Thursday, April 02, 2009

Why Are We Seniors Such A Puzzlement?

Back in November when Henry Alford , a contributor to the New York Times , among others, told me I was on his list of ten favorite blogs by or about seniors, I did some digging to learn more about him. It came as no surprise that he had written a book. The title tells it all: How to Live - A Search For Wisdom From Old People While They're Still On this Earth.

The title made me laugh and I vowed to read it. This is not a review of the book but rather an expression of curiosity as to just why "seniors" are viewed as some sort of mysterious beings.

One thing I did find interesting in the reading of the book is that he seemed to be searching for a definition as he was looking for his answer. Those he interviewed seemed mostly, not all but mostly, an eclectic hodgepodge of eccentrics. Granted, he and I do not run in the same circles, but I haven't found the seniors of my acquaintance to be as needy of attention or acceptance of their eccentricities as those in his book.

What I found most interesting, however, were the comments on Times review. It occurred to me that somewhere along the path of aging, younger generations lose touch with who we are and where we've been. We're like knick knacks sitting on a curiosity shelf and we need delicate handling. Do we?

We're referred to as libraries; full of knowledge that should be studied lest it be lost. But how should we be approached? What questions should be asked? Wow.

Of course, I am a senior myself so it isn't all that mysterious. In a book I actually did review a couple of years back there was a great deal of discussion about the disconnect between parents and their adult children. I never suffered that. I like to talk, my Mom liked to talk and when we visited, we did little else - but talk. It's called communication. It's no great mystery. Not just talking, but listening and more importantly - hearing - what one another has to say. There may be disagreements. It's a natural generational happening, but no great mystery.

I found the cover illustration particularly funny. The picture of a Shar Pei - full of wrinkles. I enjoyed the irony. As Shar Pei's age, they become less wrinkled. Would that be true for we seniors! Perhaps if we did a Benjamin Button and could reverse the aging process so we looked more like those studying us we wouldn't seem so unapproachable!

As it is, I guess we seniors hold a great secret among ourselves. We've all attained varying degrees of wisdom by merely being. Some of us have lived very well, others not so. It's all pretty much as to how the chips fell and what we did with them.

In other words, if it weren't for those wrinkles there would be no puzzle at all! We're just like everyone else.


Margie's Musings said... true! The difference is that we tend to repeat ourselves. That alone is a turnoff for the younger generation.

Sylvia K said...

Hot damn, Maris! So that's the reason for the wrinkles! Best news I've had in years -- or since they began to show up. We do tend to be viewed as aliens sometimes and I have to admit that I don't even feel comfortable with a lot of seniors I've met and they do seem like they're from another world. It seems that with many of them when they get to a certain age, they just stop -- stop learning, stop trying new things, like they just sit down one day and say, well, that's it! I'll be 76 in a few months and I hope and pray I never stop learning and reaching out. That for me has been the encouraging thing about blogging because I have met online so many really cool older people. Great post! Thanks!