IT SEEMS to me that the prevalent belief is, that when people retire, they all enter into a fraternity of sorts where only a common tag is involved: old.
So when a friend, Anna finally retired, it looked like she was an old cow being brought to pasture. Never mind that she used to work in a bank, and that upon leaving, had established herself to be a great gardener and pot-maker. Insofar as society was concerned, all bets were now off, she was out of the race, blah blah, she is old and thus limited to the sidelines.
Call it (or coat it) what you will, yet the descriptive word, ‘retired’ will always be its fancier equivalent. Its bottom line will always be the same, and ‘old’ shall be its common tag. This also means that whatever other titles one may have gathered and earned throughout one’s life shall now generically fall under the sign (ret.) after your full name. And if one has not guessed it yet, the open-close with ret inside, also implies that you are, indeed, old.
Not that I mind. After all, this is just an observation. As an example, any gathering (which is rare these days) will always provide one with the best viewing deck, as you observe whatever hidden demarcation lines exist between people. Usually at said gatherings, they be weddings or just in any club where people converge, the natural gravitation of the attendees will always be towards their common interests, common status or age. These groupings act like identifying marks or the hidden ink that tags us all. As this happens, all singular designations and titles of each (lawyers, clerks, bankers, etc) will now merge to be forgotten under the common tag they might presently belong: drinkers, movie buffs, gamblers, or the miscellaneous-ly “old”.
In this context, when I said I got old, it did not mean that I had entered into some doorway only to emerge as a faceless one, welded with the throng at the opposite end. I still insist on maintaining my individuality of course, no matter how old I may have become, with 70s-locked music blaring still inside both ears. For others, this should be the same battlecry.
As such, in my lifetime, I have many times heard others saying, ‘act your age’, even though that is actually very difficult to do, once you thought about it. No age template exists, because each generation cannot be defined by age alone. For one, I will always be a product of my generation despite whatever age, status, or whatever attainment I reach. There is no pasture that awaits us because at whatever age, everyone will ramble on regardless of pace.
Here’s a fresh perspective for those age-ists and others who’ve nothing better to do in self quarantine. Getting old is not a job you retire from. It is a calling. It is only with each passing day, that you get good at it.
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