A Geezer’s View
The good Lord has allowed me to hang around in this world for more than three quarters of a century now, and I enjoy the freedoms of Geezerhood. I am resigned to the limitations this status places on me. There is a certain amount of freedom attached to getting old, such as having some of my blunders overlooked or forgiven by folks who are younger.
There are several changes of perspective when looking at age. A child is never old enough to suit themselves, when asked their age, it’s always “nine and a half” or “almost 13.”
The next big milestone is getting into high school, only to find they are just “those freshmen kids.” Next comes graduation and onward to college, where once again they are “just” freshmen. Next comes the ultimate achievement … becoming a “legal adult.”
Gosh, what a horrid disappointment. It only means they have to be responsible and accountable for their own actions. After four years of college there is the thrill of being old enough to select a mate for life and marrying, only to find it means more responsibility along with the joy.
Then they begin to feel that they’ve truly become real adults and that going to work every day and trying to stretch the dollars to meet the bills is not quite the rosy picture they had in mind. Then come the kids and the years roll by in a blur, and age begins to take its toll. And suddenly they wake up one morning to the realization that “Omigod, I am a grandparent!”
At some indeterminate point, we realize that age happens to us all and it’s completely unavoidable. But … there is a silver lining in that cloud. There comes a time when we are recognized as the experienced ones (and hopefully, the wise ones), and we no longer have to prove anything to anyone. The younger ones come to us for advice and counsel, and we are seen as a valued resource. Along about that point, it gets to be funny as we review our lives and see the progression.
Remember “old” Miss Jones, the school teacher? She was 20 years old. Remember when the cops seemed old and now they’re just kids? Remember “old” Judge Brown? He was 43. Remember “old” Senator Thomas? He was 58. Now they all look young and anyone under 50 is just a kid. There are some very real privileges that come with advancing age. People begin to address us as sir or ma’am, and young folks hold doors open for us. It is accepted that an afternoon nap is not laziness, but necessity. There is no shame in getting a senior discount at dinner. Our memory lapses are forgiven and our half hour searches for the car keys are seen as “cute.” The box boy at the market automatically assumes we will want assistance carrying the groceries and we get huffy and say, ”I can still do it myself,” and then we tip them too much for their help. We are not ashamed when we get teary when the national anthem is played, neither are we ashamed to cry for a friend who has just passed on.
We can sit around over a cup of coffee and complain to understanding friends that the world is “going to hell in a hand basket” and no one finds it odd, after all it’s just “those old folks.”
Advanced age gives us a pass on some things, but not all. We still remember and bear the pain of loved ones lost. We remember the hell of wars. We remember great disappointments. We clearly see the folly of some of the things happening around us. All the while, we can take pride in the accomplishments of a lifetime.
We can look in the mirror and like that person, warts and all. We can get all puffed up with pride at the achievements of our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids. We find that we are running out of space for all the mementos of a lifetime, all the cherished souvenirs. We can laugh at old and worn jokes. We can particularly bask in the warmth of old and dear friendships, and we can treasure those of our old friends who are still amongst us. We can look with wonder and awe at those friendships just as we do the wonderful and awe-inspiring sunsets that bless us each day.
We should revel in our having survived and loved life this long. I believe we have earned the right to proudly wear our wrinkles, sagging frames, and failing eyesight.
And so, my fellow Geezers, male and female alike, I say Hurrah! Stand proud that you’ve made it this far through this glorious life.
Hurrah for Geezers and Geezerhood!