SENIORS: WASTED RESOURCES

Nov 21st, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Senior Citizens Living Longer

Sitting in a parking lot, awaiting my spouse running an errand, I am aware of the variety and number of older persons scurrying in and out, doing whatever it is they have to do today.  Longevity has made a dramatic impact on our society. Its influence is everywhere.  Both in numbers and in the wide spectrum of persons who have learned the nuances of managing aging, the show is quite intriguing.

Science and medicine and diet and exercise and opportunity have enabled our living longer, doing more, coping better, challenging infirmity.  We are more capable of dealing with the typical onslaught of growing older.  We have learned how to be and do more than previous generations ever thought they might or could.  And doing so has introduced us to longer life, more plentiful and fulfilling in all kinds of ways.

But, there still seems to be something missing for many retirees.  Men seem to adjust less well to the marvels of older age.  Women, with their longer years, have seemed to stretch them out more creatively and productively.

Men, on the other hand, while still identifying with certain sports activities that capture their interest and attention, often find themselves melancholy and blue.  They long for the satisfying identity of positions once held, of influence once known, of power achieved and distributed, of the excitement of doing what they once did best.

Not all men wallow in the despair of lost position.  Some are quite able to move along quite well and pleasantly.  Others, however, resume the search for the prestige and self-identity once found in their occupation.  Having been productively and consistently able to do what one felt competent at doing, the longing seems to haunt to find it again.

But, aging and retirement seem to collide with declining demand and often ability to do the kind of things that once offered the thrill of accomplishment.  Finding it on the golf course, or by a river’s flow while fishing, or from a tennis court, the seat of a riding lawn mower or sundry other distractions just doesn’t seem to get it.

What one seeks is the verification of being able to do and perform like one once did.  What one desires is to offer something no one else is in a position to give.  What one craves is the idea of being in the game again.  But there are no games looking for players like me.  Those games, if they haven’t disappeared altogether, are being played by others, younger, sharper, definitively equipped for what they require.

The movie, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” might be re-titled “Jerry Doesn’t Work Here Anymore.” Or Richard, Glenn, Don, or Bob.  And what’s more, you and they need not apply.  You have done your time, now go out and play.

Senior Resources Need Not Be Wasted

What a wasted resource we are.  There is so much left in us, but there is not so much demand for what we have to offer.  If the water glass is half full, perhaps our attitude is more positive, more hopeful, more inclined to identify something more we can lend to the human race.  If it is half empty, perhaps we discover that our contributions aren’t so much in demand.

But, there is, within the frame of every one of us, retired or soon to be, the stamina, the contribution, the idea, the ability to be in the game, out there on the field, running the race or whatever metaphor you choose. Maybe what we are wasting is our initiative to find something, some way to surprise ourselves and everybody else that we still can be vital.  Yogi Berra’s counsel “it isn’t over til it’s over” is good counsel for those of us who don’t want to just waste or, as General MacArthur put it, fade away.



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