by Joy Loverde
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported on the subject of exploring the complications of counting Americans who have reached age 100. At best, it is estimated that Hallmark sold 85,000 “Happy Birthday 100 year-old cards in 2007. Reading the facts offered in the article got me thinking seriously about slowing down.
I am a fortunate soul who has a lot of energy, so much so that when I enter a room that is already populated with an elderly person who is talking and/or walking at a snail’s pace, I have to stop and get a hold of myself – literally put on the brakes. Matching someone else’s physical energy level is one way to be more effective as a communicator. And so I become well aware of when I have to “tone it down.”
Everybody’s getting older – the neighbors who reside in my apartment building, my co-workers, the flight attendants on airplanes, the dogs in the neighborhood, the passengers on the city bus, the patrons in the restaurants. As I make a mental note of my surroundings, I’m observing more and more white-haired people almost everywhere I go.
The population is aging and I’m starting to imagine what life will be like twenty years from now when everyone will appear to be moving in slow motion (and perhaps I will have slowed down my pace a notch or two as well). Will I lose my patience as someone takes their sweet time removing items from their grocery cart and onto the moving belt? Will I cut in front of people who refuse to drive the minimum speed limit? Will I think nasty thoughts of people who take more than a nano-second to respond to my question?
Perhaps now is the best time for me to consider taking a course offered by a company called Xtreme Aging. Truth is ageism (discrimination against the aged) can creep up on anyone, and is especially frightening for those of us who interact with elderly people all day long.
I’m starting to imagine what it will be like to be an older and more frailer person in America, and all I know for sure is I will be one before I know it. And that’s going to be a whole new ballgame.