Me. Never thought it would happen. When I was young, I’d see old women in non-action at committee meetings and on the job, even in my family. I always had two questions about them.
1) Why did they apply rouge or blusher in bright blotches on their cheeks? And,
2) Why were they often so grouchy?
With age comes wisdom. Sometimes. Or in this case, at least answers. I’m here to tell you that old ladies apply uber-color on their cheeks because their eyesight isn’t good. They can’t discern how heavily they’ve applied it.
As for the grouchiness, this, too, appears to be a function of aging. I’ve lived and learned. The older I get, the more impatient I am with people who have yet to understand the things I have. For example, a group planning an event refuses to prepare a detailed list of responsibilities and assignments. When essentials are overlooked and supplies go missing, my inclination is a motherly “I told you so.” A young friend delivers a lecture to me about packing and scolds that miniature lotion and shampoo are unnecessary. I crow after my return and report the number of hotels failing to provide these essentials.
This extends into public issues and creative efforts. Politicians of all stripes forget what has preceded them, ignore the many solutions that have been implemented in the past, insist on re-visiting the same old debates. Writers believe they’ve uncovered secrets of the universe when a little research would show just how over-used an idea is. Artists brag about their individuality when a visual style is actually a return to days gone by.
Of course criticisms about inexperience and immaturity could flit through my mind and not out my mouth. But maturity also makes me aware that time is fleeting. I don’t want to waste energy and effort being diplomatic. If I blurt out my opinion, get to the heart of the matter without fussing around, I’ll save precious minutes. Unfortunately, I might offend some people in the process.
So before you wonder, “Why is she such an old bitch?”, pause to consider the words of George Santayana (and others who’ve said nearly the same thing), “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Maybe you can actually learn something from someone older than you.
On the other hand, you could remind me, courtesy of Kurt Vonnegut, “We’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That’s what it is to be alive.”