One group I call the Paralyzed Paranoids. These aging (but still youngish) people have come face to face with their mortality. The result of this shock is that every ache and twinge they feel has got to be the thing that will take them out. So, every conversation is an “organ recital.” You have to hear all about their body functions and their doctor visits. Fear has paralyzed them.
Another group are the Kings and Queens of Denial. These people refuse to accept they’re getting older. Oh, they’re aging, everybody can see it but they cling to the trappings of youth like a lifeboat. These are the women who dress like teenagers and the men who make ridiculous attempts with fake hair to try to cover their balding head. I’m embarrassed for them. These are not the people who are legitimately trying to be healthy and active. These are the ones they make memes about.
Then there are the Crunchy Old People. These are the bitter and angry ones who criticize anything new, exalt the good old days and are just plain negative! They’re ticked off that they’re getting old so they’re going to take everyone down with them.
There is a 4th group but the membership is very small. I’ve only met a few true members and they are jewels! I want to be one! These are people who are aging just like everybody else but they realize that no one wants to hear about their aches and pains and body functions or non-functions. One member I know said, “If I wake up in the morning and something hurts then I know I’m alive and that’s better than the alternative.”
They also do their best to understand the new. They don’t alienate all the young people in their lives by telling them that they “never had all this newfangled technology and they did just fine” and all the while forgetting that their 8 track tapes were “newfangled” at one point.
They pay attention and wrestle with what’s going on in the world and try to find ways to make it better. They don’t hide in their cave, shut the door and mumble, “the world’s going to hell in a hand basket.”
They listen and want to grow. It’s true we gain wisdom as we age but they realize they haven’t learned everything. They listen to new ideas and different opinions without getting defensive.
So, I’ve defined 3 not so great camps my aging peers have gravitated to and one elite club that I aspire to.
However, I could really break it down into 2 ways people age: With Fear or With Courage.