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 their minds. We don’t have much to lose, so why not?

Our body is not the only part of us that ages. Our personalities change. We have less patience. We’ve stood on a lot of lines, argued with too many customer disservice people. We don’t see as well as we did and our hearing isn’t as good. We’re tired of the fight to keep going. We hoped by this point in our lives, life would be easier. Unfortunately, it is rarely easier and sweet isn’t even close to how we feel.

It’s possible the only people who find old people sweet are our grandchildren. Everyone else gets the sharp edge of our tongues and the temper.

American culture has little use for old folks unless they are very rich. It’s obvious. 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, even if those kids can’t actually do the job.

Taken by stranger in the park. Not too shabby for ages 74 and 79.

It turns out, older, irascible guys and gals resent being told how to do their jobs by kids who have zero experience but lots of opinions. Mature people are not easy to manage and don’t willingly gulp company Kool-Aid.

To make the cycle perfect, the Social Security retirement age has been steadily going up. Youngsters are going to have to find a way to stay on the job until they are 67, 68, even 70. Probably it’ll get up to 80 eventually including a not-so-subtle hint that the world — or at least our economy — would be improved if we died before needing benefits. Young people don’t think much about getting old. They think it’s a disease they can avoid.

Age is not an illness. It’s the thing that happens if you don’t die young. It’s supposed to be a reward. Living to a ripe old age is supposed to be a good thing.

Statistics prove people are living longer, so the great minds in Washington figure that means we should also work longer. Except for the minor detail that by the time you hit 50, no one will hire you. So between the time when work really ends and the beginning of whatever pathetic version of social security that generation gets, there will likely be at least a decade or two of trying to survive with no income and no pension. It’s bad now, but by the time today’s youth hits senior citizen status, it will be much, much worse. It’s a frightening specter.

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: Culture, Getting old, Retirement

Tags: , , ,

22 replies

  1. I like the photo of you two, Marilyn.


  2. I haven’t given a lot of thought to “old” people, even though I am most certainly one of them. I do wish our society would place less emphasis on youth, being thin and energetic, what it determines is beauty, and start appreciating those who are beautiful in their own ways, no matter how they look or the age they are. I do find I am less patient and more likely to say what I think than I was in my younger years. My attitude is largely “just deal with it!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • My problem isn’t attitude. It’s poverty. I’m sure I’d be in a better mood if, for example, I could get my teeth fixed, buy a pair of hearing aids, and afford a new pair of eyeglasses. For that matter, if I could afford the doctor who can make my spine stop hurting! It’s amazing how much constant pain makes your personality deteriorate. Good cheer is often determined by having sufficient funds to make life pleasant instead of a tooth-grinding pain in the ass.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You make some very good points. Love the photo, you two!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The photo was taken by a total stranger — I wish I’d thought to get her name. She actually took a LOT of pictures. She was determined to get at least one really good one. It’s funny how that happens. ALL out good “together” pictures in recent years have been taken by friendly strangers in parking lots or parks.

      Otherwise, those good points have been obvious for at least the past 20 years. It shows a total lack of foresight by governments who don’t seem to realize that older people are also spenders. We don’t work, but we most certainly SHOP, donate, and volunteer. We can — and ought — to be the backup to the younger generations. Instead, we are barely able to survive and it’s just getting worse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Becky, don’t they look like America’s Sweethearts?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Exactly! To me raising the retirement age makes no sense. People of 70 can’t do the physical work they did at 40. I can’t help thinking that if the retirement age was lowered back to what it was 20 years ago and the pension was something you could actually live on it might be good for the economy.. Retired people renovating their homes or moving, travelling, taking up hobbies. Plus they would have more time for community activities like volunteering.
    I get really cranky about this subject but and not just because I’m getting older.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There’s a total lack of vision among governments. No one can see what WILL happen, only what it might cost them right now. The irony is fixing this would not cost anyone very much money. When the cost is spread among an entire population with the richest bearing the most, it comes down to a few dollars a month — the price of a cup of coffee at a popular coffee shop.

      Older people are SPENDERS. We vacation. We eat out. We buy stuff for ourselves. We buy things for our kids and grandkids. We donate money. We volunteer. All of which is impossible when we have to live in penury. I can’t work anymore, but I can still enjoy the world, given a little something with which to do it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Tas, I just get cranky.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Brother. That old saying “Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it will” is true ain’t it? What a sobering post and a wake up call to anybody of employable age, no matter how young or old. And they keep telling those of us who see the writing on the wall and would just as soon bow out as keep struggling that we’re ‘depressed and not in our right minds’. Bullshit. I’m sharing this post on, as I think more people need to see that writing. Thanks guys! ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard for me to imagine that others don’t see what’s happening, but a lot of people are very out of touch with reality. Denial is their weapon of war. The worse part? No amount of denial will change the future. Regardless, it will come. Oh well. Given our state of the physical Earth, maybe it won’t matter by then.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. that’s a sad state of affairs, but seems to be the way it’s headed

    Liked by 1 person


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