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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why We need To Educate Our Youth About Aging

A young man came into where I work today and said "are you excited". I said about what, he replied going home -it's almost closing. I chuckled inside and said not really. "Why" he replied. And I said "because I have gone home after work for over 38 years and I already know what to expect". His perception of after work is fun,excitement, going out, or making love. Having a fun time and enjoying his "after work time". He can not possibly fathom that my after work time is wondering if my back will cause me more or less pain today. Will I be stupid enough today to do what I did yesterday-pull a hot pan out of the oven without something to protect myself. That my idea of an ok night is to win playing checkers or enjoy my dinner without my teeth hurting me.
His world is so different from mine that he cannot understand how I could view my death as a release and a new beginning.

Aging and death are something we as a nation fear. Even though it happens to all of us. I find myself at odds with younger people all the time about why I don't want to go shopping or go see a movie. They do not perceive that I have been doing these things for decades before they were even born. And that the fun or excitement they get-is just the same ol shit to me now.
With baby boomers coming into age in large numbers and fewer youngsters around I think it is important that our young people be taught about aging. How it affects us, why we react or think differently about life and its activities.  Why a night of fun for them would be a miserable time for us. Their world is not ours. But if they understand it-maybe they will better deal with all of us ol foggies. Instead of kicking us to the curb and deciding we are useless.
    It is not to say that I no longer have fun. I do. It's a different kind of fun. I enjoy imparting my know how about subjects I know well. I like to use my wit to make others laugh and glow. I enjoy trying to lend a sympathetic ear, that only an older person has, to help them deal with their life problems. Things that I have faced successfully and come out ahead.
  Many times I will talk to the younger people about my death. they perceive death as a bad thing and to be avoided at all costs. They do not understand how many deaths I have seen. Or how many wonderful people I have lost. That as a realist I know mine is coming, but I no longer fear it. That I can talk about it-and not view it with fear, but as a normal and expected function of the natural world.
As a christian I believe that who so believeth in me shall be saved. That a future awaits me without any more pain and suffering. That I truly have an eternity to look forward to without the doubts, and fears that are omnipresent in a worldly life. That death is and can be a good thing. For the perpetuity of the natural order of a worldly life, and for the extension of a new kind of existence. One which has infinite possibilities and freedom from the restraints of a worldly life.
If you are older and know many young people, talk to them. Explain how you feel and why. With an ever burgeoning senior population understanding is becoming more important ever.

From Steve Jobs Of Apple on dying:

After Mr. Jobs was told he had cancer but before it was clear that it would ultimately claim his life, Mr. Jobs told his audience that “death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent.”
The benefit of death, he said, is you know not to waste life living someone else’s choices.
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

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