How I want to get old.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Spent another couple of hours with the elderly neighbor today, and it has occurred to me that I've observed how many people age and get old. And this is what I've learned:
I do NOT want to stay in my house No Matter What, like it's some kind of badge of honor. If all I can manage to do is to sit alone in my house, I'm selling the damn thing and moving into a retirement community.
I will NOT maintain grudges and constantly talk about past hurts and slights. I've listened to people talk about a fight they've had with someone only to find out it happened 25 years ago! When you get old, the number of people in your world diminishes fast so you better put that garbage behind you and enjoy the people who will put up with YOU!
I will NOT isolate myself. I will go to the senior center for activities and lunch, I will go to the library and join clubs. I will volunteer at the local elementary school -- they can always use people to listen to the children read, or interact with them on the playground and lunchroom.
I will not live in the past! I know old people miss their spouses who have died a decade or more ago. But what is gained by refusing to move on?
I will not be demanding! I will not expect my children to "do" everything for me. Last summer when we visited TC's mother she actually got MAD when he mentioned he had done some yard work for another elderly relative. She said -- IF YOU'VE GOT TIME TO DO YARD WORK FOR PEOPLE, YOU SHOULD BE DOING IT FOR ME! And I'll tell you, the more she demands, the less we want to do for her.
Now I also know several people who have aged really well -- who are optimistic, who are important members of their church and community, who keep their minds active with reading, watching the news, and doing puzzles. They own pets to keep them company. They volunteer for Red Cross, or at the Senior Center. They are always thrilled with every little thing you do or bring and don't focus on what you AREN'T doing for them!
That's the kind of old person I plan to be!