What Are Some of the Best Qualities of Elderly People?

A group of happy older people.
Are we elderly? Not saying.

Photo by iStockphoto/Thinkstock

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Cyndi Perlman Fink, 67-year-old
There are many assumptions about getting old. Most of them aren’t true. Let me address some them. You may have heard about pleading guilty without admitting guilt; well, I am answering this question without admitting that I am elderly or old.

A: Wisdom comes with old age.
F: No, stupid young people grow up to become stupid old people. Look at our politicians in Washington.

A: You lose your hearing as you age.
F: Would you mind repeating that? And next time, speak up! All you young people talk so softly sometimes I think I’m going deaf.
A: Old age mellows you.
F: No one liked my Aunt Ruth when she was young and no one liked her when she was old. She was opinionated, never let you get two words in, never said one nice thing about anything or anybody, and was generally a really unpleasant person to be around. She didn’t have any friends when she was young, and she didn’t have any when she was old. Like all tough old birds, she lived to be 94 and never stopped talking.

But she was a very handsome woman in her day, and the truth is that I miss my Aunt Ruth, even though she was a real pain in the ass.

A: I’m like a fine wine. I get better with age. The best is yet to come.
F: No, I’m not. I have to get out of bed early because my knees hurt and everything aches. If you think I am going to tell you that the best is yet to come, you’d better grab all the gusto you can now, because you won’t be able to grab much of anything by the time you get to be “elderly.” Not that I’m admitting that I am, but this train is definitely in the tunnel, heading for station.

Every night as my husband is on the way into the to kitchen, he asks me if I want anything and every night I give him the same answer: the body of a 20-year-old! No, not the 20-year-old, just the body.
A: Old people are bad drivers.
F: No we’re not. We just aren’t in a hurry to get where we’re going, and since all of you young people seem like you’re in such a hurry to get where you’re going, and since we care deeply about your safety, we get in front of you and slow down. Isn’t that nice of us?

A: Sexual activity slows down as you age.
F: The only thing I will say on this subject is get it while you still can.
A: Old age isn’t for sissies.
F: This one is true. The jowls and the puppet lines are the worst. There was a reason my mother always sat with her hands under her chin, pushing up. Face lifts aren’t cheap. And they hurt. And it takes a long time to heal. And there’s lots of ugly bruising. And they fall. Not that I would know of course.

A: Old people are set in their ways. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
F: Old people get new dogs all the time and teach them new tricks. Is that so hard to believe? I got two new dogs and taught them lots of new tricks.

I would like to end this with my three favorite quotes about old age, the first one is this:
My grandmother is over 80 and still doesn’t need glasses. She drinks right out of the bottle.
~ Henny Youngman
… and I can’t remember the other two.
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