International Day for the Elderly

The first day of October is designated “International Day for the Elderly” and I suppose that should be thrilling for us old folks.

One of every ten persons in the world is now over 60 and considered “elderly.”

This makes me feel good, as I’m now well beyond that age.

I’ve always wanted to look older.

I remember when I was in my 20’s and resembled a teenager, how difficult it was for me to be taken seriously in business situations. I held people older than myself in high esteem because they seemed so mature.

And now that I’m 70 my self-perception finally shifted and I’m beginning to feel different. Suddenly people are eager to open doors for me, and I get nods of respect.

It feels like I suddenly became good looking and for the first time I feel like I’m normal.

Being old also has its advantages and I like it. It’s fun to flash the sr. citizen card in front of businesses and typically receive a discount. McDonald’s even has a special soft drink size and discount price for us seniors.

One problem that has surfaced in my life, however, is the reluctance of young people to treat me as one of their own. I feel young inside, and want to be included in conversations, but when that happens I’m generally disappointed because their discussions are so irrelevant. I’ve never cared for video games, and I don’t watch what I consider to be “stupid” TV shows. I don’t listen to modern rock music on the radio, and I don’t have an account at the Apple store. They “text” a lot, and I see the value in that, because using voicemail is excessively time consuming, but I find myself needing to speak my thoughts less and less frequently. I can go all day without speaking a word to anyone and it seems normal to me. So young people and I have less and less in common.

I guess we elderly people are doomed to stick to our own kind.

We own cars that are more efficient, and we look for ways to minimize costs.

I’ll never forget my surprise at how much young people are willing to pay for a cup of coffee or for a cell phone. My current cell phone cost is ten dollars a month. It’s one of those plans that uses my Wifi when I’m home and gives me 200 minutes per month when I’m not.

Just last week my wife and I signed a contract to install solar panels on our roof in order to stabilize our monthly electricity costs. For the next 25 years the monthly cost will remain at the current price or decline as the financing charges are paid off with the monthly savings.

So, we elderly folks live in a different world where things are viewed with more circumspect and where life is simpler.

We’ll take this special day and cherish it as the gift that it is. One more day to enjoy life and its surprises.