There have been so many new and wonderful changes and improvements in our lives that often, it’s mind-boggling. For example, Amazon not only delivers the most inexpensive item the next day (with prime) and not only emails you when delivered, but provides a photo of the package at your front door. You gotta love it!
Unfortunately, not everything is “comin’ up roses” in all areas of life.
In many ways, our culture has declined to the point where nearly everything is considered acceptable and sometimes, desirable. Some things that exist today could not have been imagined in the recent past. Here are just a few examples, some more significant than others:
*Surgical gender change is good.
*Infanticide at birth is okay.
*It’s chic to wear jeans with holes in them.
*Cleavage and behinds are increasingly more revealing.
* Inappropriate language is common and acceptable and used by all.
*Civility is an archaic relic from the past.
*Tribal group-think is preferable to individual thought and common sense.
*Drug-induced altered states of consciousness are common and desirable.
One may agree or disagree with some or all of the above — it doesn’t matter. The changes exist and are accepted largely without judgment. I cite the changes to make a point, and the point is this:
In spite of all the cultural and often revolutionary changes, there is an outdated norm that remains untouched and is just as rock solid as ever: Acceptance that “old age” ALWAYS equals decline.
It is generally NOT accepted or believed that as people age, they CAN AND OFTEN DO CHANGE AND GROW IN NEW, YOUTHFUL WAYS that defy decline. But let’s not get crazy here; decline is profitable and props up and fuels the traditional old age leisure culture. In a perverse way, cultural decline of old people is an economic “benefit”.
Same Old Story
It’s the same old story about old age. At age 80-90 a woman is pretty much a leper. For many, especially women, it’s a horrible box to be in. Young people abhor old age and avoid or ignore old people. In general, old people are made fun of, often by themselves. Old women are called “cute” and persuaded to exist in “retirement” communities to play while they decay. Age 90 is a sure bet you are senile ( even without evidence), and younger people automatically treat you as if you are less than competent. Yuk — it’s disgusting. One may be incompetent at age 90 but one may also be incompetent at a younger age that has not been identified as “old”.
In relationships, “she must be younger than he” is the inflexible determinant for a woman to be with a man. Old women in great physical shape are wrinkled and therefore unappealing while bearded, wrinkled, sick old men with a belly hanging over their belt are distinguished and acceptable.
Mentally and physically, women tend to last longer than men. A 70-year-old woman is generally still in her prime while a 70-year-old-man has had open heart surgery, has prostate problems, diabetes, and has trouble walking. But that doesn’t matter to a mentally and/or physically compromised old guy looking for a new love — he wants a much younger woman because that’s the way it’s always been. He feels entitled. In his head, he still believes he’s a desirable stud even if impotent.
He imagines he’s still got it going on, and finding a viable younger woman validates his fantasy of his youth. Looking not too far down the road, he is aware a younger woman potentially makes a better caretaker than an older woman. The sad thing is, if he has money his decline often doesn’t matter to a younger (or older) woman and in fact, may be an attraction.
The Common Sense Solution
My solution is simple: Legalize perceived age. Be whatever legal age you say you are and can mentally and physically live it. Please don’t tell me there are too many legal hurdles and loopholes to jump through in order to make it work. Look, if a man can get his penis and related organs chopped off to become a woman, anything is possible. For whatever reason, we don’t want to change the system. We want to continue to pretend an addled old guy with just half a brain is an attractive and acceptable partner for a vital younger or same age woman.
Does the unfairness concern you, too? Let me know when you are ready to help change the system. Let me know when you are ready to fight to be the person inside you screaming for legal freedom to be the age you want to be. No surgery is necessary. Just fired-up guts and determination to fight and win the fight. Imagine if that happens: Men will scurry like rats (to no avail) to try to keep remaining (if any) youthful attributes as long as they can. That’s what women do right now and they are doing a great job. The competition just might obliterate “old age” fairness issues and level the playing field of “them versus us” in life and love.
Barbara Morris says
Thanks so much, Ann. White hair is a huge part of the problem. I know judgments are made on the color of hair and the value of the individual with white hair. It’s not pleasant a lot of the time. But the thing is, once your AGE is known, regardless of the color of your hair, certain cultural norms and expectations about your age do apply and you are treated accordingly. Because of my white hair it’s often assumed I am less than competent to do normal things. People want to be helpful and do things for you that you can do for yourself. Unneeded help abets decline. I just may start to color my hair again. even though it’s a pain in the neck to keep up. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. You are one in a million in more ways than most people know!
Anna "Ann" Lou Herzer, M. A. says
The think that annoys me most now that I have white hair, is everyone thinks I’m deaf. I have finally decided to simply say, “It is not necessary to shout at me, I still have good hearing ability”. Then I remember to smile and say, “thank goodness”.
Most seem to think anyone with white hair is senile. I recently told my daughter if this attitude does not stop, I’m thinking of dying my hair-again!
It looks as thought I got the longevity gene from my ancestors. Several, a 100 years ago, lived to be almost 100, so I just keep eating a healthy diet, driving my car, cleaning my house, balancing my books, paying my bills on time, and enjoying my life as much as possible with most of my best friends gone.
I enjoy my children, grandchild and great grandchildren, and feel blessed to have them. But, I must say I am annoyed when they seem glued to their machines.
I think the thing I miss most is the “art of conversation”. I’m sure anyone over 65 will understand that term. I must say I enjoy my computer, and it keeps me from being lonely or bored.
I’m not on any social media blog because I could not stand the trivia and gossip. I have learned to text via voice that comes out totally insane sometimes. I don’t take the time to erase and read before I send, so I usually follow up with this “crazy cell phone”, please overlook I’m not senile yet. I use the voice text because I don’t want to cut my fingernails.
Barbara, have you noticed that most youngsters don’t have lovely nails anymore? I think that may be from all the machines they use. What do you think? I don’t ask, but I do wonder.
I can still bury my head in a good book and never turn on the computer or tv. A habit from my childhood. I must admit I’m creating the habit of checking my cell phone oftener.
Barbara, I loved your article as usual. Now I’ll read the rest on this months blog. I’ll forward to others.