Originally Published: August 17, 2017 6:01 a.m.
Dear Annie: I’m 81 years old. Of all the issues I read about regarding seniors, no one seems to acknowledge this one, and I just know I am not alone in this: the grief of trying to come to grips with the fact that I am old.
First let me say that I live with my husband of 60 years; I have friends and a good church community; I exercise five times a week; and I have fulfilling hobbies. But what do I do with the frustration I feel that we can no longer stand or walk the long distances for all the entertainment and activities we used to enjoy? What do I do with the memories that should bring me happiness but instead make me sad that they are no longer? How do I deal with seeing how traditions that my parents, grandparents and I have tried to keep going seem lost on the new generations? What do I do with seeing families having fun together while no one ever thinks to invite us older people along? What do I do with the cards and photos I send and calls I make that are never acknowledged? What do I do with the guilt I feel for being angry with my precious husband when I want to do something but we just sit home and dissolve into meaningless TV because he can’t physically do it anymore? What do I do when I can’t see or hear things and have to fake it?
Bottom line: How do I make myself accept the fact that I am old? — Louise A.
Dear Louise: Let your children or other younger family members know that you’re struggling and what you need from them — support, acknowledgment, more quality time together or anything else.
Commiserate with friends your own age about your frustrations. Just being around people who “get it” can be incredibly healing.
It is futile to try to stop yourself from feeling sad about old memories. It is sad. It is hard. Accept these feelings, and if they are too deep and hurtful, processing them with a therapist would be helpful.
Dear Annie: This is a response to “Obsessed and Tired,” the young teen who is obsessed with internet stars. She mentioned that she believes her internet obsessions are based on her lack of friends, but when I was a teen who was obsessed with anime, I used that interest to make friends. I went to conventions, joined clubs and went to events— all places where I could meet people who liked and enjoyed the same things as I did -- and I met (and still meet) lots of new friends while enjoying the things I like.
Luckily for “Obsessed,” this is an age in which the seemingly “nerdy” groups of young people are becoming more social and outgoing and have more to access and share. So I would suggest to her that she research and look into various events, conventions or even fan group meet-ups (usually made through Facebook groups) to branch out her social network and make new friends while fully enjoying the things she likes. — A Fellow Nerd
Dear Fellow Nerd: I love this idea. I’ve passed your message along to “Obsessed and Tired.” Thank you for writing.
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