When I received a comment from Mary on yesterday's post about the Peter Pan Syndrome and the need to remain young forever, I stopped in my tracks. Here is what she said:
|If you are going to be a dino|
at least be scarey!
This was a great post. I just retired last year, but I am just the opposite of the retiree who wants to stay forever young. It was actually retirement that brought me to the point where I could face the aging process head on and become who I really wanted to be. It was while I was still working that I did 'all the right things' to stay young. I can sit back now and see how hard it was on me. My oldest co-worker was 20 years my junior. I was of another generation than everyone else, and I worked so hard to fit in that I forgot about who I am. Today I am comfortable with me.
MaryShe took me back to a blog post I wrote back in 2009 referencing an article in More magazine regarding fitting in the work place. In that blog post I talked about several things the writer thought made an older worker appear to be well... very not cool. Here were some of the things she mentioned in her rave against acting old that I thought I was guilty of:
We all tend to do this once in a while, rave that is...even those of us that are guilty of some of the sins she described. We don't "keep going" at the grocery store and tend to block the aisles while we try to find the right hair dye color, we don't text with our thumbs and well, we probably all still leave voice mails. Most of us wear watches and if we leave it at home, aren't smart enough to just check our cell phones for the time. Many of us are walking office or cocktail hour "archives", spouting more information than anyone ever wants. The author from More was just plain irritated by all these things and thought that, if you were still working, you should avoid doing these things...especially in front of your co-workers. In her mind, they just made you appear older than you really were. (Or could it be it made them appear the age you really are.)
Note: When I wrote this post I had not broke myself of the habit of double spacing after the end of a sentence. My posts had many uneven margins as a result...another hint that I am not as young as I could be.Have things changed in the last almost 6 years? Do workers like Mary have a whole new list of "fitting-in" requirements? I know it must be very hard to fit in with workers that are 20 years younger. We all can remember when we were 20 or 35 or 42 and it really wasn't THAT long ago. When I see comments like Mary's, I become very grateful for retirement and even for being old. I think she is like me in that she is very lucky to not have to worry about fitting into a world that disregards your knowledge or experience. Being young must be such a burden...all those old people around and everything.
On the other side of the coin I am also aware that we older people really do need to be aware of our public demeanor...even though I sometimes just don't want to think about it. People don't treat me right when I let myself go for example. I don't want to dress younger, I just want to look like a person a younger person would treat with respect. Here is another balancing act. After my blog post yesterday I thought I would tip over because I knew there was much more to that story on no worrying about aging anymore.
Let go back to a post I wrote back in 2011 called 7 Restaurant Behaviors. I suppose it was a bit of a rant that was prompted by something that had happened to me. As I reread it today, I saw that I seem to keep coming back to the subjects mentioned in that post. Evidently I am still bothered by people that complain about the price of a meal when we are in a restaurant, share a meal at a five star establishment, don't tip enough and spend the whole meal talking about their ailments.
I saw this in Mexico when we were there last week. A group of 8 expat retirees came into a 5 star restaurant, sat in the main dining area and ordered 3 appetizers or desserts to share. I thought the waiters were going to fall over laughing. It was kinda cute but it also was kind of silly. Remember, there was a bar with seating that served small bites and that is where they should have been. I wanted to go home, dye my hair black and pretend I was 55.
I think the point here is that the social part of our lives does not change that much as we age. While we may not be chasing the evil wrinkles away or putting on makeup just in case someone sees us, when we are in public, our life is not all about us. It never has been and it never will be.