Aren't We Too Old For This?
Monday, 28 August 2006
Crabby Old Lady was grumpier than usual over the weekend. “Would you get this posted,” she grumbled. “I want to get it off my chest.”
ME: Let it go, Crabby. You'll just inflame the issue.
CRABBY: No. We've never done anything to cause this woman to speak so rudely. It should be addressed.
ME: It's not important, Crabby. Besides, most visitors here probably didn't even read it and so what if they did.
CRABBY: It's not about readers. It's about standing up for oneself. About righting a wrong.
ME: It's not that big a deal...
CRABBY: Just write it. You'll stew about it if you don't.
ME: Okay. Okay.
What's got Crabby's knickers in a twist is a comment left Saturday on the recent Housekeeping post which asked people on the Elderbloggers list to suggest a category under which they would like their blogs listed.
The comment comes from M Sinclair Stevens of Words Into Bytes, a woman Crabby considers a long-time compatriot of the blogosphere who, over more than a year, has contributed a couple of dozen thoughtful/useful/helpful comments to Time Goes By. So the tone and attitude of this new comment nearly knocked Crabby off her rocking chair:
“Although it's always an honor to be included on someone's blogroll, feel free to delete me. I'm not an elderblogger. With a generation above me and one below me, I'm smack dab in the middle of my life. I am, in fact, one of your oft-reviled baby boomers (although I feel a bit young even for that label--my Dad served in Viet Nam not WWII).
“Even if I were your age, I would consider myself a senior rather than an elder. I think there are generational differences between the 60-75 crowd (which I would term seniors) and the 75+ crowd (which I would term elders).
“May I suggest North Country Maturing Gardener in my stead?”
Good god – that link to Words Into Bytes has been on the blogroll for more than a year. If M Sinclair Stevens is younger than 50 or, if she is older than 50 and does not want to be identified as an elder, all she had to do was ask. Crabby has made the error of assuming age that had not yet been attained with two or three other bloggers who requested a correction, and they were immediately moved to the Honorary Elderbloggers list.
Crabby is sorry for the mistake. She apologizies to M Sinclair Stevens and has removed the link.
M Sinclair Stevens has made her senior/elder point in the past at Time Goes By, which she is welcome to do. Disagreement and argument (in the best sense of those words) with one another here has created some enlightening and valuable discussion. What is not tolerated here, however, is an uncivil tongue, and Crabby can't imagine what she has done to provoke it.
If this comment had been left by a stranger to TGB, it would be of no account. From a regular contributor, it is incomprehensible. But Crabby, who is no saint, admits that it is a struggle to refrain from responding in kind so she will shut up now before she lets loose. She thanks M Sinclair Stevens for the suggested replacement – an excellent and informative gardening blog.
As an antidote to today’s unpleasantness, Crabby recommends this lovely piece posted by kenju at Just Ask Judy, written by someone who is eager to enjoy the differing pleasures of late life with as much enthusiasm as those of youth and adulthood.
I am PROUD to be included as a "baby elderblogger", just old enough to be included since I turned 50 this year. I even have my AARP card to prove it :) Wanna card me? :)
You have a timely and informative blog and glad I have found you!
Posted by: Cathy | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 04:08 AM
I am just proud to be listed. I am not picky about labels. I can be an elder, which sounds better to me than senior, or what ever! Until just recently I had a generation above me and TWO below me. That doesn't change the fact that I am 61. Thank you for listing me.
Posted by: Karen | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 06:08 AM
I like "elder" better than senior. But whatever category Crabby or Ronni would put me in, I'll be delighted and flattered to have my blog mentioned in Time Goes By links.
Let ill-tempered people live in GrumbleLand forever and ignore them, Crabby! ;)
Posted by: Claude | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 06:30 AM
I, too, am pleased to be listed. While I prefer "elder," either term seems an honor to me, and I felt that turning 50 was a creative and liberating experience. Physically, I could do without the creaking bones, etc., but emotionally, the years since 50 have provided so much in the way of life satisfaction that I'm not going to complain (much).
Posted by: jenclair | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 06:44 AM
Me, too!! It was a huge honoring surprise to see my own link appear here. I'm glad Crabby talked you into venting. As I see it, that is what will make it possible for it to truly no longer matter... :)
For the record, I prefer 'elder' also; 'senior' has been worked to death and now has some unpleasant connotations.
And I forgot your housekeeping request: I'm hard to categorize also, but I like the stuff I call "Spirit-U-All" the best. :)
Posted by: kate | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 08:19 AM
I consider myself an elder who blogs about life on the other side of 60 because getting to this age felt to me like crossing over. The crossing came with menopause, with my changing body, my new invisibility in the world because I suddenly looked my age. And the crossing got rough when my best friend died, and then my sister, and I got it that moving through life from now on would have many more such changes. Most people who have not crossed over yet don't really get it; they can be sympathetic, emphathetic, or maybe even dismissive. But ultimately they, too, will cross over if they are fortunate enough to live so long. Maybe M Sinclair Stevens just had a perimenopausal blip. If so she is on her way to understanding, as one does from this side of life, how little she really knows about life. I wish her well in her journey. It's not easy.
Thank you, Ronni, for including me in your blogroll. I am honored.
Posted by: Verna Wilder | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 09:12 AM
Well SOMEONE is a teensy tiny bit sensitive about age! Too bad because the elder community is a rich and interesting one that I'm happy to be part of.
And speaking about being listed on your blogroll...I almost fell off my chair the day I noticed I was on it. It's an honor to say the least!
Posted by: SAZ aka Susan | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 10:14 AM
I am always thrilled to be put onto anybody's blogroll so thanks Ronnie. I love any sort of approval. I'm less worried about my age than most. I didn't care a jot when 30 hit and was actually happy to have achieved the age of 40. Some of my friends didn't get that far. Now 40 is going off into the horizon a bit faster than 30 ever did and I still don't really care. I've got enough to worry about with the stuff I can control. I'm just trying to grow older with as much style as I can.
Posted by: Peggy | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 11:02 AM
I have been reading your blog for awhile now and mostly enjoy it. My experience is somewhat different, I am 64 and still working as an Autocad drafter at a very small environmental firm in the mornings which takes care of providing me with health insurance. In the afternoons I cad at home for a civil engineer I have drafted for for many years. Mostly I'm a little busier than I'd like to be.
Now that I'm breaking the ice more will be revealed in future comments but today I'd like to weigh in on Sr/Elder labels. I will tell a little story. I live in the pacific nw and some years back my guy and I went to a powwow. We looked at all the neat stuff and watched the dancers and then were mulling over if we wanted to buy the salmon dinner. We were asked how old we were. Over 55 you are considered an Elder. Your salmon dinner is free whether you are Native American or not. Little girls led us to a table and brought our delicious salmon dinner. We FELT honored. Why can't my culture of origin make me feel like that?
I vote for elder. In some ways I feel the same as ever. My hair started turning white in my late 20's and it my early 40's I surrendered to it. I can never be younger but I can always be healthier and that is what I work at; to keep my body and brain supple.
This morning I was reading an article in Ode magazine that disscusses the positive aspects of video games. There is one out now that helps children with cancer shoot down cancer cells and teaches them the value of a healthy immune response. Ronni, with all your power to reach the movers and shakers, it seems to me elders need video games to help us stay mentally supple and address our needs. Deepak Chopra has a game out Searching for the Wild Divine that teached how to control respiration and blood pressure to get to the next level etc. There is great potential here.
I will keep on reading you blog with interest and will probably put my two cents in occasionally.
Keep up the good work.
Posted by: Crystal Lucas | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 11:35 AM
I personally could not see what the problem with this post. Perhaps as I have gown older, older, older, so that I am getting to where I do not understand some digs, if they are digs or not digs. However, if you look at me wrong, in text, I feel my age, which has pissed me off for a few years, allows me to get cranky, nasty, often off the planet. Straighten up you say? Ha, how I wish I could. But between the physical pain of getting old;
the loss of mental stability and comprehension, I often fire off without looking where the gun is pointed. Sorta like this post is doing.
Posted by: Jimmy Porter | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 11:37 AM
I don't comment here often (but I do read!). I feel compelled to today. I've read M. Sinclair Stevens' comment several times and pondered it, and my take is that this may be an occasion where the written word fails, and were this exchange to have occurred in person, there would have been non-verbal clues to clarify intent or soften the words. The comment is a bit terse, but I don't take away the egregious tone or attitude that others perceive. Yes, there was the snide self-reference to being an "oft-reviled baby boomer" -- yet I can't help but think that there may be a grain of validity to the emotion behind it. I don't know her, can't read her motives. I can only try to put myself in her shoes. At 43 I'm a baby boomer only by arbitrary classification, but if I were a boomer, perhaps I would feel the sting of the "anti-boomer" judgment that I detect in some posts and articles in other publications. There is a risk within a demographic (of any kind) of bigotry. For example, in brown-skinned populations, people with lighter skin receive better treatment and are more esteemed than their darker-toned peers. That's tragic. Equally tragic would be the reinforcement of ageism within the elder population, as seen in the debate over what term applies to which age.
I don't mean to fan the flames here. In fact, mostly I'm figuring out my thoughts as I write this comment. In conclusion: Yes, Ms. Stevens could have requested deletion any time in the past but didn't for whatever reason. She decided to leave this request in your housekeeping post, and she did write in a business-like manner and with a pointed tone. Yet the emotional response to this feels as though it was received as an ad hominem attack or a betrayal. The disparity is what puzzles me.
Posted by: Kathryn | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 12:10 PM
I consider you a celebrity blogger, Ronni, and am honored to be listed on your blogroll. I still get a thrill when I look over and see my blog over there on the left. Thanks for including me. :-)
Posted by: Joy D | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 01:56 PM
Ms. Stevens does not seem to fit within the boundaries as defined by the two established categories, viz., Elderbloggers and Honorary Elderbloggers (not yet 50). From biographical data listed at another of her blogs, her age looks to be approximately -- well, I’ll let you do your own calculation. Suffice to say, she may honestly feel that neither category describes her, unless the age range 50-59 is understood to be in the Elder category...
Most folks would call that prime Boomer territory.
I bet she’s ever-so-gently teasing you, Ronni, because your blog heads her list of daily reads. The addition of a third category on TGB encompassing the range of age 50 at the lower end and extending up to Elder’s youngest/lower boundary (59, 60 or ?) might address the dilemma.
Not that I’m telling you how to catalogue your blog! (Yes, I’m smiling at that.)
Such a course of events occurs so spontaneously whenever any sort of complex collection grows over time, as yours has done so delightfully these past few years. Editors, librarians, archivists, and curators all share this conundrum. How can we best organize our information to help our readers and visitors find that which they seek?
For what it’s worth.
Posted by: Bonnie Boles | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 02:38 PM
I think Ronni's writing on TGB is inclusive of all older generational age groups, including the boomers. Clearly, younger generations have also been embraced on this blog.
I've made comments here disputing the assertion by some ... notice I said "some" ... boomers who have written as though their experiences, challenges were unique to only their generation i.e. being "sandwiched." I have simply wanted to make them aware my, and other generations, had similar experiences; thus would be able to validate their own feelings of frustration, our understanding of the need for societal change, etc.
I have expressed concern that to isolate and focus on the boomers to the exclusion of other aging groups does not best serve the interests of any of our generations, including their own. This misguided isolating emphasis has led to some of the misperceptions about elders.
I am delighted with the attention the boomers can draw from all areas of our society, including press, business, government. They are in a position, based solely on their numbers, to bring about positive change for ALL aging people All older generations, not just their own. We can help, but not as well if we are marginalized. We need a unifying term, ELDER, to define all of us.
I think it's helpful for each of our generations to realize we have more in common than we have differences. My best friend, who happens to be a boomer, agrees. I perceive Ronni's writing as emphasizing the commonality between generations.
I respect those who are content with the various labels, primarily "senior," that have been applied to us at a certain point in our aging. I, personally, have never liked the term. I think it's an academic term to be applied primarily to high school and college student levels though business has incorporated it in a different context. I believe I am much more than just a senior. I've been a senior in school and work, and now I'm "older."
I am proud to be called an "elder." Whether or not I possess the wisdom the term implies is for others to determine, as would be true for all of us. Crystal Lucas' comment makes the point about our own native Americans, the respect with which they embrace their elders, which is also true in many other cultures in the world.
How can our younger generations look forward to optimal fulfillment throughout the envitable aging process, when they constantly encounter the term "senior" with the prevailing negative attitudes its use conveys?
I believe strongly that the language we use in the naming of groups greatly influences others perceptions. One of the problems with the use of the term "seniors" is that it has been corrupted. It has become a source of ridicule, mean-spirited humor and stereotyping to name just a few issues.
Having worked professionally and extensively for many years with the aging population in varying settings, I take strong issue with the arbitrary groupings of those 60-75 as being so significantly different from those 75 and above for labeling as suggested by Stevens. Based on the individuals I encounter, why would we think one could not be considered an elder until age 75?
Posted by: joared | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 02:55 PM
Hi. First let me say that I am 60. So what. Age is a number. The important thing is attitude. Sometimes I act like a 5 year old. Sometimes I feel tired and sad but I felt tired and sad sometimes when I was 25. My parents are gone, but I lost good friends when I was in my 30's. I have to work and will probably always have to work. Yeah, I envy folks who can retire and travel. So, I relate more to younger folks. I like getting senior discounts. Life is a mixture of what we've done and seen so far. I was always against labels yet I am proud to be called mother. I am into the roots thing...I will often ask people what their heritage is. So, thanks Ronni for your wonderful blog...a place to share, no matter what age or what we feel like sharing. Here's to all of us, grumpy or not.
BTW...would you list my blog? I would be honred.
Posted by: Nickie | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 03:03 PM
Ronni, thanks for the link and the mention of my post.
I too, consider it an honor to be im your blogroll, and you may feel free to call me whatever term you would like.
Posted by: kenju | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 04:09 PM
I read and re-read. I'm sorry to be out of it but I just don't get it. I don't see the insult. I don't see cause for reaction. Does that put me on the other side? Good grief! I hoe not! I think this blog is great. I has opened up a world to me. And if someone wants to take their football and go home . . .okay. but that's as far as I got!!
Posted by: notdotdot | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 04:44 PM
Maybe, as a fellow baby boomer, I am a bit defensive on her behalf, but her comments did not seem that uncivil to me, just kind of a matter-of-fact setting straight of age issues.
Posted by: Nancy | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 05:13 PM
You can sign me up to either. I will turn fifty in November and lucky to have lived long enough to make it in the the elite ARRP group. I think your site and the elder term is great.
I'm all for: If you don't have something good to say about what someone else is doing then go to Shutyourmouth.com
Posted by: janet | Monday, 28 August 2006 at 07:23 PM
Well, I'm 47. Should I be listed as a "Tweener", or maybe "end of the boomers", since I don't want to be identified with all those self-righteous older boomers who don't think they are elders yet?
Just kidding, of course. I am more than honored to be thought older and wiser than my nominal "age"!
People are so silly sometimes, but then, that's part of what makes them so amusing. Although most of them get upset when I giggle at them.
Posted by: donna | Tuesday, 29 August 2006 at 12:42 AM
I sort of agree with Ms Stevens as I (too) am in denial about being 'old', or perhaps 'too old to do [whatever]'. And I certainly see generational differences between 60 and 75 or 80. I live in 'senior housing', and some fellow residents are my mother's age. As for the term 'senior', I swallowed it when they came out with 'senior discounts', but I don't see myself as an 'elder'. This is certainly a case of personal connotations coloring words with meanings that differ from person to person. I appreciate being listed here and remember my first reaction to being an elderblogger, a surprised "Oh, hm-m, I guess I am!" Perhaps, the best part of this post, Ronni, is that you decided to air your reaction and grievance so that we can all think about it with you. Thank you for that.
Posted by: dus7 | Tuesday, 29 August 2006 at 01:49 AM
I vote for being called an Elder as I think it's more descriptive. One time I wrote a letter to the Editor and signed "Senior" after my name. The paper called me wanting to know what High School I attended. That taught me to be more precise.
Posted by: Darlene | Tuesday, 29 August 2006 at 03:24 AM
I think there's a little sensitivity on both sides.
Growing into one's age is an imperfect process. As the birthday card I just gave to my 98 year old uncle said, Inside every old person is a young person--wondering what the hell happened. He loved it. We aren't elders 100% of the time.
Posted by: Stella | Tuesday, 29 August 2006 at 04:00 AM
I have been reading the comments and find it interesting. As one who is also considered a 'Baby Boomer' it amazes me that labels are still around. Senior, elder, crone ad nauseum. I prefer elder some mornings, and 'wild, wicked and absolutely delicious' on others. Then there are the days when 'ugh, get away from me' grouchiness crops up and I think 'old grouch'. Had I known at 20 how liberating 50 would be I'd probably have not reached this grand new journey. Now that I'm here - free at last!
Posted by: Georjina | Tuesday, 29 August 2006 at 04:07 AM
Call me anything; just don't call me late for dinner...
Posted by: Cowtown Pattie | Tuesday, 29 August 2006 at 09:23 AM
Well how very cool is this? I had no idea my blog was listed here. I consider it an honour. LOL in two years I'll be consided an Old Aged Pensioner by the British Government. I think Elder Blogger sounds so much better.
Posted by: Vanda | Tuesday, 29 August 2006 at 01:25 PM
I like elder but I really don't care what people call me. (A big AMEN! to Cowtown Pattie!) I was the born in 1947 which makes me most senior of the Boomers & frankly, I have damn little in common with the youngest of my generation -- to me, they're just kids. lol The bottom line is that I am intensely proud to be included as an Elderblogger & glad I'm here meeting all of you. You've added a wonderful dimension to my life! Thanks!!!!
Posted by: Kay Dennison | Wednesday, 30 August 2006 at 06:19 AM
I too thank you for putting me on your blogroll. I must admit that when I first saw my site listed under ElderBloggers I felt a slight twinge of, I don't know, shock, denial? That I was being pushed into old age a little sooner that I expected? I decide to look up the definition of elder and found this:
"The adjective elder is not a synonym for elderly. In comparisons between two persons, elder means "older" but not necessarily "old": My elder sister is sixteen; my younger, twelve. (Eldest is used when three or more persons are compared: He is the eldest of four brothers.) In other contexts elder does denote relatively advanced age but with the added component of respect for a person's achievement, as in an elder statesman. If age alone is to be expressed, one should use older or elderly rather than elder: A survey of older Americans; an elderly waiter."
I can live with that.
As for being old...a quick test. If when watching THE GODFATHER" you think, "OMG, look how young Al Pacino is!" when he first comes on the screen , you are old. If you think the same thing when you first see Brando...you are very old.
Posted by: la peregrina | Wednesday, 30 August 2006 at 07:13 AM
First, I have to say that the day I noticed myself on your blog roll was a red letter day for me! To be there is really an honor.
I am one who prefers elder, partially because I work with a client group that is highly American Indian and it is a term of respect.
Like Crystal Lucas, I have attended pow wows, as well as potlatches, 40-Day parties, and baby showers where the children have waited on me because I am an elder and it is a delight.
Posted by: Maya's Granny | Wednesday, 30 August 2006 at 03:01 PM