"When I was young I was called a rugged individualist. When I was in my fifties I was considered eccentric. Here I am doing and saying the same things I did then and I'm labeled senile." - George Burns
Getting old has brought up a whole bunch of issues I've never dealt with and never thought about. I was so naive. As if it's not enough to contend with the aches and pains that come with aging and the definite decline in energy, I now know that going out in public has its own hazards as well.
I had to have an MRI a few weeks ago. The technicians that were running the show were all young men. Not one was over the age of 35. I remember being their age and thinking anyone over 40 was pretty damn old. They were speaking to another older woman as if she had dementia, which she didn't. I had heard her talking to her daughter and she was definitely very with-it. Then they did it with me.
At first, I was kind of in shock that I had been lumped into the same category as a 90 year old. Then a new kind of shock occurred when I realized that, actually, I am in that category. At least in the mind of anyone under 40.
There might be a few things not quite right about me but they all existed long before I was collecting my Old Age Pension. I have come up with ways to deal with being considered a fossil. Feel free to use them.
If they are speaking loudly as if you are hard of hearing, don't respond. They will speak louder and it will sound even funnier than it already does.
If they are speaking loudly so that you will better comprehend what they are saying, wave your arms around and whisper, "The birds. The birds.".
If they take your hand in theirs to comfort you as if it's your first medical procedure, ever, grip their hand tightly and tell them that the last time you had a procedure done you saw angels. Ask them if it might happen again.
If they call you dear or sweetie or honey respond by with, "Okay, Fred." If their name really is Fred, call them something else.
If they become impatient with you because you are too slow/not understanding them/ want to ask a question, ask them who the old man is standing behind them. Don't do this if there actually is an old man standing behind them. It isn't fair to the old man. He's probably next.
I can tell the difference between kindness and condescension. If someone offers me their seat, or holds open a door or let's me go ahead of them in a line-up, I'm not going to complain. I consider these the advantages of getting old along with the senior's discount days at Shopper's Drug Mart. What I don't appreciate is the stereotype that most seniors are in their second childhood. I haven't let go of my first childhood yet so it's redundant, anyway.