I'm not a senior citizen yet, but I am constantly treated like one. I'm out there in the year 2009 looking for a career change, a job that is - but it's hard for people over 50 to find anything akin to meaningful work and I get frustrated easily some days. The jobs seem to be only for greeters or cashiers but rarely for what I did for a living which was and is writing. I could be angry I suppose, or even frustrated but all in all I think I'm taking it pretty well - for now. You see I had the best of examples on how to handle any difficult situation when I was growing up.
Like me, my grandmother was told be the society she lived in that older women, "Didn't do those sorts of things!" but she did and relished being considered a rebel in her day. She certainly did not take being shoved into a category like old age lightly, in fact you might say that on that subject she was more than a bit defiant! From the time she turned fifty to well into her ninetieth year she found a way to make her mark and enjoy thumbing her nose at the boxes that society continually created for the older citizens in society.
Her real challenging the system began when she took up platform diving in her fifth decade. Her instructor thought she was totally crazy I'm sure, but admired her enough to call our local newspaper the Chronicle who sent out a reporter to see and interview this strange phenomenon of an old woman. After that every decade when my grandmother challenged herself to stretch beyond the walls of what was the box called old age she ended up as a major story for our family. People shook their heads I'm sure and wondered at the impropriety of this totally strange person.
From snowshoeing to cross country skiing she never ceased to amaze us all, and I as grew up I really came to appreciate her strength and wisdom in challenging the rules set by our society especially in the her senior years during the late 50s and early 60s. To we grandchildren, she became a person to be extremely proud to be related to, and for me especially she was a special gift as she continued time and again to be a strong example of what women really were suppose to be in life - strong, challenging the norm, and being totally themselves.
So if I think about getting frustrated today when I can't find a job, or seem to be unable to create a place for myself in today's workforce, I close my eyes and imagine that broad grin on my Grandmother's face as she again plunged into something totally out of that senior citizen mold. She took on her life daily with a most delightful enthusiasm and for that model of womanhood I will forever be thankful.
I will always enjoy working at filling those wonderful shoes and fulfilling the gift she gave me to pass it on to the next group of girls and women in my life - my granddaughters.