Every so often I wonder if the world is going so fast that it will just whirl off it’s axis and speed away into the wild blue yonder?
I hope that before it does, we will have established the fact that those who are referred to as seniors, will have had time to leave a legacy that will showcase the fact that we do not have to accept illness, cranky behavior, and feelings of uselessness as part of maturing. Notice I did not say, “getting old”.
I am a senior who works with seniors and I like to believe that I am making a difference in a few lives, on a daily basis. I am passionate and sometimes a little pushy because I want us to live (borrowing a phrase here) our best lives.
In my bi-monthly workshops, entitled “Senior Talk with Zenobia” I watch my peers file in, grab a handout and plunk down in a chair. Sometimes they will give the handout a glance and if the topic does not suit them, then there is a sigh and an instant folding of the arms. The arm-fold indicates there are no sweets being served and the topic is “decluttering” or how not to become invisible or how to demand respect at any age. There is a mindset that calls for consistent rebellion against thinking better. Were we not the generation that rebelled against conformity of any kind? What happened? Why do we bend under the pressure to conform to cookie-cutter images of aging?
Why are these not popular subjects? Many are not ready to try to re-train the brain to think new thoughts or try new things. There is a stubborn determination to keep things as they are. Sorry, stagnation is not an option. Especially for seniors. We need to move our minds, bodies and explore the bigger pictures!
As soon as I open my mouth on the positives, hands go up and the “buts” begin. “But I’m too old, too tired, too angry, too occupied with what’s wrong with young people today” and on it goes. I suggest and encourage folks to get off the “buts” (both kinds) and reach for positives that enhance, correct and enlighten.
If I were a passion-less person, I would pack away my handouts, turn my smile upside down and head off to the border, but the fact remains that I do care and I want everyone over the age of fifty to try to live a better life. I believe that old thought patterns and habits throw us onto the useless bus, where we travel forever and never get off. We stare out of the window called “yesterday” and mumble about the things that might have been, and places where things used to be. Our mind battery begins to flicker and we go into victim-mode. We begin to “collect” things, we begin to isolate, we begin our descent into dangerous areas in our minds, and sometimes contribute to our mental demise. I also am sharing my aging process with others because we are in this together.
I encourage my peers to change their daily conversations. Reciting ailments, new prescriptions that did not work, grandchildren or adult children who do not visit is not only unhealthy but a way to “bring down” others who are cornered to listen. We must use our under-used parts before they break down, deteriorate and die from lack of stimulation. We are responsible for the energy we bring into a room. Try coming in with a positive. It can brighten someone else’s day as well as your own!
If this sounds like a woman who is just talking, believe me, I walk my talk to the fullest. I fight daily the thought of “It runs in my family”. I always say (out loud) “it ran in my family until it ran into me”.
Before the world goes spinning off into another galaxy, let’s be the generation who changes it again and for the better! As seniors, we have so much to offer. Let’s start sharing our life experiences and our vast knowledge and wisdom with those coming after. You will be surprised at how much some will value what we contribute.