A Dissection of Old Age Grumpiness – Culprit #2

If you’re wondering why old people might be grumpy, don’t assume it’s because they are old.  Consider if the person is in pain as I wrote in my last post and if its not that, then stay with me as we discuss a few other culprits.

When I think of my grandparents and other elderly that I know, I somehow think that they were always old.   I’ve never seen them with black hair or playing active sports in their youth. Hmm… I guess the truth is that they were once teenagers itching for freedom.  They once wondered about their future mates, and they were once 29 turning 30 at one point in time (hint hint, someone’s big 3-0 is coming up in a few months).

2. Ever lose someone? 
In Anne Lammott’s book, Help, Wow, Thanks, she grieves over her dying cat, well aware that other people in life are grieving the death of family members and loved ones.  I can’t completely relate because I’ve never been a dog/cat owner, but in high school, I lost my wallet which held all the senior pictures I had collected from friends.  It was silly, but I moped around the house for weeks because of that wallet. Little losses can leave you feeling pretty down. Sometimes edgy.
I’ve only experienced one huge loss in my life thus far. A few years after it, I still feel the heaviness of it at times.  As you age into your golden years, I assume that one loss of a loved one and then the accumulation of many other losses can really drag you down.  Think about it.  First you lose your mom, then your dad.  And once you start to learn how to live without them, you find out your sister is dying. When you want to call someone to talk, who will you turn to?? Then, your best friend from childhood has a heart attack.  Your long time neighbor who you always chatted with in the morning passes away.  And then somewhere a few months later, you lose the love of your life, your spouse of 60 years.  The people who once cheered you up, the people you loved and who loved you so dearly, are no longer there.  So when someone wonders why old Mr. Smith doesn’t want to go out and never wants to do anything, we should all think a little bit longer because the reason could be quite obvious.
On a similar note, I wanted to address dying and how we allow our loved ones to talk about it.  When we hear our parents or grandparents say they wish they were dead or something of the like, our natural tendency is to say, “Don’t say that!”   In our minds, we think the mention of it is wrong or maybe we’re superstitious.  Mom or Grandma should be thankful because they’ve lived so many long years.  Instead of cutting a conversation about death short, ask more questions and let the conversation continue.  If you listen, you may gain a lot of insight into your loved one and the elderly around you.  Maybe they need to talk to someone and just share that they’re tired of life and rather than a blessing, they feel their old age is like being left behind. Check out my final post on old age grumpiness here.