The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

September 15, 2011

VALLEY: Inactive seniors and over-reacting juniors


The Journal-Register

MEDINA — Have you seen the commercial on television where the young gal who is at the age where she knows everything there is to know about life and the world says something to the effect that a recent study had shown that older people tend to live less of a social life than they did in the past?

Gee, there’s a scoop!

And, to her, this report had enough gravitas to take it upon herself to sign her parents up for some socializing opportunities like Twitter, Facebook and/or a beer-league softball team — whatever the ad was for.

Obviously, she is under the impression that what they did in the past is what they should be doing now. It can’t be they decided not to by choice — it has to be that her mom and dad are now incapable of recognizing the fact that they are slowing down. Dolly-daughter-do-good to the rescue: She made the decision to put them back in the game.

What’s up with that? Who put her in charge and made her chief of the Geezer Police? Did she ever think that most of her parents’ friends, whose company they used to enjoy, are incapacitated or dead? And perhaps they are content without the hustle and bustle of a new and energetic crowd?

When I first heard her, I just wanted to tell her to go away.

I feel that way because I don’t want someone telling me — or worse, deciding — what I should be doing. Socializing more?

To me (my personal opinion, if you will), being by oneself is underrated and under-appreciated. Along the road of life, I’ve developed some hermit-like traits. The older I get, the less I feel the urge to be Sammy the Socialite. I would not extoll my preferences upon anyone — just as I wouldn’t want someone deciding what I should do — especially, because of a report they read.

End of story ... almost.

“Almost” means I should insert a liability clause. That clause stipulates that my wife is an exception to the don’t-tell-me-what-to-do rule. She’s allowed to have her say whenever she wants. (It’s a “liability” clause because if I don’t give her that, I’m liable to get into something so deep that a fleet of John Deere tractors couldn’t pull me out.)

It’s not that the missus plans my day for me — she never would. She may make suggestions but she knows that I’m not a social animal (okay, the past is what it is, no comment on that without a subpoena). I can handle the suggestion approach about things. And I can honestly say, she makes good ones. It’s just that I don’t always go along with them.

Actually, I seldom go along.

Fact is, I never go along.

But she respects my idiosyncrasies. Well, she does sometimes. Okay, rarely. ... Alright, never. But it’s that superficial arrangement that makes it real. (Did I just say that?)

Our relationship is usually based on compromise. Like the time she wanted to tear down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. I didn’t want to do it — I didn’t like the idea at all. So we compromised and the wall came down.

The funny part is I didn’t even realize she had it taken down until after I got home from my softball game. You guessed it, my daughter, Melissa, signed me up for that.

Alrighty then … and that’s the way it looks from the Valley.