One of the saddest aspects of our culture, particularly in America, is the way we regard those who came before us. It is a conversation I have with my workmates frequently – nobody seemingly relevant in our industry is over 50… hell over 40. And since none of us have any sort of real savings, what does that mean for us? Anyways, we are basically perpetuating one of the most tragic self-fulfilling prophecies that impacts our society today: As we grow old, we become obsolete. The way we treat our elderly not only has major ramifications on individual families and households, but on the country, our health care system and beyond. Yes, we are living longer, but in reality, we are just prolonging our sickness and reliance on family and a government that certainly acts like we are a burden, not a great asset.
We disregard the elderly for no reason at all, other than our selfishness and complete obsession with staying young, our pursuit of money, or whatever twisted things motivate us these days. Other cultures with high percentages of centenarians all have one thing in common – they maintain the utmost respect for the elderly, revere them, include them, and employ them, so much so people actually lie about how old they are (by adding years) because it gives them street cred. Here, we consider our elderly useless, and sadly that is what they become. Self-fulfilling.
I am not a soapbox kind of guy. I am not saying to run out to your local old folks home and volunteer, although it is not a bad idea. But why contribute to prolonging that kind of life? I am just suggesting that we occasionally take time to demonstrate one quarter of the attention and reverence that we pay the youthful and the beautiful to get some knowledge from someone who has been there and done that.
To help you along, I will occasionally post photos that remind us that some of our most amazing minds and contributors to society never set foot on a runway, appeared in a tabloid, or on a red carpet. In other cases, the photos may remind you that who is old now, was at one point cool as hell. I know you have seen pictures of your grandfather, father, or an uncle when they were young and undeniably cool. Those people still exist, just in a shell that shows how much fun they had when they were younger. If you are lucky to know them, go ask them a question or something.