Sweet old lady is an oxymoron. It’s one of those myths, probably perpetrated by childhood memories of grandma, a rosy film smoothing over the lumps and bumps.

Age makes everyone cranky. Men get grouchy. Women get snarky. Old people are impatient and significantly less reserved about saying what’s on our minds. We don’t have much to lose, so why not?

Our body is not the only part of us that ages.

72-Garry dogs dinner_32

It’s possible the only people who find old people sweet are very young children. Everyone else gets the sharp edge of the tongue and the flaring temper.

American culture has little use for old folks. From the founding of this country, we have prized youth and energy. We give lip service to admiring experience and wisdom, but we don’t hire the old and wise. Companies fire workers the moment they can’t keep up with workers half their age.

It turns out, older, irascible guys and gals resent being told how to do their jobs by kids who couldn’t do the job, but have lots of opinions and theories. They are not easily managed and do not willingly gulp the company Kool-Aid. Yuck.

To make the cycle perfect, the Social Security retirement age has been steadily raised. You young punks are going to have to find a way to stay on the job until you are 67, 68, even 70. Probably it’ll get up to 80 eventually, with the not-so-subtle suggestion that you’d be doing the world a favor if you would please just die before needing benefits.

Statistics prove people are living longer, so it logically follows they should work longer, right?

The result? You’ll see millions of unemployed old people who should be able to take it easy, but have to find a way to keep working. No longer able to do what they did for 30 or 40 years, they will be unemployable. It’s already happening. Just look around.

Categories: American history, Culture, Getting old, Retirement

Tags: , , ,

54 replies

  1. It’s a sad truth Marilyn. I’ve written about this issue too. I call it here in Canada, ‘Half the age for half the age.” Because like America, the middle class is hit hard. Brilliant, long-time employees are getting packaged off in their fifties for younger, cheaper blood. Leaving the middle aged seeking jobs with over qualifications for lesser positions because many can’t afford to retire period in this expensive, over taxed country. Thanks for getting my blood stimulated. 🙂


    • I think this stuff is international. Garry and I were both “retired early.” We wound up okay, but it was touch and go for a long time. I think we are finally fine… unless we need a new car or the roof needs fixing.


  2. There is always the other side too, that the young people have no jobs because the elderly are taking them. Or put it another way, there is a lot of competition for the jobs.


  3. There were times in the end where my factory wasn’t the only thing obsolete. I felt like I was treated like yesterday’s newspaper yet nobody half my age could outwork or outproduce me.


  4. Well, a woman your age is trying to run for President. I agree with parts of your post, but not all. The problem here is the American way of living. Nobody really thinks about “old(er) age”. It’s a little bit different in Europe, where I come from. There it is normal to have a savings account and to put 10+% aside. Even when you are 18 or 20 you know already to save for later. The government provides pensions and a form of social security. But still everybody has savings beside that, so called “lifesaving’s”, because you can’t always count on the government…thinks can change.I do know sweet older ladies and men as well, but I although know the nagging, snarling ones. I believe our attitude will determine the way we will be when we are old(er). We are already broke, can’t afford programs like social security, disability and others anymore. Not enough people paying in and lots of people abusing the system. You are absolutely correct with the job problem. Even 40 year old have a hart time finding jobs. People with zero experience are cheaper and what a nonsense that is.


    • Social Security was fine until Reagan raided it and used the money for his pet projects. Once Social Security was left unprotected and dumped in the “general fund” in the 1980s, we were all screwed. Everyone gets to pay for short-sighted political agendas, incredibly poor management, and lack of basic commonsense or even moderately intelligent decision making.

      I personally think after a lifetime of work and paying taxes, everyone should know they will not have to live out their old age in desperate poverty. All civilized nations provide at least basic living for citizens … except us.

      Social Security is not a gift. We PAID for it. Garry and I probably paid enough money into Social Security over the years to support a small country and the pittance we get back will never equal what we paid in. We paid more in social security taxes when we were both working than most people in this country can hope to earn.

      Just because Hillary is running does not mean she will be elected.I would be pleased if she did win, if for no better reason than it’s time a woman got to screw up the job. I wonder exactly how sweet she is. She was, the couple of times I met her, pleasant and personable as was Bill, but politicians are all very pleasant and personable. It’s part of the job description.

      Behind closed doors? “Sweet old ladies” do NOT become heads of major political parties or run for president. They’d never survive the sharks in those waters.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am a democrat, as you probably noticed already – but have a hard time with Hillary Clinton trying to be the nominee. I want a female President as well, since a long time..we are so behind. My dream candidate would be Elizabeth Warren. As for Hillary Clinton, It’s an age thing, imagine she would be in her mid 70’s in her 2nd therm. The most retire from the Presidency at this age. Social security is a scary thing. I have 13 more years, I do wonder.


        • I like Hillary, personally, but she has a lot of baggage. Too much of the wrong kind to be effective, in my opinion. I also thought Obama was too inexperienced (Garry thought the same). It doesn’t matter what we think. I just hope for the best. If we are finally going to get a woman in office, let’s hope she’s a good one.


          • I always joke that I would like to see a Latino American female President, half of the republican party would be unconscious for about 4 years and we might get some things done LOL. A woman would be nice as long as her first name isn’t Sarah 🙂


            • I often wonder if there is such a thing as a good candidate anymore. The last really effective president we had was Lyndon Baines Johnson … more than 50 years ago. Everybody hated him, but he got us Medicare, Medicaid AND the Civil Right Amendment. Since then, it has been one disappointment after another. Hopes high, then a long descent into ineffectiveness.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I did like Clinton. I feel that our Presidents are more and more like the Queen of England. Representation only…not much to say. It’s down to the game between two parties in senate and house. The last 8 years were not for the people, the last 8 years were for people ego. In sport you would defense killed the game.


                • l LOVED Bill. Personally and as president and I was furious with him for not keeping his fly zipped while he was in office. I don’t frankly care that he’s a dog. Most politicians are, male and female … but couldn’t he have kept it in his pants while he was in office? So the business of governing could take place? Did he really think no one would notice? The days of the press looking the other way are very long gone and he was a very smart guy. I was so pissed at him because he had the potential to accomplish so much, then he shot himself in the foot. Both feet. But I loved him anyway. And I found him surprisingly attractive.

                  Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the freedom of being able to speak you’re mind instead of always having to tip toe over certrain subjects. As a child I adroed my grandmother. Couldn’t wait to be just like her.


  6. I LOVE the photo. Garry sitting in the center of the “triangle” of dogs eating is just such a great shot. Is he in there to keep them separate, is he in there pondering the life of a dog, is he in there just because it is a good place to be? The hell with aging and social security,that is a great pic. 🙂


    • Garry is the official Dog God.. He is the referee (“Eat your OWN food!”) and coach (“Nan, no, this is eating time. We go out AFTER we eat.”) As our dogs have gotten older, they need encouragement to finish their dinner. Nan has a touch of doggy dementia.

      It’s a funnier scene when I’m the one on the floor I’m not sure how I’m going to get back up.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I retired at 60 and felt as young as I did at 45! I read a book “Half Time”. I cannot remember the author. and another book by JI Packer , I don’t remember the title, about being aliens of this world and really actually citizens of Heaven, where we practice here in this alien world to ready ourselves for our future/eternal home.
    To me, those books went hand in hand and made me see that I have a lot of living left to do: both physical and spiritual. The spiritual grows out of the physical work. During these last five years of “Half Time”, I have learned so much about myself that I did not know and have had the time to express and share it on both physical and spiritual planes. I have not been put our to pasture! All I do now is a culmination of my “First and Second Inning” life experiences. Without them, I would not be who I am today-the good and the bad. I look forward to growing older, for with it comes more wisdom and challenge.


    • I was doing pretty well at 60. Then came cancer twice and ulcers and arthritis and many types of heart surgery. It’s not always a choice, you know? Some of us just have physical problems that you can’t get past with a positive attitude. I appreciate your joy in your aging state and hope that you are blessed with the good health to keep it going.

      And if you don’t have enough money to live on and you can’t get a job … and/or are physically unable to work at the stuff you did when you are young, what then?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marilyn, I had some health problems that kept me from being able to work as well. I hired attorneys who were able to get ssa diability for me plus back payments. Binder and Binder. They were excellent. It took 16 months but it was worth it. I will be 65 this dec. and will continue with the same amount plus more insurance benefits. AARP has a lot of good affordable insurance fill in the gaps. My health problems are not nearly as serious as yours sound. Go online and give it a try, girl! You are in my prayers!!
        Myra Dingle


  8. One thing it means is young people need to think retirement the first day on the job and put away 10 or 15% from the beginning so they can get out of the rat race when they’re ready, not when SS gives them the best benefit. It also means that anyone who is going to rely on SS in the future should push for all income to have SS tax and not just the first 118,500.


    • There are a rare few who will do that, but young and “saving for retirement” are a bit oxymoronic. What kid with his or her first job can even imagine being old and unable to work? Moreover, pension plans all calculate Social Security benefits as part of the package. They figure “Social Security” PLUS this and that will be enough to live on. It is complicated and the target keeps changing. It really helps to have a career where you make enough money that there’s enough to live on AND save. Many of us didn’t have that until quite late. Too late.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is very, very difficult to put money away for retirement when one is not making enough money to live on in the first place.

      I am a “young person,” at least relatively — I’ll be 43 in a couple of weeks. I’m also disabled. Despite having a college degree, I’m “not employable,” by normal standards. (It’s my own fault for getting a degree in education, right? I should have majored in something practical.) I’ve been depending on Social Security since I was in my late 20s. I don’t HAVE any money to put away for when I’m older.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I completely understand. I have been there most of my life. I had a few good years, late in my career, but by then, it was many dollars short and decades late.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, it isn’t possible for everyone. That’s one of the reasons I think ALL of the upper income should be taxed for SS, not just that below 118,500 like it is now – the majority of the money being made isn’t taxed for SS. If it was there wouldn’t be as many of the problems we have with it now. There is no one size fits all solution – for instance, if you are already receiving some benefits then you aren’t the same case Marilyn was talking about who won’t be able to collect until they are 67 or 70 or what ever the age will be pushed to in the future.


        • Oh I get benefits, such as they are. It’s kind of funny after putting so much money in, to get so little back. But my husband’s pensions are ridiculously small, totally out of whack with what was promised and what reality demands. Many of my friends are finding themselves working well into their 70s because their 401K went down the tubes 10 years ago. Investing is a great thing, but it’s a gamble. We need a functional social security system that will provide something resembling security, at least enough to live without fear of starving. Not a gamble, not luck. Something all working people can rely on and know they won’t end up paupers when they get too old or sick to work.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m not arguing against that. I also think there should be universal health care, not the health care lite we got with the Affordable Health Care Act And I hate that our tax system is designed to keep the rich rich and gives us the lowest upward mobility of any industrialized country (I can’t write what I think is trickling down on us in a “trickle down” economy because your site is supposed to be family friendly). But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for these changes – we’re up against the greatest propaganda machine ever created, one greater than Hitler or Stalin could dream possible, yet it makes a huge profit. Fox news has convinced the people who need these services that they were created by Satan to destroy America.


  9. I just got my Social Security statement a few weeks ago and was looking at what I have in store should I make it into my late 60’s or, heaven forbid, become disabled. It makes my Mecca paycheck look like a mother lode. Guess I better keep pinching those pennies into my 401K…. assuming the stock market doesn’t collapse in the meantime…


    • It’s pretty scary, especially when you consider the cost of living isn’t going to get cheaper. I don’t know why someone in the government always thinks it’s cheaper to live when you are old. They RAISE the “poverty” guidelines the day you turn 65 and take a way a lot of the assistance programs that were available before. I guess none of them have to live on those benefits — or figure on needing assistance.


  10. It’s funny how it’s always “sweet old lady” and “grumpy old man”. I’m looking forward to being a grumpy old man 🙂


  11. Yeah, in SA too. An old farmer, hehe, for which I regularly helped out when they took a break, had regular fights with his agriculture graduated son, because he now knew best. The farmer told me one day on that point, why should I let him make the mistakes I have already made and paid for. Sometimes we need to learn with mistakes, but sometimes we need to listen and take in the experiences of others, even if it would just result in a balanced reasoning. Yes grumpy is less probable to communicate effectively, but walking around with blinders is just as bad.


  12. It is. They don’t seem to care that age means that some jobs are physically harder when you get older. Especially if they are the kind of jobs that are hard anyway. My sister and I worked as cleaners. I stopped doing it when I started having constant back problems. Bending to clean bathtubs and make beds is hard when you do it several hours a day, even more so when they want it done faster and faster. I couldn’t keep up and although nobody forced me I felt that I was looked on as dead weight so I left. I did what they tell you to do and went and studied for a less physical job but guess what. Nobody wants a 50 plus entry level office worker. My sister has a range of aches and pains that make me seriously worry about the two jobs she works in order to keep herself and her pets. She is single and sees no prospect of retiring before 67 except that elusive Lotto win.
    We have turned into a couple of cranky middle aged ladies as we see the world as being a less pleasant place than it was thirty years ago. We pretty much agree that if we hate something it is bound to be really popular.
    However we have a laugh when we can and try to make the most of each day because the alternative would make life too depressing for words.


  13. Yup………..it’s happening in Australia too, and not just the cranky, snarky part

    Liked by 1 person

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