I admit to being creaky and making funny noises before I get warmed up but I fiercely dispute the societal assumption that Senior Citizens are like used cars ready for the junk heap.
An odometer does not measure experience, wisdom and perspective.
As the venerable lexicographer Peter Roget tells us, being a ‘senior’ is not solely synonymous with being older. Borrowing from his lexicon I suggest a new term to replace Senior Citizen. How about Chief or Superior or Leading Citizen?
Being retired does not have to morph into one long nap. Slowing down does not equate to becoming ineffective and irrelevant. To the contrary, my octogenarian’s eyesight is an Optometrist’s nightmare but I see things infinitely more clearly now. I have acquired the ability to look inside myself!
I can look back at my life, underscoring what I enjoyed most and what I liked least about my wildly careening career and equally high speed personal life.
I can see I was manic when I was one of the Mad Men but it wasn’t all cynicism and competition and pursuit of the corner office; there were accomplishments and friendships and inestimable creative satisfaction.
I can see I was not the best husband or ideal father but it wasn’t all angst and argument and regret; there were shared events and acts of generosity and limitless unconditional love.
And having seen there was ample good along with the bad, I can be grateful for the Eureka moment when at long last, I forgave myself.
I have closed the “What if…” file. I am content with the “This is it…” file. I am comfortable in my own wrinkly skin. Instead of bemoaning the unfulfilled ambitions of youth I am reviving them as present day aspirations. This post is an example; for better or worse I have become a writer.
I write candidly about the regrets and revelations that accompany the aging process but I don’t feel old. The motor still purrs. I feel useful and productive.
It’s a good mantra for all of us who “ain’t what we used to be.” We still have work to do. So get busy.