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.
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, "Morituri Salutamus"