My Mom, when she was 80, said to me, “Bernie, I wish I was 20 and knew then what I know now.” My response was, “Mom, That’s a contradiction in terms.” Perhaps by sharing my experiences and what I have learned from the time I was 20 until now can help others. Just to prove I’m keeping up with the technology, from time to time I post my experiences on this blog. Trust me, when I was growing up we didn’t have blogs! In the following series of posts on aging, I’ll tell you about some of the issues I’ve faced and how I’ve dealt with them. My hope is that this series will help you, no matter what your age, to understand some of the challenges older folks, like me, have.
Aging is isolating. It’s harder to get around. Friends die off or disappear. Your energy level ain’t what it used to be. You can’t do what you used to. Much of the new technology leaves you behind. Even though I use a computer and even have a blog, I never learned to text or twitter. I-Phones with their Apps are too difficult to deal with, even if I could afford one on my limited budget. People don’t talk to one another now, not the way we used to. Instead of picking up the phone they e-mail or text, and I don’t use a cell phone except for emergencies. Moreover, younger people have their own lives and appropriately, their own agenda.
So what do I do under those circumstances? I do my best to understand and accept things for what they are. I take care of myself as best as I can, so I will be less of a burden on others. I’m not afraid to ask for help and I realize, of course, that I may or may not get it. I’m comfortable with myself, with who I am. My time alone, the time being with myself is enjoyable. It gives me the chance to reflect and figure out what I would like to do, what is important to me and what I want to do within my limitations. Importantly, now is the time to do it. And, I know I can still make a contribution. We all have something to offer. That’s true for younger folks as well as us older ones.
There may be some people out there who want to spend time with older people and who would like to hear what we have to say. There are those, perhaps including children, grandchildren and great grands, who would like to know what it was like when we grew up, what we experienced and what we have to tell them. Things have changed so that the young folks alive today can’t know what it was like for us. If we don’t tell our stories now, they could be lost forever. Remember, at some point if we’re lucky we all grow to be old! Understand, there’s no way that I believe that my way or experience is the only or the best one, but I can certainly tell you my stories.