Senior citizens and their day of honor need a cooler name…
I’m about to change categories and I’m not ready or happy about it—you know the one that asks “what is your age range?” Up to now I’ve fit neatly into one box or the other –24-35, 44-55, 56-63, etc., but at 63.9, it is just a matter of time before I get to check the box that says 64—infinity.
Further, along with this new checkbox comes that boring “Senior Citizen” label. Perhaps I will start practicing this week by celebrating National Senior Citizens Day Wednesday, August 21. NOT!
Surely there has to be something more exciting/interesting, and fashionable that folks of a certain age could be called. I think whoever coined this say-nothing/mean-even-less phrase should be left in Nashville traffic at 4:21 p.m. the Friday before Labor Day to show our disdain. For me, “Senior Citizen” is like calling me “gal” or “Cindy,” after I told you my name.
When I was younger, people my age and older seemed so fragile, ancient, and boring. A number of things I might be, but boring and ancient I’m not. Like Country music superstar George Jones’ hit, Rocking Chair, “I’m not ready for the junkyard yet, I still feel like a new Corvette.” It’s true, I do.
After seeing pictures from my elementary and high school yearbooks, I’m looking better than ever (I didn’t have anywhere to go but up.) I feel great most days and try to watch my diet and get 10,000 steps in daily. Thankfully we’re living longer, are more active, and I pray we‘ve learned to really LIVE until we die.
We hear that ‘60 is the new 40,’ and ‘70 is the new 50’ so I’m surprised we’ve let some whippersnapper somewhere stick dynamic people of a certain age with this unamazing moniker. Oh well, maybe this isn’t your fight today. That’s fine, I’ll stop whining. I’m just saying that amazing people need something more amazing to be called. Anyway, until we decide what that is, here are some celebration tips:
- Go for a visit. Fellowship and friendship are like water and air – essential. Share an hour or two with that senior who’s always in your corner, who always encourages, that ride-or-die partner who’s ready when you need sidekick to run/hang with. Take a vacation day, if you must, to spend time with this treasured friend.
- Increase your visits to the area retirement or nursing home. Sit a spell and visit a patient who may not have friends or family who come regularly. Don’t let your friends die of loneliness.
- Be an advocate for senior issues—all of them–affordable housing, aging-in-place, assistance with pharmaceutical purchases, mobility, and transportation.
- Salute people in your church/community who are age 64 to infinity. Recognize and affirm their gifts, match potential volunteers in meaningful ministries, survey what kinds of ministries seniors would like, then get busy and create them.
- Stop putting things off until retirement (especially if you’re not a senior). Travel before mobility becomes a barrier. Do crosswords and word searches to keep your mind sharp. Take classes, volunteer, or learn new things. Run for political office–the Lord knows we need people at every level who can win friends and influence people. Don’t die with the song inside you.
National Senior Citizens Day was begun in August 1935 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Just thinking about something as comprehensive and important as Social Security being crafted, passed, and signed in today’s Congress makes my head spin. Maybe I do belong in that 64-infinity category.
Do you have cooler name ideas for senior citizens? Please share them with me on Twitter and Facebook at #drbondhopson.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.