A few days ago I watched an interesting program on New Hampshire Public Television, which focused on the image or concept of senior citizens.

Since I’m so busy, like most of you, I hardly have time to consider the image I project, or for that matter what people think about me.

The half-dozen seniors who were discussing this issue of image, hit the nail on the head when they related that younger people think of seniors as “different” and cannot imagine that their lives are not so different than those of younger people.

We’ve all experienced the quick look of a youngster when we’ve made a joke or commented on a song from the 1960s. They can’t imagine that we, like them, once knew the names of all the popular music groups, the words to all the songs. And, like them, we heard our parents scoff at the music.

Even now, 50 years later, I can reel off the most popular groups or singers of the 50s and what they sang. The biggest difference between then and now is that my generation listened to a non-portable radio and today, music is available from anything electronic, including a phone, I imagine.

It must be difficult for a 15-year-old to imagine their grandmother or grandfather dancing or playing baseball or learning to drive. Years ago, I recall a day when my mother chased a dog away from the yard behind her house and inside, her 4-year-old grandson watched, enthralled. He turned to me and said, “Look, Grammy can run!”

Kids love to challenge their elders. When my son was 12 or 13, he asked me what kind of motorcycle I liked best. He probably thought I didn’t know what a motorcycle was, but when I quickly said Harley Davidson (and added that I had ridden on them), it was as though the most amazing discovery had been made. Immediately he went to the phone and called one of his friends to announce that “Mamma used to ride a Harley Davidson!” You should have seen the admiring look I got that day.

Some see senior citizens as a group of retired people with not much to do but plenty of retirement funds to become instant philanthropists. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a group, most of us have learned how to get along on less, and in fact, our growing up years, with all the accompanying wars and depressions, have helped prepare us for living more frugally. The majority of retirees continue to work part-time, some full-time, and some as consultants. Some, like those who retire from the military, get a second career working in law enforcement. With reduced income (Social Security) and inflation, most of us work harder than we ever did when we were younger.

Seniors are no different that 40-year-olds or 20-year-olds, unless health deteriorates, causing the body to slow down or become impaired. But given the health of most of America’s younger people, I’m not sure there’s that much a difference. I think of the obesity problems of the young, the rise in diabetes, the risk to their heart, and other dangers they expose themselves to.

As we get older, our hearing may lose its edge, but have you listened lately to the volume today’s youth prefers? If I were a betting person, I’d bet their hearing won’t last as long as that of their elders. We may walk a little slower (but we walk a lot), we may need a nap once in a while, and we may need to have things repeated, but basically, we’re just the same as we were, except we’re in a different package!

Let’s face it, deep down inside, don’t you feel like you are 16 or 30 or 50? Most days, that is.


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