The Responsibility of Being Positively Old

Listening to the news coverage of the Tuscon shooting this week makes me realize how desperately we need solutions and guidance from our elders, you know, the people who have lived through the ups and downs of life and come through it all with the experience and attitude to overcome almost anything. 

In many cultures in history, the villagers and townsfolk turned to their elders (yes, that’s what they called them) for the wisdom to face life’s challenges. These older individuals were consulted as respected advisers, and they assumed that their counsel was valuable.

When did this all change? Was it when technology, a virtual unknown for many over 65, took over the world and left our elderly out of the loop? Was it after those over 65 decided their only goal and responsibility to the world was to retire and play golf everyday? Or was it when society in general decided that anyone over 40 cost more than they were worth?

It seems such a shame to me that the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers, respectively responsible for incredible values and for challenging our values, would be pushed aside for a seemingly lost generation. Today, all citizens, regardless of age, are struggling under a political leadership that more often resembles high schoolers vying to win a popularity contest rather than the inspirational public servants we might hope for who would actually attempt to solve problems regardless of election results.

I ask “where are the elders, where are our leaders?” We certainly need their guidance. It’s time for them to step up and take charge. We’re now living in the world that they created. Who better to help us navigate the terrain?  After all, I believe this is their purpose at this stage of their lives, and I believe that the seniors who understand how valuable having and fulfilling their purpose in society is are more likely to maintain their health and happiness as they age. The retirement mentality will kill most people quicker than a knife in the back. Your purpose in life may have shifted, but it’s essential that you still have one.

I think about all of the ways that younger people and our society could benefit from the Over50 crowd—management of our families, cities, educational systems. And what about reaffirming some of those wonderful traditional values that have been backburnered due to the speed of everything? Couldn’t our positively aged elders help us restore some courtesy and perspective in our personal communications? Our Positively Old have the confidence and resumes to lead and inspire our society. It’s time that they take a stand and take back this role.

Now I know many young people will be saying “oh, how disrespectful; we deserve a voice; no one can tell us what to do.” Sound familiar? These are the same words echoed by every young generation at one time or another as they challenge the generations that have gone before them. (This is their right and purpose.) The Baby Boomers were no exception. In fact, they screamed this intent louder than any generation before them, spurred on by large numbers and the Age of Aquarius. Yet, in truth, as we get older, our parents always get smarter, don’t they? At least those that have learned from their life experiences and grown up to be Positively Old.

So come on those of you who are Positively Old, stand up and help guide your children, grandchildren and planetary successors. Share your wisdom. Don’t worry if no one wants to hear it, they NEED to hear it. And if we do it from the right mindset—to share, inspire and protect—rather than lording it over the young like some negatively old egotists insist on doing, society and its youth might even listen. And if they don’t, that’s no reason for the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers to break their stride. Do whatever it takes, including learning to surf the web and blog, in order to regain your credibility and be heard. At this stage of your life, it’s your purpose to guide future generations, and it’s your responsibility.

I’d love to hear your comments.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed
  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed
Comments
5 Responses to “The Responsibility of Being Positively Old”
  1. Bernie Allman says:

    “Be cheerful no matter what. Pray all the time. Thank God no mater what happens.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 It’s been a good idea for around 2000 years now.

  2. Duane says:

    Karen, well stated. My comments on the point: At a very young 64, I chose many years ago to pass along my “elder” wisdom on a one-on-one basis. This happened through Big Brothers, my employees, my son, my nieces and nephews. To me this is how I got my life-smarts: one-on-one. Just this past week, I got to go head to head with my 19 year old grandson. What a wonderful week listening to his generation! It may have been a life changing week for both of us. Real dialogue about real life filled our time between ski runs, and over beers apre’ ski we met in the middle. I now know who he is, and he now knows who I am. He now looks me straight in the eye with no hesitation, like a man. What a wonderful feeling!

  3. Marilynn Cronin says:

    Respecting the thoughts of the young is very important. If we don’t show respect for their feelings and try to see where they are coming from, they will never appreciate what we have to offer. Of course first you need to understand their slang! Half of them speak in texting “speak.”

Leave A Comment

*

script type="text/javascript"> var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-23891589-1']); _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'none']); _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();