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Is Age Really Just a Number?

By Ana Braga

Why do we often hear the phrase “Age is just a number” when we clearly don’t value our elders? In western culture, especially in the US, retirement homes are filled with senior citizens. A lot, if not most, don’t get a regular visitor. They’re often forgotten as their relatives are too busy to stop by.

In eastern culture, like for instance Japan, the elders are well respected and valued. The Japanese bow to greet an older person and seek knowledge and life advice from them. The elders have lived longer, therefore they hold more knowledge of the world and life situations.

In the US, the elders are sadly regarded almost as an inconvenience. They move slower, they talk slower. A good example is how the media and many people refer to our President Joe Biden. He’s old so we shouldn’t even listen to him right? Why should he be in charge of important decisions you may ask? Well, if you’re asking that you have no clue how our government works. We have 3 branches of government and our president has a staff, he isn’t carrying the country alone.

Old people are often mocked and mistreated. Why do we believe an older person has no value just because they’re old? If you think it’s tough getting old for a man, let me tell you about aging as a woman. If you’re over 35 and you’re not married with kids, there’s a big chance the far right will start wondering what’s wrong with you. I say far right because I don’t see this behavior from liberal men. If you’re 40 + and not married, you’re considered damaged goods and an old hag. The men, for the most part, ages charmingly while the women just ages. Now, if you’re a Trump supporter, Trump is in great shape and he can do no wrong. See the hypocrisy?

Anyway, I wish the west just valued our elders more and seek life’s knowledge from them. They have walked the path we are about to walk soon, if we are lucky to live as long as Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Not that I would ask Trump for any life advice, don’t get it twisted folks. But you get where I’m coming from.

I will leave you with some food for thought…  How can we treat our seniors better? Maybe have a little more patience when you come in contact with an elderly person? Even a smile could make a difference.

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