WHAT A PAIN IN THE (FILL IN YOUR CHOICE OF WORD): WHY I GET CANTANKEROUS

Now I know why aging people are cantankerous.

Something always hurts. If not my knees, then my back. If not a tooth, then a muscle. Each day brings a new insight into the limitations of the human body.

What’s causing this testiness? Age? Do our bodies simply start breaking down? Yes, to some extent. But even more, I feel dogged by the sense time is speeding by and the physical symptoms serve as markers, reminders. Once you pass a milestone birthday, be it 40 or 45 or 50, you realize more years are behind you than ahead of you.

So I get impatient with incompetence, idiocy, and ageism. Example: the young woman on the jogging and biking trail with two dogs, occupying the entire width of the sidewalk, who, after I’d TRIED to alert her to my presence, called, “You could say excuse me.” Used to be, I wouldn’t have responded. Nowadays I do. Loudly, and I tack on a frank comment on her behavior.

Still nonsense like that is only the beginning. Even worse, seems as if it’s open season to bad mouth and mock older people. Ageism is the popular term. Since few comedians are comfortable belittling races or religions or social classes nowadays, denigrating older adults substitutes. I wouldn’t mind so much if the jibes were limited to actions over which people have choice and control. But all too often they’re simply physical traits no one can influence. Such as wrinkles or moving more slowly or failing to hear or see adequately, or simply looking old, meaning “ugly.”

Not fair. Not nice. Mean-spirited, rude, and deliberately hurtful. And duplicated not infrequently by the general public as an older adult is ignored in a store or restaurant. Or by a pedestrian who nearly knocks you down on the sidewalk. Or a relative who heaves a great sigh at another recitation of an old memory.

Yes, I can be grouchy, grumpy, or any other similar term you choose. I’ll continue to battle the actual impact of aging by getting involved in various physical and mental activities. And for the less obvious psychological repercussions, I’ll wear my “such a nasty woman” t-shirt with as adequate warning.

Note: Sept 23 – 29 is Active Aging Week

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