I base my opinion of having the unfortunate situation of living in a +55 community, where the average age is close to 75. I've never seen so many miserable, bitter, angry people. Many very old people are miserable and bitter because they are in pain and because they realize that their lives are almost over. They are also painfully aware that all those dreams they had of doing something worthwhile...writing the great American novel, climbing the highest mountain, contributing to society in some meaningful way.... are never going to be realized. This, in itself, is painful.Most people never do anything in their whole lives worth mentioning on the broad scale. Most just work hard to take care of their families, take little vacations once in a while, and try to keep the weeds out of their yards.Then, one day they look up and realize that it's almost all over. They ache and hurt and their movements are limited. They can't even open a door in these stupid houses designed by architects who haven't the sense to realize that levered door handles work best for the elderly and, instead, install those cheap round ones everywhere. They have families that don't want to hear the same stories over and over from "gramps", but those are the only stories he has to tell because he isn't able to get out and create new ones - and because those stories remind him of his youth when he was "somebody" even if just in his small circle of friends and family. Now, people pay little if any attention to him at all. Most people don't even see the elderly -- mostly out of choice and fear. They know that, one day, they will be there, too.As Bette Davis once said, "Getting old ain't for sissies." And it's true. Getting old is painful -- both physically, and emotionally as you become more and more confined to limited spaces and as more and more people fall away and ignore you.It's hard not to become bitter and angry under those circumstances. Why not cut them some slack?AM
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