Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Elder Value


Growing old is not for sissies as Bette Davis said. She said a lot more too, see above.

I was at an event attended by elders last night. One of my hobbies is observing elders in great big bunches, not that they'd notice, I'm pretty good at it. I can be looking at you and listening to something behind me.

The event was a BBQ and we had live music. All the old songs from our teen years, early rock, some country, some Irish, some Newfoundland music.

The conversation at my table (6 around it) focussed on the good old days and how great the parties were then, how perfect the music, how wonderfully we danced, things just weren't the same and the young don't know what they're missing glued to their screens 24/7

I restrain myself. I always do. I want to yell "horseshit" or "bollocks" for I know The Ladies would circulate a petition and have me tossed out of the building.

I was startled a little to see tears in a friend's eyes and I asked her what was wrong and she said the music always brought her back to her dancing days and how sad she was they were gone.

I mentioned that Grandgirl and I share our music every time we meet and that we had played one of her newest finds (Pink's album - fabulous)



and one of mine (Radical Face - equally fabulous)



And of course when our time together is over we have the music to resavour these more recent moments together and also have the opportunity to discuss why we like this music. For instance "Always Gold", a track from Radical Face, reminds me of Missing Daughter and how I long for her return.

The Ladies looked very confused and eyed me as if I had broken out in a foreign language. No response, apart from puzzlement.

My point in this post is that do us elders have values apart from our distant memories? Are we meant to walk around as if we are mere sarcophaguses of our past? Do we not have a capacity to initiate and create present moments?

I have no desire to "fit in" to some proscribed elder formula, sizing up others to see if they are fitting the geezer mould or alternatively breaking out into puzzling and gossip-worthy behaviours which are perceived as strange and alarming.

I'm aware I'm in a minority here.

But I wouldn't change it for anything.






15 comments:

  1. At almost fifty-nine, I still listen to a wide array of music, read constantly and love to have fun. I think that many elders get stuck in the past when they are only surrounded by other elders without regular contact from younger people and one of the worst things about getting older is isolation. I love that you share music with grand girl!

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    1. I also believe E that they shut themselves away from true communication with the young with these mothballed attitudes. Grandgirl and I have been sharing music since she was small and I got her hooked early on Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell, etc. She has now got me hooked on Lord Huron. Music is a wonderful communicator and a huge way of understanding others.
      XO
      WWW

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  2. I think it really depends on the group of people. On Monday, I have coffee with a tribe of women ages 65 (me) to 90, and we talk about a variety of stuff, laugh a lot, cry a little, talk about aches and pains sometimes, and lots of politics. I'm always amazed at the variety of topics and how little we talk of "the good old days." Our music tastes are varied, but nobody ever discounts the other person's choice. I love Pink, by the way. Not only her music, but her stance on women's issues and body positivity and her hair. Thanks for the introduction to Radical Face, btw.

    Sheila

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    1. Hi Sheila:
      I find my Book Club (nearly all elders) have the same type of conversations and we learn a lot from each other on every sphere of discussion. The past is only discussed on its relevance to today and having author visits as well keep us in the present.

      Isn't Pink marvellous? Radical Face has some fab music. I love their The Mute also.

      XO
      WWW

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  3. I was tickled to learn recently that an elderly friend of mine had a dark secret! She likes heavy metal and can hold her own in conversations about music with kids a fraction of her age much, to their delight! I was delighted too, though I'm not a fan of that particular music. There's no need to lump us all into the Perry Como set unless that's where we want to be!

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    1. Oh that is so wonderful Molly. No, I'm not a fan of the heavier either but its refreshing to see/hear others of an older age getting it on.

      We are never too old to find a new interest or passion.

      XO
      WWW

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  4. I recently had two occasions to spend time with two young men. One for the first time ever as he came to deliver a gift from a friend and the other, the son of a colleague who I met first when he was 7 years old and now after thirty years. On both occasions, I was thrilled to exchange views with these grand young men who in turn were equally thrilled or, at least said they were and that they would love to visit me regularly to charge their batteries as it were.

    I spent four hours driving up and four down to spend three hours with old colleagues, all now retired, and had an equally grand time without once talking about the good old times and complaining about the present generation.

    I have a choice. You perhaps have to live with these specimens and have to adjust.

    I wish that I could met your grandgirl. I would spoil her silly.

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    1. You have always been a man of enthusiasm Ramana and a fan of eternal learning. You would love Grandgirl and she you. Already at the age of 23 her life knows no bounds, working with victims of violence in Cambodia and as you know she was also teaching in India and met the Dalai Lama. She's on to Grad School in Toronto now but who knows your paths may one time cross. I hope so.

      XO
      WWW

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  5. Oh my, do I like your thinking. It’s grand. I simply cannot tolerate one more journey down memory lane by some old person who speaks slowly in a low sad voice. I feel for people with no sense of curiosity. I can’t imagine living like that.

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    1. My sadness lies in the fact they miss out on so much Linda, they've lost the thirst for knowledge and can only judge the young and not learn from them. They actually become unpleasant to be around and boring too.I wish I could blast Pink throughout the building, LOL.

      XO
      WWW

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  6. The younger generation are facing a very different world to the one we faced at their age. It really is up to us to educate ourselves in modern life. I’m afraid there’s quite a popular “movement” here of Grumpy Old Women/Men who seem to delight in
    NOT owning a mobile ( cellphone)
    NOT listening to any music except vinyl
    NOT reading a book or newspaper unless it’s the paper kind.
    It’s important that we accept change.
    I’m with you - let’s enjoy young people and modern life. They’re such good company!

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    1. The failure to adapt Anne is a killer. I mentioned an on line newspaper/letter for this building, one where we'd get contributors and have different segments, one would be "what did you learn this week?" I was saddened to discover that there is such contempt for the internet here even though there are small computer rooms on each floor hooked up to wifi.

      We can be our own worst enemies.

      XO
      WWW

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  7. Replies
    1. Well I certainly wrote it for myself Ernestine, if it helps anyone else I'm delighted.

      XO
      WWW

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  8. I love music from my youth, but there has been plenty of good music since. I gate the false nostalgia for an imagined perfect past.

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