This annoyed me quite a lot. Well, it made me hopping mad actually. I don’t have children myself but if I did of course I’d want to leave them something for themselves as well as enough to take care of funeral expenses. However, I would very much resent the idea that I was selfishly spending their inheritance every time I wanted to do something fun.
Of course it is silly to live beyond your income no matter what your age is but if retirees have a bit of money put by why shouldn’t they enjoy it? They had mortgages and school fees to pay once and probably went without holidays and other things they wanted for the sake of their families. There might be just a few years before health issues mean that they can no longer travel so whiny adult children complaining about mum and dad wasting their money on frivolities don’t sit well with me I’m afraid.
I think this annoyed me all the more because some time ago I read another piece about how older people in Australian cities should move out of their houses into smaller accomodation so that they could be demolished to make room for more townhouses and apartments. Apparently wanting to stay in the family home is also selfish. So called experts tell us we should “de clutter” our lives which really means “Get rid of all your old stuff because it’s a waste of space.” It doesn’t matter whether it means anything to you or not. “You can take a picture of it.”
The elderly seem can’t take a trick these days. We are expected to work longer but jobs are harder to get. Pensions are barely enough and now even those who have managed to save enough for a comfortable retirement are being accused of selfishness. The only ones who don’t have to worry are elderly politicians. If they are voted out of office they will get some nice cushy job offered to them or they can retire with a nice big pension and lots of perks.
Do I sound like a grumpy old lady? Is it any wonder?
Would I want to live forever and never age? No. I don’t believe I would. I have to admit that the never aging part sounds tempting. It’s no fun to find it uncomfortable to kneel, to put your back out cutting your toenails, and to feel generally more creaky and slow than you used to. However what would it be like to be the only one who didn’t age when everyone around me did? What would it be like to outlive everyone I’d ever known? No. I don’t think I would like that at all. I think that I would always feel like a fish out of water never quite fitting in with anyone. Perhaps I’d be afraid to become too close to anyone because they would get old and die while I stayed the same age.
Imagine if there were drugs that kept you alive forever. Only the rich and powerful would be able to afford them. Wars would be fought over them and society would be more divided than ever as the long-lived would organise things to suit themselves. Maybe it’s a sign of approaching age that I’m cynical about this. Instead of imagining a world where humane and enlightened leaders try to find ways to share their good fortune with everyone I worry about leaders who would want to stay in power and would not be concerned about the needs of those people who were not going to live as long. I don’t think I would want to live in such a world.
And what if we could all live forever? Well I can’t see that working either. Unless we stopped reproducing we’d overpopulate the planet and if we did stop having children we’d stagnate. On the whole I think one good lifetime is enough. Threescore years and ten plus a few more as a bonus ought to be enough time to do what you want to do and to see the changes each new generation brings.
I am not afraid to grow old but I do find as I get older that I’m thinking about things that I didn’t worry about before. I have always enjoyed reflecting on the past but I’ve also looked forward to the future. Now when I look back I sometimes feel a sense of loss, perhaps that comes with age, regretting the good thing that are gone. When I look forward, instead of thinking of things I hope to do, I sometimes find myself thinking about what might lie ahead for us both personally and for the world. Hubby and I have no children so a time will come when we will have to make arrangements for our future if we become unable to care for ourselves. I never used to worry about that before but now I do sometimes.
I’ve always thought that Australia of all places really was the lucky country and compared with many places it still is but I worry it might not be in the future, that there will be a bigger gap between rich and poor and that it will be harder and harder to achieve the things we’ve taken for granted, like owning a home and earning a wage you can live on. I worry that we are becoming more short-sighted, greedy, selfish and shallow and less compassionate towards others.
I am not usually pessimistic about the future but having passed the half way mark in my life, I’m fairly certain I won’t live to be more than 112, I do think more about it. There are still good times ahead I’m sure and good people but yes, maybe my golden years do have a little tarnish round the edges.