This doozy of a time in history brings many questions and insights. We boomers have stories to tell. The calamities we’ve seen are real and worth sharing. Do we honor elders enough in our community? Do older people respect youth? It’s important because we’re going to need each other going forward. There’s humor, wisdom, and learning in community connection. Eric Utne, a Zoom guest of the Praxis Peace Institute, said: “We’re all in this together, youngers and elders, stumbling and groping and trying to find our way, and we need each other’s help if we are going to leave a habitable planet for future generations.”
Being alive is a privilege, use it before you lose it.
This week I was with my friend Boris, talking about dead serious topics. His brother is dying of cancer and it’s a terrible time. As the cold sober conversation unraveled he wobbled with a sore knee trying to help me in the yard. I had an equally swollen knee, so we looked a little like a scene in the film Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder when Marty Feldman told him to “walk this way….”
Boris talked about how terrifying three weeks in the hospital was while he suffered from Covid. Before that, a torturous kidney stone. Then he remembered his recent hernia operation. It was getting to be a bit much. Venting was a relief, but I wondered if we sounded like my parents did as they aged. Were we complaining too much? But judgments kill humor, so I decided it was a remedy to just get our emotional hairballs out.
I asked if he wanted to sit but he said he’d rather stand because his back was out of whack from lying in the hospital. Well, I started laughing uncontrollably. I put my hand over my mouth because I was overcome with giggles. Afraid I might roll on the ground, roaring in front of my pained friend, I apologized. “I’m so sorry. I’m flabbergasted about my reaction to your dreadful stories. I don’t know if this laughter is displaced grief or if it’s just my Irish wit.”
The hard knocks of being silver-haired are challenging, but I thought I could die laughing. Why? Maybe his last comment about how helpful stool softeners were put me over the edge, loosened me up too much?
Life is short! We are all riding ups and downs. Time is a four-letter word – it goes like potato chips when you’re munching on them, you wonder where they went. We’re all in this together. While youth relocate, look for jobs, and stare at their computers, and elders scratch their heads, planning for an uncertain future, it’s more fun and enriching to stick together.
In his scientific research on laughter, Provine found: “Solitary chimps, like solitary people, seldom laugh, a result consistent with laughter’s role as a social signal. But chimps and humans differ in the social situations in which they laugh – adult humans laugh most during conversation.”
Telling our true stories puts us sunny side up. We all know the down side.