, that we are living longer but we’re not fully prepared to care for our loved ones when they reach those new stages of life. Once upon a time, your grandmother might have lived with you and helped raise you while your parents worked. Don’t these same selfless people deserve our love and support? Not everyone can afford to take on that responsibility but… isn’t it worth looking into other options?
It’s not unusual to see multiple videos on social media showing stray animals being rescued and given another chance at life. Shouldn’t we do at least that much for our elders?!
We are always waiting for something – a check to arrive in the mail; a parking spot to materialize; a job to magically fall in our lap. We sometimes spend more hours waiting for things to happen than we do actually livingour lives.
Here is a small sample of a daily ‘self-induced’ holding pattern:
Waiting to take the perfect selfie
Waiting to win the lottery
Waiting for Ed McMahon to show up on the doorstep (well, maybe 30 years ago)
Waiting for Godot
You might laugh at the absurdity of listing the well-known play but, really, isn’t that what we all do? We have our ideas and our opinions but most of us never act on them – deciding, rather, to just discuss them, over and over again, with anyone and everyone who is unfortunate enough to be within earshot.
With all the tragedy going on in the world today, we offer prayers, we speak the names of the victims, we color our monuments with their flags but, really, we do nothing. The truth of the matter is, no matter how upbeat or positive we try to be, we’re always just waiting for that other shoe to drop!
“Ready or not, here I come…,” we shouted as children playing Hide and Go Seek. And, not surprisingly, we always found our playmates. “Are you ready, yet?” we asked our own children when we were running late to an appointment. “Let’s Go” and “Chop Chop,” I often, and as kindly as possible, say to my parents when I know they would rather just stay home but they’ve got places to go and things to do.
With 24 hours in a day, you’d think that we would have plenty of time… we rush to work, we rush getting dressed up to go to events and we even rush so that we don’t end up having to rush. Time is a funny thing. We think we have so much of it when we’re young so we’re always late. Then we want time to slow down because things were so much easier when we had nothing BUT time.
“Youth is wasted on the young.” Wouldn’t it be great to have known then what you know now that you’re older and more experienced? Sadly, all of that knowledge and wisdom comes too late to be able to really enjoy it – as our younger selves could.
They say you’re never quite ready for marriage or children. There isn’t necessarily a perfect time in our lives for such life-altering events. But we do our best whether or not we’re truly ready!
They tell us: “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Nobody can predict what tomorrow will bring so why procrastinate? I wonder how many people never got a chance to view a sunset or see the leaves change or watch the tide come in?
These aren’t earth-shattering events and most of us probably take them for granted. How many of us, do you suppose, actually stop and look up at a full moon or count the stars up in the sky? We’re always in such a rush. Even the biggest moments of our lives – weddings, births, graduations – they’re usually captured on film, with our eyes behind the lens of a camera instead of on the subject at hand in that crucial moment.
In life, there are rarely second chances. Do overs are something we play at as children. They don’t really exist. As they say: “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Convincing yourself or others that you’ll get around to doing something ‘next year’ is a bet you should not be willing to take. Because you just never know…!
In my community, I recently saw a sign posted that offered a class in defensive driving for seniors. My initial reaction was that it was a bit of an oxymoron. After all, more people today are living longer lives and driving vehicles long after they really should be. No offense to anyone whose faculties are still intact but there are some statistically accurate points that need to be addressed.
Reflexes slow down as a person ages. There’s no disgrace in that fact but that doesn’t mean that you can react with the same speed and accuracy you once did. Your eyesight is less sharp and that, added to slower reflexes, is more of a menace when faced with a sudden oncoming obstacle. Even though you’ve clocked an impressive amount of years (even successfully) behind the wheel does not guarantee you immunity from error – both in judgment and in action.
So, next time I see a senior driving over the speed limit, or over the center line, or over my shoulder as I’m walking, I will secretly hope they attended that driver’s training class but will, nonetheless, give them a very wide berth!