Friday, November 16, 2012


Even at 6 I was a curmudgeon! *
For many years I’ve had a beautifully printed and framed quotation from Dorothy Canfield Fisher, the author, social activist, and educational reformer who brought the Montessori method of childhood education to America: “One of the many things nobody ever tells you about middle age is that it’s such a nice change from being young.”  The saying ‘spoke’ to me twenty years ago, and with a change from “middle” to “old”, it speaks volumes to me today.
The concerns of the old are many and varied – in as many and various ways as are those of the young - but we are usually more philosophical about our concerns. I suppose it’s because we probably won’t have to deal with them for too much longer. Fatalistic? Could be, could possibly be. 

My cousin’s husband’s Aunt Grace – got that? – was a character.  At seventy she believed she could say and do anything she wanted because her years had earned her the privilege. Unfortunately, I mentioned this to my Mother and she took up the practice. I’d rather she hadn’t because she was often unthinkingly unkind to people who couldn’t easily retaliate. I’m not going to follow in those footsteps, but lately I find, more and more, that I would really like to rip a stripe off of one or two selected miscreants. I shall resist the temptation to do so.

What I do enjoy now is looking at the lives of the younger folks – some of the younger baby boomers, the Gen X-ers, those ‘thirty-somethings – and just going “Tsk, tsk, tsk.”  What are they thinking?  Not that I have all the answers, but it’s such fun to kibitz, and even whine occasionally – but only in private, of course.  Years ago I was sure everyone was looking at me - kibitzing, whining, judging - and I was partially right: the seniors around me were probably enjoying doing the same things I do now.

I am glad for some of the privileges I now have as a Senior Citizen. I’ve always had my moments, but now I am able to qualify and dismiss them as being “senior.” I love and take advantage of senior discounts in stores, on the train, in restaurants.  A selection from any fast food chain’s dollar menu and a senior drink make for a quick, inexpensive lunch when I’m out and about.

I can see a time in the future when Senor discounts will be a thing of the past.  Fortunately for us our own ratio is fairly good, but it’s predicted that by 2030 we will have 33 seniors for every 100 working Americans – one to three. (In some countries it will be one to less than two!  I can’t imagine life among so many old people.) Even though I enjoy the privilege, I really don’t see what entitles one quarter of us to discounts just because we made it to age fifty or so. Just my own opinion – feel free to argue. 

Earlier this year I gave our son’s oldest daughter a copy of A.A. Milne’s “Now We Are Six” – for her sixth birthday, of course. (I also got her “Eloise’s Guide to Life or How to Eat, Dress, Travel, Behave, and Stay Six Forever.” That one’s from her silly, irreverent Grammy, not her serious Grammy.  Both Grammys wish ‘we’ were six again and knew what we know now.) I thought about putting together an essay on arriving at the wonderful age of seventy, only to find that Milne had beat me to the title. He also beat me to “Now We Are Seventy-five”, but I’ll whine about that in five years.  I’m seriously, actively delighted to be here, starting in on my eighth decade.  It’s a hoot!

*See Anything For Thanksgiving  to find out why I was decked out that way.


  1. Very, very well put from one just a few years behind you. Must pass this on because you wrote exactly what's been in my mind these days.



    1. Thanks Bird! It's nice to have you here again. You are just the type of person I have in mind as I write. :-) Lee