Sunday, February 19, 2006


Very often of late in my various Japanese bureaucratic editings having to do with Japanese society I come across worrisome phrases like "the growing proportion of elderly," "the increasingly aging society" and suchlike catchall concepts by which millions of persons and their collective wisdom are bundled together anonymously like a big social tumor or something.

Twenty years ago I didn't take much notice of such phrases because I wasn't in the elder group yet (if ever I would be); but now that I am, I find these socially fretful cliches patronizing, as if we silver foxes were all a big unwonted burden - perhaps even an imminent coronary in the body public - when in fact we are the wiser part of the public heart, the experienced portion of the social brain.

Among the many 60-pluses there are of course individuals who all their lives have always done what they were instructed to do and taken the paths they were directed to take, following their lives like a rut in the road: it may very well be that for their portion of the aging society there are cataractous and sclerotic times ahead: what happens when after a monodimensional lifetime your rut runs out into a multiplicity of dimensions, requiring a rennaissance history of diverse perceptions and multifaceted actions?

What happens when in your latter years you realize that you've spent all your life following the dictates of phantom uberfolks who had no idea who you really were or what you really loved (nor did they care), that perhaps you'd even had to be told what to be and what to want: could there be a greater disappointment than such a discovery at the end of the rut? What greater mockery than that open road flaunting its freedom now, after all these decades? It's that kind of person who frets about the "the increasingly aging society" and "the growing proportion of elderly."

As for the rest of us elders and wisers, we can take care of ourselves, the way we have all our lives; the road has taught us how.


suzanne said...

the way I put it
for myself
is that
I have always been one
to wander
and wonder

seven standard deviationbs
from CentralTendencyVille

been an old crone
dweller of the deep woods
the bog
beyond my ken
beyond the dragons on the maps
since I was four

not a highly populated place
but those I do
run into
all of them


all of them
quite as indivdual
and eccentric
as I am

all of them

what better place to live!

Joy Des Jardins said...

Wonderful post Robert. Thanks for defending our honor...and the beautiful way you do it.

Mary Lou said...

And some times you find that after following the ruts and bouncing along on the rutted road, you find that there is a well paved highway, just waiting for your footsteps!! AHHHHH Retirement is wonderful!

Robert Brady said...

All of them wonderful indeed, Suzanne (beautiful hair!) And thank you, Joy; it's an honor well worth defending. Mary Lou, very glad to know that you're one of the lucky (eccentric) ones...

suzanne said...


thank you
my moon struck tresses
are my one vanity)

you are initially
from Albany (NY)?
Is that right?

I am writing
from Slingerlands . . .

Robert Brady said...

Looks like a vanity well worth having! Yep, I'm from Albany, originally on Delaware Avenue (My brother and I are recollecting those days at The Blog Brothers (link under Highlight Sites in the sidebar). Slingerlands was just a short ride away, musta been there and through there a thousand times, lo these many years ago...