AGING EXPERT BY DEFAULT
When experts discuss and write about aging, they often revert to textbooks for their authority. I submit that while many of these opinions are well meaning, they often miss the point. They miss the point because they don’t have the one most important component. That component is experience. Experience tops virtually everything else.
I have written all of this to say I am an expert on aging!
There are those who are experts on giving birth. I am not one of those.
There are those who have parachuted from the open door of an airplane. I am not one of those---although I would like to try it.
There are those who have addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress. I am not one of those.
There are those who have lived to the age of 84. I AM one of those. Thus, I am an expert on aging. What sixty-year-old whipper snapper is going to lecture me on aging?
I must say that I am honored by the Maker that He has permitted me to make it thus far.
Just last week I had the privilege, along with my wonderful spouse, Dianne (She edits these As Time Goes By columns), to be at a reunion with four of our children and eleven of our thirteen grandchildren.
What impressed me most was how these once-run-around-and-scream children have become almost adults. Please notice that I said they are “almost adults.” In these developing human beings, childlike screams were replaced with one-on-one discussions and chess matches. Of course, I’m aware that the broad space of time made this development possible. We have routinely held our family reunion every other year. But because of the pandemic, we had not seen many of our children and grandchildren in as much as three years.
My aging expertise was called upon several times when these almost adults (okay, teenagers and early 20s) called on Grampa0 and GrammaO to sit down with them and discuss the growing-up issues they are facing. And while technology has challenged the older ones of us, the basic issues facing every one of these “young’uns” have remained almost the same.
Why did they seek us out? Because they knew we had been, seen, and done what our experience would provide them to understand. After all, we’re aging experts by default.
What Dianne and I saw, heard, and felt a couple of weeks ago, we observe regularly right here in the Garden of Eads.