I am definitely in the age cohort referred to as “seniors.” But I am not going there. Ever.
This is not about age, this is about mindset. I don’t like the kind of person a “senior” is. I spent part of this morning at a “senior center,” and the experience is still chaffing. I finally understand why I detest the “senior” thing.
“Senior”–as in “Give me my damn discount.” Senior–as in “I don’t want to figure it out so you do it for me.” Senior–as in “I’m ‘old’ so you need to take care of me.” Senior–as in “I’m entitled to complain but if you offer something that might help me, I don’t have to do it–because I’m a senior and we’re exempt from having to do anything we don’t want to do.”
While I was waiting to teach a class that this particular senior center asked me to create for them–for free–I got to listen to the routine conversations in the main room of the center. One woman was whining because her son “only” came to visit her once a week. She was being denied the treatment she felt she deserved because he wasn’t available to give her rides whenever she needed them. He managed a busy local restaurant! Since when did giving birth guarantee you a fulltime chauffeur in your advanced years? Most mothers would feel pretty lucky if a busy son stopped by every week.
Another conversation was about bus service, which is being cut back because of the budget crisis. That complaint was about crowded buses. If it’s still running to where you want to go, be grateful! Empty buses may be more comfortable for you, but they are wasting everyone’s money and also polluting the air a lot more per person that a full bus does. And by the way, the bus system isn’t just for you. A lot of younger workers need it to get to a job. That job supports the economy that supports you. Time for a little gratitude, maybe?
The class I was to teach never happened. They said they wanted it, but no one bothered to show up when it was offered. The county library system faces the same challenge. There’s an “I can do whatever I want because I’m a senior” mentality that’s really ugly when it’s coupled with an expectation that the rest of us are “supposed” to be right there to help out with whatever a “senior” can’t do.
Too often, “can’t” is really “I don’t want to.” Too often, the brains they have themselves turn to mush because it’s so much easier to ask someone else to do the thinking. Too often, a senior’s automatic solution is to expect someone else to find the right solution. This is a stupid way to live a life and a stupid thing to support.
No more seniors! Senior status is a crock. It’s lazy people outraged at the idea that they have to deal with reality like the rest of us.
We need to start expecting people every age to do as much as they can to take care of themselves. Enough of the “oh you poor dear, let me do it for you” crap. People thrive when they can demonstrate their own competence no matter how old they are. They can do even more difficult things once they prove they can get one difficult thing done. Taking this away in the name of “senior status” is a travesty.
Those who are old enough to let it happen are idiots to buy in on it. I am old enough to be a “senior.” After this morning, you’d be wise not to call me one. I might “punch out your lights.” I am not going to ever be a senior. I am going to be as producticve and independent as I can for as long as I live. I am going to learn and do my best to solve my own problems. It may take me fifteen minutes to walk twenty feet to my mailbox when I am 101 but I will still do it myself. I am NOT going to be a senior!