Sunday, January 29, 2012

Whats So Embarassing About Old Age?

I have been thinking about the title of this blog. A little research has led me to the discovery that I am past being  “ of a certain age” and moved on to just being an old lady. This leads me to wonder if being old has always been embarrassing. I recently started a new job in a call center.  Many of the people who call in are elderly (my age) and our  trainer refers to these clients as “seasoned” members (wink, wink).  Meaning that we can't expect them to have their wits about them. 

I was thinking about all this yesterday when I stumbled across an opinion piece by Carole Simpson on the CNN website, who wrote about the negative feelings that young people in her college class have about old people. At the same time, she revealed her own negative feelings about old people, and being old herself, by suggeting that the best way to command respect in old age is to  color your hair, have plastic surgery, dress fashionably and just pretend to be young.  She also cites examples of many role models, all of whom are celebrities with enormous resources.   She is a particular fan of Betty White (aren't we all) as an example of aging well. Betty White is  a comedian who is  reaping the rewards of playing the role of the sassy little old lady.  That role is not so lucrative for most older women. She makes no allowances for lack of resources, loneliness, failing health and the many things that may be outside of one's control. 

Old age is part of the normal life cycle.  We do not need a euphemism to describe it. I feel like I'm coming out of the closet by declaring that my certain age is 65. 

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.


  1. One thing I've been looking forward to as I've gotten older, is caring less about myself and more about those around me. Ideally, I'll also gain a bit of wisdom...but that remains to be seen.

  2. I turn 50 this year and fully embrace it. Fifty isn't old but I'm pretty shocked at the number of people in their 50 who seem resigned to the idea that they are old and falling apart. I have my own little aches and pains that cramp my style (at the moment my cramping knee has kept me from running since December) but I don't have much patience for participating in pity parties about it.

    I still look fairly young but I found myself the other day fantisizing about sitting on my front porch in 20 years knitting in jeans and a floral blouse with a glass of wine and a face full of wrinkles. Damn, I thought. I look pretty good at 70. Ha! I just hope I have a front porch to sit on. I know what you mean about people with means doling out advice to those of us with more limited resources. I'm hoping to pull together adequate financial aid to return to school and get a master's degree in social work (since 3 degrees just isn't sufficient proof of ability to learn in the "post" Great Recession economy). Luckily, MSW programs are contaminated by middle aged people like myself, and besides, I plan to focus on gerontology!

    1. MSW programs ARE contaminated by middle aged people like yourself! I completed an MSW at the age of 54. Yes, I got a job! Albeit one with low pay and high stress. It is one field where a little age is helpful I imagine it will be especially helpful in the area of gerontology.

      I now work in a call center. I will be posting about that soon.

      Thanks for reading.