Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff


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I never considered myself part of a demographic. Never, that is, until I was notified of my eligibility to receive compensation for being of a certain age. Canada Pension wanted to give me back a meager portion of the countless dollars I had contributed all my working life.

            “Well, that’s OK,” I thought. “I’ve earned it. But, is that all there is?”

            What I realized, right then and there, was that I was now considered different.

My new classifications were Retired, Senior Citizen, Pensioner, a full-fledged member in good standing in the Golden Age Club and one step above Baby Boomers. As someone in their sunset years I am a statistic in that target group marketers and advertisers pursue with diligence and diffidence.

            I don’t like being pigeonholed much less being considered old. All of that ageism comes with the stigma of someone who can finally spend the rest of their life on the golf course, taking bus tours, gardening, looking after their grandchildren, reading or getting lost in that insidious little screen.

            I have learned, though, that there are those of us who, as Dylan Thomas said, rage against the dying of the light. We are the retired ones who don’t considered ourselves retired. We still get involved by spending our days actively pursuing whatever it is that keeps our brains from going soft.

            I met a group of these very people the other day at the Legion in Owen Sound. I was there to attend a lecture sponsored by the Kiwanis Golden K Club. The primary purpose of their organization is geared to helping others. They spend their days in volunteer work. They were sharp in their observations and decisive in what they wanted to do.

They were smiling and friendly to an outsider like myself. These folks, much older than I, stay committed in spite of their personal health problems.

            Some say that in old age we become like children again. If so, there was a childish delight in how they went about their business. There was innocence in their attitude belied by a sense of purpose honed by years of experience. In short, they were sharp. Not old.

            They were elders.

            And doesn’t that term have a resonance to it. Elders. Our First Nations respect and seek the advice and council of their Elders. It’s the same with other indigenous peoples. They’ve done so for decades because with age comes experience, wisdom and knowledge that the young have yet to encounter.

            Perhaps we need to do away with all the labels sewn into the fabric of those who have reached that time in their lives. Give us our due. Call us Elders. And we will pass on all that we know of this world.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

April 21, 2009 at 7:16 PM

One Response

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  1. I always tell my son he can jump higher, run faster, and outdrive me 5o yards, but he’ll never catch up with me in wisdom. Makes him some kinda mad.

    I’m gonna be a Doc, play my mandolin and play golf until I can’t go on or drop over, whichever comes first.

    Dr. Tom Bibey

    April 21, 2009 at 7:26 PM

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