A LETTER TO A FELLOW SENIOR CITIZEN
Joel Bossing, greetings.
It’s a bit ironical, at a time when we are supposed to be counting stars, watching youthful pedestrians racing in varied directions, picking favourite flavours from the menu, even laughing at the irrationality of the past; here we are still struggling to produce our daily bread. I also find it quite discomforting to think of office routine when I am supposed to be writing my memoirs or things like that. Probably it is the senior part of my soul trying to push my consciousness into something that does not belabour my strength anymore. I am now more inclined to move towards a stress free environment, like walking briefly in the park, sipping coffee in some benches where people walk by, checking the internet for some information, glancing at newspaper headlines and ogling at the current sports event. How I wish to be in Andorra, a landlocked microstate in Southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains (in Greek mythology it has been said that it was formed by piling up rocks by Hercules in honor of his loved one who perished as she fled in the woods) and bordered by Spain and France. It has been said that when it comes to life expectancy Andorra is the most senior country on Earth—the average citizen reaching 84 years. There are a number of reasons why it is so—mountain air, vigorous skiing, low-tax for alcohol and cigars, etc. But most likely, it could be lack of stress. Andorrians know neither unemployment nor income tax!
I also have to do a lot to catch up with readings. I discovered in my library that I still have books in cellophane, as yet to be opened and read. While passing through books stores, there are still titles which I have as yet to procure. But of course, a sedentary life requires support. How I wish I could do what Epictetus, a former slave of the Roman Empire who gained fame with his Stoic Philosophy, did during his lifetime. Epictetus walked his talk. He lived modestly in a small hut and eschewed any interest in fame, fortune and power. He passed away at the age of 80 in 135 AD, and he is still revered at present.
In my case though, I still have a fetish for fame, power and yes, fortune. Forget fame and power, they are fleeting but fortune, it makes a big difference. You can be skillful, with extraordinary talent to earn properly and fanatically indulgent in savings, but at the end of the day, as you enjoyed the perks of having saved so much, there is the taxman haunting you, tailing you, harassing you, and requiring you to explain your wealth. Forget the taxman; your snooping neighborhood hoodlum may get to you first. The lesson here is to live incognito, to be faceless in a world defined for secrecy.
We can sit back for a while, reflect on how we fared, the status of our children, their mother, where they are, how they are, we can only sigh and presume that they are all well, working through, and staying on top of the heap, so to speak. As for us, well, we can manage with whatever morsel we can get. We did not reach this age for nothing.
We seem to have a similarity of fate, almost the same moon lines on our palms. We are distant with our family, but not so much because there is cyberspace to link up with them at a moment’s notice. We are virtually outside of their loop in the physical sense though. But there is nothing to worry about since they have their own respective means to face the challenge of daily living. Hence, we try to thrive in our personal universe, slaying our dragons, confronting our demons without coddling anyone on our backs. I think that is what a senior citizen ought to do in the first place. Train himself to brazen out whatever it is to be defeated—all by his lonesome.
I would often hear that those in their 60s are actually, by current standards, the new 40s. I think the proposition is correct unless of course there are tell tale signs of ailments which are attributed to ageing which disturb one’s routine. For us, except for the graying hair, nothing has changed. Our bodies are still supple, our knees still bendable and our minds have retained it sharpness. We can still claim for more years to come. And yes, still accomplish so much.
But in keeping with tradition, we, as senior citizens ought to be cautious in every task we perform. We are no longer as athletic as before. We can jab once in a while, stretch a leg for once but we are more given to taking a nap if there is a lapse somewhere; that we must never deny our selves.
My friend let us find time for a brief period of reunion and perhaps resolve not to work anymore.