Wisdom: knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life and the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. (Merriam-Webster and The Free Dictionary)
We two sisters were inspired to introduce a thought-provoking column…or so we hope…to give voice to important and amusing ideas of interest to others 65 and older because…well…we are mostly ignored by everyone else. Invisible really. And, that can be a good thing if you are smoking marijuana illegally to ease the pain of arthritis.
Oh, and, while there is that “generational divide,” we think this column can bridge that gap because…eureka…we’ve got wisdom…wrinkled though we may be. We’re guessing that kids continue to ignore their parents’ suggestions and advice. We sure did. So, here’s some advice. Take some wisdom from strangers…like us!
Back to our invisibility; let’s talk about advertising. Heck, today, we are no longer target demographics for anything—not television shows, movies, cars, elections, alcohol, and certainly nothing having to do with technology. Wait, we exaggerate! We are the demographic for Depends, Life Alert (that recognizable “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”), and financial scams.
So, what are the messages aimed at our age group? It is instructional to look at the evolution of Jane Brody, a syndicated columnist who began her career in 1965. She’s a best-selling author of books on nutrition and food. What is she writing about today after passing her 74th birthday? Take a look at headlines for her recent columns:
Is It Ordinary Memory Loss, or Alzheimer’s Disease?
As We Age, Keys to Remembering Where the Keys Are
For an Aging Brain, Looking for Ways to Keep Memory Sharp
Keep Moving to Stay a Step Ahead of Arthritis
Looking for Parkinson’s Sooner
And, we can always count on AARP’ magazine to perk us up. Disguised as “10 Mysteries of the Human Body,” an age-related article in the organization’s magazine recently highlighted urinary incontinence, toenail fungus, bad breath, farting, sun damage, hearing loss, and smelly feet, and explained why your nose could be growing bigger. Mysteries??? Hardly. Their helpful advice??? See your doctor.
The hell with all this. We want to focus on our strengths and why our insights and observations matter. As Hemingway is alleged to have said, “In order to write about life, first you must live it.” Or, how about…“Age should speak and experience should teach wisdom.” Then, there is simply… “Wisdom comes with age.”
AARP’s take: “As brain functions go, forgetting may be almost as important as remembering; it would be inefficient for our brains to try to retain every bit of information we’re exposed to throughout life.”
AARP goes further, “forgetting where you parked your car can happen to everyone occasionally, but forgetting what your car looks like may be cause for concern.” Got to love that understatement. It’s so entertaining.
Really, wisdom DOES come with age. Studies have confirmed it! One posits that older people make better decisions. Our brains may slower, but experience and knowledge make up for it. The study also shows that older people have greater patience.
Okay, we’re going to take issue with that last finding.
Our brains may be slower but it’s because they are overflowing with decades of information! And, science backs that up as well. The analogy used is that we over-65s are like computer hard drives that are getting filled up. Think of the data we’ve stored! Life and work learning experiences …books, magazine, and newspaper articles we’ve read… movies we’ve seen… hobbies we’ve developed…trivia…skills we’ve mastered. It’s actually pretty impressive we can function at all with our brains bursting with so much detail and information.
Is anyone listening??? Science confirms we KNOW MORE!
As evidenced, we are going to use irreverent humor in this and future columns…maybe do a bit of venting (which, if done positively, really is healthy)…and make some observations based on our age and experience. Humor is essential in life. As Erma Bombeck once said, “When humor goes, there goes civilization.”
For today, let’s just take a minute to revel in experiences unique to us—though antiquity to younger generations. Let’s laugh and giggle together and have fun reminiscing.
Remember when personal computers were introduced and electric typewriters became passé? A few women refused to adapt because of rumors that computers caused breast cancer. Today the fear is brain tumors from cell phones. Apparently it isn’t so far-fetched, according to the American Cancer Society. One of the factors in growing those tumors is time on the cell phone; guess we aging individuals who still use landlines can cross dying by cell phone off our list!
Then Al Gore invented the internet. (Kidding!) Remember the incredulous looks at work when it was suggested everyone get an account and communicate by e-mail? What a revolutionary thought! No more fax trees???
There were heartbreaking moments. Assassinations. John Kennedy. Robert Kennedy. Martin Luther King. Riots in the streets
Some of us even got to see the Beatles and Michael Jackson (before he got really weird) live in concert. Men went to the moon and it wasn’t a hoax. Automatic car transmissions made driving easier. Whew! Nuclear bomb drills ended. No more hiding under desks at school. Fast food chains exploded and so did Type 2 diabetes.
Speaking of weird, does anyone remember paper dog attire and paper dresses? Needless to say, those fads were short-lived because—understatement—it wasn’t such a good idea in the rain.
Best of all…we even remember when facts were…well…facts! Even Google is apparently concerned about “false facts,” as we call them. A recent research paper by a team of computer scientists at Google reports that they have developed a technology to tell whether “facts” on the
Internet are true.
And, more good news. Apparently, life begins at 80! A recent study claims that the 80s are the happiest years of our lives. Wow!
We are guessing that this serenity occurs, in part, because of the lack of responsibility for the world coming to an end. Why continue to care about global warming, nuclear war, biblical forewarnings, disease pandemics, an asteroid strike, or killer robots?
Our wrinkled wisdom for today? Don’t buy crap that claims to enhance memory; and, remember…not only do you not have a grandson…he’s not in jail in Nevada. Don’t send the money!!!