I knew this was coming: I miss talking with the “young professionals”, as I like to think of them, who are now between the ages of 30 and 50, ambitious and well-informed who appear to be on the cutting edge of life, the best ever period in one’s lifetime. They are my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews, and young friends from Ellsworth and “around”. They are bright, intelligent, well-educated and moving ahead with their mental GPS systems pointing them in the direction they have chosen. They have boundless amounts of energy and use it to the fullest. They operate off multiple spread-sheets and have their futures planned years in advance. They give serious thought and consideration to lifetime issues that my generation let “just happen”…like saving and preparing for retirement, life time health care and family planning. They all know who they are and I hope they know they are missed.
They, both men and women, are waiting until their 30s to get married, usually after they have finished their education (at least the basic BS) and after they have a career path in view. They plan the arrival of children very carefully, sometimes well before they are married. They are not judgmental and take people for who they are. They speak properly as if HR people were constantly on duty. They know not to cross personal boundaries. Color, disabilities and gayness don’t enter their minds. They want equality for all. They understand the Constitution and Bill of Rights and have a much better understanding of what they mean than their elders. For the most part, they understand the truth behind the plethora of political lies that are spewed over the airways. Truth and honesty matter to them. Religion doesn’t play a major role in their lives, if at all.
All in all: the young professionals “get” it. The older generations I mingle with don’t get it. It’s neither good nor bad: it’s just the way things are. We all grow older and more set in our ways, largely because we aren’t exposed to new thoughts and ideas. There are a lot more older folk in the world than we ever expected. The young professionals are our future. They will lead the way and I am confident they will do a better job than we can even imagine.
Our paths cross infrequently since I moved to the Palace, and I expected that they would, so the conversations that once took place regularly have been put on hold. It’s not a negative thing; it’s the way life is. That’s the one thing I really miss about living here, but I’m learning how to fill the void.
Sadly, there is nothing here at the Palace to take the place of those conversations, nothing like them to stimulate our minds. It’s likely that I and a small handful of others are the only ones who’ve noticed. Programs and parties need to include everyone…memory unit and health care…. and they are always designed and based on the lowest common denominator, which I think is a disservice to everyone. There are few exceptions. But…people here are happy and love living here, as I do. It’s just all part of the adjustment to a new life style.
So, one then relies on other pockets of stimulation: computers, books, the arts, and conversations, etc. There are lots of reasons why conversations among the elderly are limited. We’ve reached an age (65 to 105) where we aren’t planning vacations and trips to exotic places because travel is too difficult and tiring; we aren’t looking for jobs or spouses as most of us have already had them and lost them; we aren’t starting a family or building a house so those aren’t topics of conversation of the elderly.
Older people get riled up over subjects such as politics and religion, or anything controversial, and can’t talk about them in a rational manner. That’s because older people, in my opinion, tend to seek consistency in their beliefs and perceptions and they don’t want to be confronted with something that conflicts with another previously held belief. We all knows that monumental progress has been made in STEM. Young people understand. Older people are still hanging on to creative design, deny global warming and can’t accept science. The term cognitive dissonance comes to mind when that feeling of discomfort overwhelms one from holding two conflicting beliefs at one time. You can see it when the “shade” is lowered and eyes get squinty. No one wants to even think about something that might cause them to slip into this quagmire. One treads lightly around here.
Even current events are deeply infused with politics and are subjects residents avoid just as they do religion and politics. So, in my opinion, conversations that do occur don’t require a lot of thought or information and they take place over lunch where only pleasantries of the day and the latest spin on who is stealing the fruit cups and flatware or some thing dealing with the weather are mentioned. I guess you call that having respect for others.
When spontaneous utterances do occur, it’s usually because someone has spent way too much time watching Fox News and is all riled up over things that probably aren’t true, or only partially true. The inmates are overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, but the Rs who aren’t tea party folk don’t understand how the litmus test system works now that the tea party has taken over. For some reason I can’t figure out, they believe the Eisenhower Republicans will somehow reappear on their white horses and come to their rescue.
I particularly miss my young friends now that there is no one I live among who even comes close to filling this self-imposed vacuum of conversation-less living. Fortunately, I still have good friends who like to have phone conversations so I can rely on them to fill my empty spaces.
This situation is one I expected when I moved here…it is, after all, the “Presbyterian Manor” with religion infused at every turn. And, since most people in Kansas are Republicans, you can imagine that most who live here are as conservative as they come. Eisenhower died a long time ago and I don’t ever expect him to return. I hate to break the news to others. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy the people around me, as I do. Very much. Some have become very good friends.
BUT…..there is a bright light on the horizon, which was my real reason for the blog. Three of my good friends, who are in their early 70’s and lean the same direction I do on most things, are moving to the Palace grounds. It will be a joy to have them near. That makes six of us, as far as I know, but I’m still looking for sleepers. Change comes with baby steps.
Thanks for tuning in…