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!
You can live an entire lifetime and never know true love. You can live a long and productive life and never be loved. You can love someone and never have that love returned. Love is… complicated.
But if you’re lucky enough to find true love and to live a full and joyous life with that one special person, then you’d be in the same small club that my parents are members of. How do you know? Simple.
You have been with the same person for more years than you can count.
You can barely remember a time when you weren’t together.
You think about that person first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.
So… Still not sure? Then ask yourself this question: “Am I a better person because he/she is in my life?” If the answer is, “yes,” then chances are you have found your ‘sole’ mate!
In today’s society, we often act as our own worst critic. We have something to say about everything – the way people look or talk or smell or walk. It’s as if the whole world is a stage and we are the judges. Thanks to the glut of Reality TV, we now critique looks, talent, strength and even cooking ability.
But when an opinion is expressed about us or our behavior, we take it personally and feel the need to justify any negativity. We no longer have as thick a skin as we once did – or maybe we’re just so tired of hearing it all the time that we immediately go on the defensive.
At a certain age, people tend to believe that that, alone, allows them the freedom to express their anger or frustration because they’ve lived a long, hard life. Not so. In reality, what it does is allow us to see into our own futures and, hopefully, grant us the compassion to withhold that judgment and to acknowledge the gifts that all those years of living have bestowed!
I remember when my Dad used to drum. Long after he retired from teaching and playing club dates on the weekends – weddings and Bar Mitzvahs – he continued drumming, almost as if his fingers had a life of their own. I never did that. My oldest son, also a drummer, occasionally does that. Maybe it’s a guy thing.
For years my Dad’s fingers would drum and drum and drum. Every surface had permanent dents or dings; every tabletop was worn of its natural patina of wood; every arm chair’s upholstery was permanently thinned – some worn right down to the material below.
But I haven’t heard that familiar sound in ages. At some point, Dad just gave up. When he finally decided, “enough is enough,” I’ll never know for sure. Was it when the phone stopped ringing for gigs or when the students stopped needing lessons or when time just passed by and all those years of experience and knowledge stopped mattering?
I know he sometimes has dreams about those days of working and teaching. He says they’re quite vivid and he remembers them all. The mind is a funny thing – focusing on some events, no matter how trivial, while fogging over others that seemed so important at one time. So maybe, in hindsight, enough is never really enough!
When we’re really young, we’re in a big hurry to grow up. Children will, early on, hold up one or two fingers to proudly declare their age when asked. Then they go through a stage where they are very definitely, “four and 3/4” or “almost 5.”
Our desire to age rather quickly makes another comeback when we approach double digits and, again, when we’re old enough to get our driver’s permit. Lastly (depending on where you live), there’s that urgent desire to be able to vote. Okay, drink… Whatever.
After that we’re not so keen on advancing in years. Some even go to great lengths to try and slow down the aging process. Every few years we’re thrown a bone when some group or another comes up with the latest: “60 is the new 40”… Yeah, right. And I’ve got a wooden bridge I’d like to sell you.
But fear not, baby boomers. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. If you live long enough, you’ll be eligible for AARP, Medicare, Social Security and senior discounts up the wazoo. So be loud and be proud. Own the age you’re at. Act the age you are. And age as gracefully as you can!