Friday, July 26, 2013

Getting Better with Age Is Not Up for Debate

One of the saddest sights to me is an old person who doesn't seem to have gotten better with time.

And I’m not talking about lumps, bumps, rolls, wiggles, jiggles, wrinkles, and sun spots.

I’m talking about (to borrow from Ian Murphy for a moment) someone who, despite being alive for a long time, has learned absolutely nothing from it.

It makes me wonder, what was this individual like when she was young? 

Was the person standing in front of me now (who horned her way on the bus by cutting in front of several people without so much as a sideways glance) made or was she born? Was she obnoxious as a teen? Or did she become rude and inconsiderate over time? What would her friends say about her? Would they say she’s a total sweetie pie? Or would they say she’s always been an unpleasant piece of work?

Because I have this idea that older people are supposed to be better. They’re supposed to be wiser, and kinder, and more patient.

Like a fine bottle of wine, you know?
And then I see a sixty-something-year-old-woman throw an entire lunch’s worth of trash on the floor beneath the bus seat in which she’s sitting, rather than wait until she can find a trashcan, and I can't help but think that’s just wrong

But examples of older-but-not-necessarily-better can be found in the boardroom as well as the bus.

Like in the leader who doesn’t know how to apologize or is too fearful of disapproval to stand for something important. 


See, I’m all about improving with age, or what the heck’s the point?

What do you think?


  1. I love your post. I always say I’m not getting older; I’m getting better. I also say, I may be getting older, but I don’t have to grow up. I see myself as getting wiser, with the excitement, passion and awe of a child. My family wants to hide when I clap and jump up and down, like a child, when I see or hear something I get so excited about. My age allows me to do that now, because I don’t care what people think. I want to be I and show all the excitement I did when I was a child and I got that new toy I always wanted.

    I did that this week when I got a banana plant. I always wanted one. We really don’t have the money to splurge, but it was on sale and I get a special members discount. When the sales person told me the “new” price, I jumped up and down and clapped my hands.

    You should see me when my rubber tree gets a new leaf. There are times I will cry with joy. You see a rubber tree reminds me of my mother. My mother didn’t have a green thumb. She had a green arm. One of my fondest memories of her: she is sitting in her orange chair and next to her is her rubber tree. She would talk to it and tell it to grow to the ceiling (which was not too high). My mother died of cancer when I was 13. There is so much I don’t remember, but there are very special memories that stand out like beacons. And yes, I have become my mother in many ways. As my mother would tend to her garden every day, so do I. It is my sanctuary, therapy and peace of mind - although my Black-Eyed Susan Daisies have a something this year and it’s driving me crazy. When that happens, I go to my happy place - - my banana tree and my rubber tree.

    Crystal, I think the person who shoves the trash under the seat, bushes in line, or loses patience in a doctor’s office after 10 minutes has always been that way. With age, they get worse. It is my belief that the person who has always been kind, gracious and giving, just keeps getting better and better. That is our reward for a good life. I just had a vision of that scene in Ghost at the end about the goodness continues. Well, I do believe my parents are with me, but that’s another long story. Be well all.

    1. Blanche, thanks for sharing such a sweet and touching story. My mother passed away when I was 35, and that was terrible. I can't imagine what losing a mother is like for a child.

      I have a plant story too. My mom also was very good with plants. I am horrible. So, when my mom passed, my brother and I gave all my mom's plants to my Dad. They'd been separated since forever, but he has a green thumb, too, so we figured he'd appreciate them.

      Well, for my 46th birthday, my Dad gave my brother and me these HUGE aloe plants that he'd nurtured from my mother's small potted plants. Very special and probably one of the best birthday gifts I've even gotten. And I haven't managed to kill the plant. Yet.

      I totally hear you about how joy can make you childlike. I like to joke what when you hit a certain age, some people think you aren't supposed to have any fun! But I still like to act silly. Why not?

      Take care!

  2. I agree with Anon on a lot of her points what I don't understand is how a so called educated professional doesn't know her homonyms and the difference between woman and women, how about that for a start!!! I also agree according to statistics: 4 out of 5 black women are obese, Americans over eat enough already especially a lot (not all) with food stamps and not just blacks either....I also agree that women should be in a better position to take care of their children before they keep having all these kids but clearly there are some deep seated issues that are unresolved and that is where the black community has to start because clearly there are educated fools who are oblivious to their self destructive ways still having kids......I am a black woman also!!!