EDITORIAL - I hear you already. All old people aren't cranky. I have a friend who is 96 years old and is the delight of all who know her. She is independent. She works in her garden every summer. She drives herself to church and the grocery store. She exercises a couple of time s a day. She lives in a very small humble house but it's her place and she takes care of her home.
Too often my wife and I are out and "hear" crotchety old people. Often they are battering the waitress about the service or the food. Often we get out of their way at the grocery store in fear of being maimed for life by a grocery cart. When visiting in Florida we look both ways when crossing the road more than once because of several occasions we've almost been run over by a senior adult.
Let me move quickly here and say most of my friends are senior adults. I guess I have become one numerically but mentally I don't want to really embrace this reality. However the other day at McDonald's I was expecting to get the senior adult coffee rate and the cute young lady at the register said, "I'm sorry sir but you don't look like a senior." I paused a moment and almost smiling replied, "Uh, well, just how old am I," I asked. "I guess about 42," she said. I handed her the full $1.06 gladly for the coffee. "Well sir, am I right?" I replied, "Honey, you are good. You nailed it," I said as I happily walked back out to my car to tell my wife about my pleasant coffee buying experience. By the way, my wife just shook her head when I relayed the conversation to her.
I don't know for sure why some old people get cranky but I can just imagine. Lots of things change. Hearing changes, eyesight changes, hair grows in weird places, the body is simply no longer 18. For some reason Alice Cooper's song, "I'm 18 and I don't know What I Want," just does not relate any longer. Cooper should come out with a new song, "I'm a senior adult and I don't know what I want." Now, that would be another platinum record for Cooper because many seniors are still a lot like they used to be growing up - trying to figure it all out.
Seniors face reality that their longevity is running out. Often money is tight because so many seniors haven't saved much if any money. Social Security isn't enough. The aches and pains are often only calmed by prescriptions and often retirement is not what they had envisioned.
Adult children factor into senior's attitudes as well. Adult kids who still need the financial help of their old parents are a drag for everybody. Or, the adult children who simply still use mom and dad for merely babysitting or solving life's crises take a bit of the spark out of the senior years as well.
Now let's go back to my 96 year old friend. Recently her family invited her to go on a vacation with them for a couple of weeks. They said, "Mom, we are going to rent a condo for vacation and we want you to go with us on vacation and cook for us." She smiled. She thanked them but said, "I don't want to do that." There, in that one sentence could be the secret to happy senior adult living - longevity with the independence to still make choices. Good luck!
Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of twelve books.
He is read in all fifty states.