Let’s talk about age, shall we? Not our biological age. No, not that. Let’s talk about the words used to talk about our/their stigma about getting older. Many of the words regarding aging are just rude and crude, but we mostly shrug them off. Maybe it’s time to push back when we’re feeling like we’ve just been disrespected.
“You look great for seventy-five.” Okay, that’s just insulting. Want to compliment someone on their appearance? Just say “you look great” and leave it at that. Better yet just tell them you like their blouse or the color of their sweater.
Then there’s the dreaded “at your age” caution. “You’re going skiing at your age?” Yes, because that’s what they enjoy doing and they don’t need anyone’s approval. If you’re really worried about them, just tell them to be careful and have a good time, while omitting the age factor.
Know someone in their 70s who dresses like they are in their 40s? Leave them alone. They’re happy wearing short skirts or tight tees. Why not let them enjoy wearing that fashion while they still can instead of telling them they’re too old for that look.
If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of semantics, we should think about the term elderly. Even if you’re on the leading edge of boomerdom, you don’t want to be called elderly. Even senior is better than that, and older adult is okay.
All of us experience memory lapses in which we are unable to retrieve the name of a singer or the vacation spot from 5 years ago. We have a lot of stuff stored in our gray matter, so it should not come as a surprise that it can be difficult to access all those facts. When it happens to someone you know, rather than remind them it’s happening because they are old, it’s much kinder to admit that it happens to you as well. And more often than you’d like.
Jokes about old people? Not funny if you feel like you’re the butt of the joke or you’re the one doing the joking. Getting old is still a lot better than the alternative of not experiencing aging at all – because (sorry to be harsh) you’re dead.
Think about some of these common slights the next time you’re with anyone older than yourself. The day may soon come when you’re the target of someone’s misguided assumption that you’re just too old to walk, talk and chew gum. And that kind of mistreatment gets old.
Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. You can also visit his author page here. His newest mystery novel, Rio Puerco Demise is available on Amazon. His first mystery novel, Head Above Water, is also available on Amazon. But that’s not all. You can also purchase the Best of BoomSpeak on Amazon.