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Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Voice of the Retired, Labels Don’t Fit.

Growing up in a small steel town we had a lot of labels for people. Propriety today prevents me from even putting them in print. We had the Lithuanian Club, The Eagles, The Moose, The SOI, The Elks, The Odd Fellows, The Saxon Club, The German Club, The Masons, The Knights of Columbus and I am sure some that I wasn’t even aware existed. Our parents often used the labels with disdain, such as non-union. As kids we didn’t take them as seriously but in the heat of action, such as a fight behind the 5&10, they often came out.

I think a good education helped me to divest a great deal of my need for labeling. Getting to know the people behind the labels was a sure fire way to dissuade using a label in a derogatory manner.

So now having retired I am struggling with labels again. Retired means old. I may be retired but in no way do I think of myself as old. Retired means unemployed to me, not old.

Senior, to me, still means of high school. Somehow I have difficulty ascribing that term to myself. Age wise I may qualify but mentally, not a chance. It may be genetic. When my 93 year old mother was rehabbing with her new hip she declined to eat in the dining room because she didn’t want to hang out with those “old” people. I would guess that she was the oldest person on her floor by at least 10 years.

World Series

Look at what “old” means in the sports arena. How many times during the World Series did you hear Jamie Moyer referred to as “old”. Look at Brett Favre, I don’t care what you think of him, calling him old seems ludicrous.

So for those of you who wish to pigeon hole us geriatricly challenged folks as incompetent or technophobes, look at your peers. You may find just as many people in your age group, that exhibit the behavior you are ascribing to us. So keep in mind that if you want your voice to be heard, you may want to listen to the voices of others, regardless of age and you may want to avoid labeling.

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