Aging Gracefully
  Aging with Dignity? Why do I think that aging with dignity is an oxymoron?  Because - with more than a smattering of nostalgia -  I am watching my optimism about aging with dignity slowly but surely drift into oblivion. But wait! Rewind ...   to the 1950s, to my high school days in Johannesburg, South Africa,  when my fellow students and I were assigned a creative writing task. We were to write an opinion piece using the title ‘Old Ladies’. My thoughts flowed easily as I put pen to paper, expounding the declining importance of older women in our society. I concluded my essay proudly and  with the unwavering conviction reserved for the unconscious mind – stating that I had no wish to live past the age of  (wait for it!)  49, beyond which I would simply be a burden on society! It’s a good thing my sentiments slipped past the ‘powers that be’  or I wouldn’t be here to tell the story!  Oh! how I’m eating my words now! I suppose I should be ashamed of my teenage ignorance,  but I am far more concerned about the “A” grade that I received for this essay!  I have a  great deal  to say about that! Firstly,  I should have been hauled into the Guidance Counselor’s office to begin a process of social awareness training. Secondly, somebody should have explored where on earth I got the idea that 50 was old!!  Although I did not grow up with grandparents (all  died during my pre-school years), I had aunts and uncles who were probably in their 50’s and up. 49??  What was I thinking??  Hell, when I was 49 (almost 20 years ago) I ...
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