Most older people handle things better than the younger generations.
While that’s a broad generalization, no apology for saying it will be forthcoming. And no poison emails, please, about your ability to cope better depending on many factors, including the particular situation and the tools available to cope. No one disagrees.
We have special capabilities.
The point is: elders are often seen as slow and inflexible, not able to shift and go with the flow, especially true of new ways of thinking and doing. This is the idea that chaps my hide.
Take the recent pandemic. There has been nothing so huge and so devastating, so dangerous and ruinous of every part of our lives that we have experienced. Part of our ability to cope better than most young people is our lifetime of experiences and mindset to back us up psychologically. While older people have been more vulnerable to COVID-19, our life skills tell us it’s possible to survive. We’ve been the largest group to listen to scientists and medical advisors and to heed their warnings and take the precautions they suggest seriously.
A week after Thanksgiving, the positive COVID tests in my community tripled. Of that number, nearly 50% testing positive for the virus were between 18 and 45 years of age. During the same time period, only 19% were 55 years and older.
Agreed; not having a family to support and huge bills to pay enhances our detachment and an increased laissez-faire attitude. And I concur that, without these constraints, we are able to shift and alter our behavior easier and quicker than, say, a 40-year-old trying to work from home and get her children home-schooled at the same time.
We cope better with being alone.
As elders we are less dependent on the need for in-person interactions and can survive and even thrive in spite of social distancing requirements. Without complaint, seniors have revised or cancelled their plans, especially difficult during the holidays, in order to stay safe and to keep others safe. We’re the first to limit grocery store visits, cancel or postpone non-emergency doctor’s appointments and move weekly or daily coffee fellowship gatherings to Zoom or FaceTime. For us there’s an excitement in making these changes. We’re doing the good thing, the right thing, for our vulnerable communities.
No argument that everyone misses family members who don’t live with them. So many grandparents miss the sweet tug of tiny hands on their wrinkly faces pulling them into the world of a small child who only wants your attention. I get choked up when I can’t hug you in kindness. I miss your smell and the feel of your arms around me.
And, in the future?
Going forward when you’re doing the best you can for yourself and others and while you continue developing new resources of comfort and joy until the time when we can be together again, give yourself a pat on the back for sturdy resilience. Don’t forget to check in on your friends who may be struggling and continue to encourage younger people who think they must bear the entire burden of a difficult time.
With resilience we’ll get through this, both the younger generations and hopefully the vast majority of elders in our world.
Wise words Antonia, on the whole I do agree with you. My own ‘mood’ and resilience meanders up and down yet here I am pretty much intact emotionally and physically! And here you are too, still writing, still being useful in reaching out to others with wise words and keeping connection and Spirits up. Bless you for that. I wish you a happy and healthful new year full of possibilities. Cathleen
Thank you, Cathleen, for sharing your experience, one that so many are feeling. Hopefully, the coming days will improve exponentially. I know, as a Canadian, you don’t live directly with our recent political craziness, but I know you care passionately about our well-being and how it affects the whole world. Glad to call you friend. Thanks too for continuing to read the blog.
A few weeks ago I was getting down worrying that, even after life “opened up” again, I might never get to do all I still want to do (primarily travel and see live theater and concerts). My bucket list has shortened over the years, but I still felt like I would be cheated of even the most basic things. I wished that I were at least 20 years younger.
Then, I thought about that. If I were in my mid-40s, and out of a job (as I am now), I’d be in full panic mode. I wouldn’t be able to help my son with college. Hell, I wouldn’t be able to pay my mortgage. The future would look particularly grim.
I’m grateful that my husband and I can live on our meager savings, his social security, and my unemployment (and then, my social security). I’m grateful for every damn day, and yes, I’m looking forward to getting back on the road and back in theaters someday (hopefully soon).
Thank you, Laurie, for sharing the reality of your situation these days. So many are experiencing what you are and are wondering if and when their lives will improve. At the same time, however, we celebrate with gratitude all that brings us to this moment. May the days ahead improve exponentially for us all! Cheers, my friend, and thanks, again, for your words.