I’m all for any celebration!
This was my comment in response to Barbara K’s post In or out: Older People’s Day on her Retiremint Blog
Whether we are retired or not, getting older must be something to celebrate. After all, we have survived for longer than the majority of the population. So far, we have managed to cheat death, whether it be by terminal disease, fatal accident, murder or natural causes. But at what age are we entitled to celebrate this “older” ?
Well, governments, who have to deal with the aging population, are currently putting it at around 70. That’s great, we live to work and as everyone knows, it keeps us younger, fitter and happier. Brilliant how they worked that one out. The only spanner in their works are the employers, who are increasingly looking to the over 55s for their “restructuring”. And once “restructured”, we are the ones who will not be able to get another job due to the ageism out there. In the employment world, “older” starts at 40, especially if you are female.
Consider this, those of you who are still young. You will be old in a jiffy. You need to keep rising up the ladder to CEO or director, or hang in there as a politician, if you want to maintain an income until your retirement age. Owning and running your own business might get you there too if the economy is kind to you. It is acceptable to be old at the top.
But for the rest of us, who are the majority, we can say goodbye to the world of working for someone else at sixty. We are on our own. So there we lie, without a pension and little chance of employment, tarrying in bed as we listen to those bright young things in the flat above bounce out of bed and leave for work. Now what are we going to do with our time? Our income just dried up and there’s nothing we can do to turn back the clock and look like twenty somethings. We are the detritus of the Corporate world,unwanted by our former colleagues. Outcasts of the office. Recruitment rejects. From being independent contributors to society, we have become a drain on the economy. a Problem, pariahs almost. What’s to celebrate?
Well, you are in great company. You don’t have to go to work. You don’t have to prove that you are better than the next person, or feel crap if you aren’t. You no longer have to measure yourself with someone else’s yardstick. No stress. No hurrying. Nobody making demands on you. You don’t have to look smart every day or buy clothes suitable for work. You don’t have to be politically correct in case you lose your job. You can slob around in your trackies all day if you feel like it. Make new friends who are also jobless or retired. You have time for them. They have time for you. Have lunch! Take your Time! Downsize by selling all your clutter in a yard sale. You have all day to wonder why you ever bought most of it. Have fun fossicking for bargains at the market or the charity store. You have all day to wonder why you ever bought most of that too! Write a book. If you can’t write a book, read a book, or a few books.
Clearly we should celebrate our new lifestyle. Change may have been forced on us, or we may welcome it, but whatever the case, at sixty we have earned the right to celebrate being “Older”. Indeed we need to respect and celebrate our age if we hope to improve life for future generations as their life expectancy rises; if we ant to combat Ageism and allow older people to be included in Social life. The United Nations said so, and in the lead-up to, October 1st,International Older Person’s Day I am looking forward to learning more about older people around the world.