Seniors are cool. No, really we are. We’ve managed to stay alive for several decades, thanks to a modern medicine, living in the right place, looking both ways before crossing a street and not running into too many psychopaths. We have a vast treasure of life’s wisdom in our heads (if only we could get those young whippersnappers to listen once in a while).1 Except for an occasional trip down Memory Lane, we have forgotten what it was like to be young and stupid.
On the other hand, we would give our right eyes, arms, boobs or testicles to be young again. That’s not going to happen. We had our chance. If we blew it, it’s too bad. Finito. Done. Over. Once there were greenfields, warmed by the sun . . Oh, shut up, Kathy!
Where was I? Oh yes .
On to Plan B: stop acting like old fogeys. Just because we are a little long in the tooth doesn’t mean we have to act our age. Here are some tips about how to hold age at bay and have some fun at the same time:
1. Repeat after me: “I, (insert your name here), do hereby solemnly swear that I will not bring up the subject of ailments at any time, unless all other topics have been exhausted, including politics and religion. If someone else starts to talk about aches and pains, I will make sympathy noises then change the subject as soon as possible without hurting anyone’s feelings.”
2. Everybody is using newfangled gadgets. To seniors, this can be confusing and appalling and it “keeps people from really being in touch with each other.” This is nothing new. Our own recent ancestors resisted getting phonographs, automobiles, telephones, radios and television sets.
Today’s devices are not only here to stay, they are constantly being updated. The earth does not stand still, and if you try to stand still you’ll be ejected out into space, where it’s cold and dark with much weeping and gnashing of dentures. Give in and buy a cell phone, iPod, PC, laptop computer or whatever other modern devices you don’t already have that could make your existence easier once you get accustomed to it. Once you buy something, or someone buys it for you, learn to use it and get used to the blasted thing. Don’t worry: you don’t have to do anything fancy on it if you can’t be bothered. Don’t be stubborn. Nothing can be of much use if it is still sitting in its original box, unopened.2 If you run into trouble, just ask your ten year old grandson to dig you out. He already thinks you’re hopelessly past your sell-by date, so why spoil yet another of his illusions?
3. Laugh a lot. It will flood your brain with happy hormones and smooth out those frown lines. If those dumb old age jokes make you laugh and help you cope with getting older, go for them.3 If it makes you roll on the floor laughing your tail off until your eyes turn to waterfalls and snot is coming out your nose, it’s good for you. Don’t knock it. Being old doesn’t mean you have to be a grouch.
4. Don’t assume that every neighborhood teenager has been put on this earth just to get on your last nerve. Remember way back when? You were just as noisy, rambunctious, giggly and stupid. Yes, you were. Just ask anyone who knew you. Did your parents know about that reefer you used to pass around behind the bushes in the park or how far you went in the back seat of that T-bird? I didn’t think so.
5. Do not let any of the following sentences escape your lips:
“I’ll be so glad when the holidays are over.”
“Christmas is just for the kids.”
“I hate Christmas; it’s so commercial.”
Try to enjoy holidays (whichever ones you celebrate) even if it kills you. You can do it. If family holidays give you ulcers, hives, a migraine and a nervous breakdown, celebrate with friends instead (or on the side). Make your own fun with people you enjoy being around. You’ll be happy you did it.
See what I mean? You don’t have to be old if you don’t want to.
1Kids nowadays! I tell you!
2Oops! Maybe it’s time for me to take that video camera out of its shrinkwrap and read the directions. (Insert fancy animated emoticon of embarrassment here.)
3Just don’t share them with me, especially when I am eating.
Oh by the way, “Greenfields” was a hit song sung by The Brothers Four. If you are old enough to remember it, this article is for you.