Articles

When I’m 64…

In Aging, Generosity, Personal Responsibility, Stereotypes on 12/24/2011 by Beyond the Face of facebook . Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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These star-struck and carefree-loving, young people, 45 years ago

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TODAY – are our elders

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“Try not to become… of success,

but rather try to become… of value.”

– Albert Einstein

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What values do our elders pass down anymore? 

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…Hello?  <cricket> <cricket>.  Elders, you there?    …Oh, wait, they don’t want to be called the “E-word.”  It sounds too REAL… like they might actually not be “young and beautiful” anymore.

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Well, ELDERS, we’re disappointed –   within our family, in our community, and in the media, sadly many of us don’t look up to you or take you seriously. 

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You’re not part of our life, and we laugh at you (see photo example to the left). 

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Similarly, I don’t believe I’m alone in feeling that you’ve LEFT US with a mess while you self-indulge – shifting your focus and allegiances in your “prime” time… to PLAY time.

…It’s as if, in your mind, becoming “older” translates into, “I’ve made itI’ve arrived,” C-YA!  – checking-out like an immature high school senior… onto the next self-indulgence.

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“Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely”

– Wikipedia

Unfortunately, it seems that the notion of “stopping work” (in just one dimension of lifeemployment) is unhealthily being applied to all of life’s endeavors (except the ones that are self-indulgent – travel/vacations, tee-off times, brunch, canasta, and shuffleboard, and so on.)

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When we cease from participation in contributing to our family and community, we are not SERVING our purpose for living ELDERS, we still need your words, ideas, love, and actions to help us fix the brokenness (see  https://beyondthefaceoffacebook.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/dear-chronic-daters/).

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Your work is not complete, PLEASE come back into our lives!

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Further, by embracing reality, instead of trying to escape it via the popular fantasy notion of “retirement,” please realize by a certain vintage age, you have a VITAL role in our social structure, as a pillar of strength.

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You posessess requisite life experiences and wisdom which you can use as a weapon to fight complacency and apathy – contributing to and empowering your family and community with life-giving values, inspiration, and legacy.

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How else do we remember and honor your legacy, if not for your contributions to our lives?

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Also please note… 

IN YOUR ABSENSE, your values of “strength-in-numbers (of years and amount of wisdom)” are being replaced by celebrities and their “values” of “strengh-in-numbers (of material excess and baseness).”

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Remember Uncle Sam?  WE WANT YOU to ACT YOUR AGE – to be a source of strength and inspiration.   …Not looking, talking, and doing like a teenager, trying to act “hip.”  We have enough examples of indulgence flashed in our face, constantly.  We need morals, values, and life-skills to thrive, not indulge and consume, in this world.

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WE WANT YOU, ELDERS

FOR LOVE, WARMTH, STABILITY, NURTURANCE, GUIDANCE, PRESENCE, AND VALUES

NEAR US

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“When I’m 64 – Part II: 4-EVER Young” explores the enduring, cross-generational attitudes that have been contributing to our increasingly eroding values and disconnection… .

..https://beyondthefaceoffacebook.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/forever-young/ .

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BFf .

8 Responses to “When I’m 64…”

  1. Wow, now there’s a perspective I hadn’t thought about. Made me remember the role my family’s elders played in my growing up and you are so right! That is now missing from my daughter’s life with the exception of my mom who is doing her level best to help pass down some of that “old folk” wisdom. But admittedly, where I had neighborhoods full of old folks who wouldn’t hesitate to reach out to us, offering up all kinds of advice, guidance, and discipline (I might add), there isn’t anyone other than my mom who’s consistently fulfilling that role for my daughter. Hmmmm.

    Great post.

    • Hi, thanks for sharing your personal experience for us to relate – you’ve contributed to the richness of and shed more light on the issue, fortunately (…and unfortunately. That is, I wish it weren’t an issue at all). Much success to you in making sure your daughter has these connections in her life. I know about in some schools where during certain times of the year (during times of family/personal connection, when many people are alone, such as during holiday seasons), classes take field trips to “retirement homes,” and the such.

      Here the students entertain the “residents” with a skit/music act/song. Then the students are paired with a resident, have lunch together, and spend time “interviewing” them, taking an interest in the “resident’s” life. It’s a good way to integrate Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum, as well. Other ways I’ve seen, related to school, is to bring into the school elderly volunteers, participants of historical events (Woodstock, protests, civil rights, etc) and survivors of wars – soliders, prisoners, or victims – to speak/give a presentation.

      We all have a lot of (rewarding and enduring) work to do. We look forward to hearing updates about such connections taking place. Now’s the time to make new year’s resolutions. Keep talkin’, keep healthy!:)

      BFf .

  2. Nice post. I have the same feeling towards the older generation. And what i hate most it to see them give up on everything so easily.

    • Thanks for opening up and contributing your thoughts – especially relating your association of “giving up” with the attitude of many of our contemporary elders… as well as describing the “easy” manner in which they do so.

      It definitely evokes further exploration into the source of our elders’ disconnecting behaviors and attitudes. And actually, with anything that stifles or frustrates us, we must, ironically and counter-intuitively, acknowledge the source of our frustration, embrace it, and then seek to understand and know it.

      In other words, we must put our Self aside to then be able to close our eyes, meditate on, envision, and process what it must be like to walk in another person’s “world” – put our self into their shoes/the context of their life… THEIR story. Really, this is the ultimate in connection and giving as a human – mother to crying child, for example, etc.

      MAYBE then, we can understand why another person behaves the way they do, and then we can consider and suggest alternatives once we see what the behavior is compensating for. That is, often, the seemingly “unattractive”/undesireable behavior is adopted to fill in as a quick/convenient fix for a lack… a void in our life that is present and needs to be filled for us to fill safe, QUICKLY!:)… again, like an infant, it’s a basic instinct that’s in us throughout our entire lives – part of the human experience – our makeup.

      Anyway, the idea is for the fix to be temporary, no? But, we are human afterall, and we find comfort in routine and predictibility. Then multiply the behavior adoption rate when our cohort – the people around us – also are adopting the behavior, reinforcing the solidification of the behavior. Mass media and social media foster this aspect, increasingly more so today. Why the cohort phenomenon? It’s like how animals travel in packs, gaggles, flocks, etc – it makes us feel safe and supported from threat and lack.

      The focus on “Science” and it’s “miracles” over the past few hundred years, unfortunately, has really contributed to us humans thinking we’re beyond the “animal” instincts – as if we’re so much more refined. …As if we are more calculating, logical, and slick, like a machine, than all other species. Uh-Uh. We’re all still a little bit of “monster”/”animal” inside. If you don’t believe me, just imagine your response to something as basic as someone taking away something you own.

      When my “animal” gets around to it ( 🙂 ), I’d like to extend the inspiration from your comment and follow-up in a new post WHY, possibly, our contemporary elders may seem to be “giving up… easily.”

      Keep talkin’, Keep healthy!

      BFf .

  3. Don’t know if I qualify as an “Elder” yet – my parents (72 & 78) are still alive (thankfully) & still trying to pass on their brand of advice. I am the matriarch of a blended family of 7 – 10 children (depending on who is counting).
    Since all my children live “away (different provinces & even different countries)”, in an effort to keep in touch with all them, I joined social media. I encouraged my parents to do the same so they could keep up with their grandchildren – unfortunately they are too frightened of “being hacked” to make use of these tools, although they do enjoy email.
    My parents have interesting stories to tell of growing up before inside plumbing (read Grandma fell into the outhouse in her best clothes), growing up during the Korean war & what it felt like to grow up with huge extended family (great-grandma was 1 of 8 girls who all married, had children & grandchildren, etc.)
    I have interesting stories to tell of growing up during the Cold War, bomb drills being as common as fire drills, living in a pervasive atmosphere of fear because you never knew when the Russians were going to send over one their nukes.
    Unfortunately, most people don’t want to hear about this. They are so busy trying to make a living & keep up with the demands of today’s society they don’t have time to hear about the past. They have instant access to so much information on the web now, they don’t need us to fill in the gaps of history.
    So, even though I’m not sure I qualify for “elder” status, here’s my 2 cents: We will tell you about the past, about the lessons learned, if you want us to – you just have to ask. We know you’re busy, we see it & we hear it when you don’t return our phone calls (hence FB following). When YOU have the time, we’re ready. And if you don’t have a handy “elder” in your own life, find one through social media.

    • A quick (your point, in fact!:)) reply – FOR NOW – to honor your VERY thoughtful, honest/open, courageous, and thorough contribution to this discussion: YES!:)

      …Will “Keep talkin'” when back from having “time-off” with my wife, friends, and family (that is, our more immediate “sphere-of-influence,” so-to-speak).

      Keep talkin’, keep healthy,

      BFf .

  4. WOW, what elderly people do you know? Most of the elderly people in my life do contribute to their families and communities. Go to the biggest local charity in my area and everyone there from the people answering the phone, to the “economic counselors” in the offices are all retired. But they have chosen to spend their days working in an office with the poor and disenfranchised of our community. At my local hospital most of the volunteer staff are retired. The woman who brings newborn babies their very first teddy bear, brings new parents instructional materials on raising a baby, but most importantly stays if they have questions and give real world advice is 87. My mother never really had an outside job when she was young many women of her generation didn’t, she always focused on her family. She doesn’t do any of the things that you have listed as the primary concerns of the elderly. My mother is at home most of the time, and if not she makes absolutely sure to inform as many family members as possible that she won’t be home. She does this not because we worry about her but because her house is never empty. Any time from very early in the morning to late into the evening people are visiting with her. We go to her to share our hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, our lives in general. She will listen to you and offer you what you need, advice, sympathy, love, and comfort. If there are small children in the house they are just as likely to be sitting talking to her about their troubles as the adults. I know you probably don’t think interacting with her family is enough, but we are talking about three generation (7 children, 16 grand children, and 13 great grandchildren and lets not forget the cousins, nieces and nephews and spouses of all of those). Today for instance, my sister and he husband were there with all their grandchildren (7 of them) so people ranging in age from 56 to 6months were in her house, and she was having field the usual phone calls as well. Being the matriarch of my family is hard work. In short I feel sorry for you, all the elderly people in your life suck, go find some that don’t.

    • “WOW,” it’s great that you and the many elders you know are an exception in the way you are contributing beyond yourselves to your families – what a blessing and quite beautiful, thank G-d!

      If you read the post carefully, we’re both saying the same thing:
      1)”… be a source of STRENGTH and INSPIRATION”
      2)”… posessess requisite life experiences and wisdom which you can use as a weapon to FIGHT COMPLACENCY
      AND APATHY – contributing to and empowering your family AND COMMUNITY with LIFE-GIVING VALUES,
      INSPIRATION, AND LEGACY.

      Also, consider that when you converse with people outside of your home and neighborhood, WE’RE also part of your “GREATER COMMUNITY.” Specifically, online, we’re part of your “ONLINE COMMUNITY.”

      So, WE appreciate you upholding and extending to us the same neighborly values and good examples you share with your families and neighbors. This isn’t a “Yahoo! News” comment forum – we prefer some constructive decorum here.

      Similarly, your message seems to serve in the following manner: to boast about yourself and your circumstances. And for rest of us… DISMISS in pity (“feel sorry”) – “quitting” on us “have-nots,” leaving us no better than if you hadn’t commented at all (related to the sentiment in the comment to this post by “no*sugar.me”).

      Please know, your words still carry/ripple-out into the WORLD via this online medium of communicating (related, see https://beyondthefaceoffacebook.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/voices-carry/). That is, MANY people stand to read your words – for better …or worse.

      Instead of “feeling sorry” for a younger person, with whom you have an opportunity to interact and influence, a more beneficial, constructive, and stereotype-bunking gesture would be for you to, at least, give a few words of your sage and time-tested wisdom and encouragement (once again, as written in this post – and like the constructive words written in the comments to this post).

      Lastly, you’ve helped me to realize that the theme of “When I’m 64” is related to the later post, “Forever Young” (https://beyondthefaceoffacebook.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/forever-young/)- connecting the factors “contributing” to an erosion of values in our society. I apologize if there was any uncertainty left about the theme of “When I’m 64” – it should (and will, after some editing) tie-into “Forever Young.”

      May G-d provide us with more people like you and the elders in your local community who have the potential to exemplify and share a more constructive, embracing example for us disillusioned and lost, younger generations.

      Keep Talkin’, Keep Healthy,
      BFf .

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