The American way of aging, steeped in stultifying tradition and flawed conventional wisdom of a bygone era, is slowly changing.
But for now, tradition and custom still dominate. You know routine: Around age 50 an accelerating number of sound bites, events and dire warnings about inescapable problems and pitfalls of aging are relentless reminders life is winding down.
You are deemed lazy or irresponsible if you have not prepared to acquire that contagious, debilitating disease called retirement – a political absurdity of Depression Era that short-circuits life and potential of many capable people and, burdens society in too many ways to count.
Bombarded by countless predictions of impending disability and death, you start looking for signs of your own decline. A momentary memory lapse, which everyone experiences, regardless of age, results in a panicky “I’m having a senior moment.” I have never heard a teenager experiencing a memory lapse (and they have plenty of them) berate him or herself with “I’m having a junior moment.”
You drop something and immediately declare, “I must be getting old.” Young people drop things all time and don’t imagine they are getting old. They just bend over and pick it up. Youth doesn’t sweat small stuff – why should you?
The advent of age 60 can really accelerate “old age” wrecking ball. Tradition says it’s time to leave real world. It’s time to travel and play golf rest of your life.
Social and family pressure convinces you home you’ve lived in all your life is now “too much” for you. So you move to a retirement community where you not only enjoy comfort and camaraderie of peers, but you are also vulnerable to reality of Grim Reaper who manifests himself in an abnormal concentration of sickness, depression, and death.
You adopt attitudes and behaviors that instruct your subconscious to help you let go of life. You kid yourself that you are just taking time to smell roses but before you know it, roses are on your coffin and you are pushing up daises.