National Senior Citizens Day was first declared to be August 21 in 1988 by Ronald Reagan. The proclamation read in part, “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.”
I must admit I feel a little ambivalent about this. As someone who is officially in that category, I’m glad to be treated nicely at any time, but I don’t feel the need to set aside a special day for that. It makes me feel old! When I think of people to be nice to on Senior Citizens Day, I think of my 91-year-old mother in assisted living. I’m still dreaming and writing and baking and gardening and doing most of what I did twenty or thirty years ago – a bit slower, perhaps, but I don’t feel old, at least not most of the time. I guess it’s true what a wonderful older woman said to me once: “I don’t know how old old is, but it’s older than I am!”
While part of me is beginning to accept the mantel of “crone” (not derogatorily, but as in the three ages of a woman – maiden, mother, crone) I’m not ready to hang up my walking shoes or sit in the sunshine just yet.
So be kind to us older folks today, but don’t treat us as washed up!
Quotes about aging
Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.–Jim Fiebig
Age has extremely little to do with anything that matters. The difference between one age and other is, as a rule, enormously exaggerated.–Rose McCaulay
Age puzzles me. I thought it was a quiet time. My seventies were interesting and fairly serene, but my eighties are passionate. I grow more intense as I age.–Florida Scott-Maxwell
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at twenty or eight. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young, but becomes constantly more valuable regardless of physical capacity.–Harvey Ullman
The belief that youth is the happiest time of life is founded on a fallacy. The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts and we grow happier as we grow older.–William Lyon Phelps
A friend of Oliver Wendell Holmes asked him why he had taken up the study of Greek at the age of ninety-four. Holmes replied, “Well, my good sir, it’s now or never.”
The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.–Madeleine L’Engle
The hard thing when you get old is to keep your horizons open. The first part of your life everything is in front of you, all your potential and promise. But over the years, you make decisions; you carve yourself into a given shape. Then the challenge is to keep discovering the green growing edge.—-Howard Thurman
I suppose real old age begins when one looks backward rather than forward.–Mary Sarton
In my old age there is a coming into flower. My body wanes; my mind waxes.–Victor Hugo
It annoys me when people say “Even if you’re old, you can be young at heart!” Hiding inside this well-meaning phrase is a deep cultural assumption that old is bad and young is good. What’s wrong with being old at heart, I’d like to know? Wouldn’t you like to be loved by people whose hearts have practiced loving for a long time?– Susan Moon
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