Written by: Lynn Wallich
Date: June 28, 2016

Flickr: Steve McFarland

Flickr: Steve McFarland

A friend of mine mentioned that a group of seniors was discussing aging and the fact that the term “Senior” had to disappear.  Not one person in the group liked being called a “Senior” so another term was discussed such as “Thrivers.”  While this term is not offensive, it seemed not to resonate as much as “Revolutionaries” or “Anarchists.”  Thriver seemed a bit too passive or complacent (given what is, it can get better although it does suggest the thought of movement upward).  Whatever the senior group is called, it should suggest activism, strength, advocacy and determination.

Why change a name?  Why be upset with the term “Senior”?  The why rests with the fact that since retirement, extended time to do what is desired and not what is dictated has provided many people the opportunity to get involved with social justice issues.  Social climate has changed and  for many, the thought of spending time playing cards, knitting, or going to a bingo hall does not appeal.  With the political climate that exists, it is easy to become an anarchist, opinionated determined and angry.  Many people have decided that they have nothing to lose by getting involved and becoming advocates for social causes.

Years ago, it became apparent that as a relative became older, she became more outspoken and blunt with her statements and opinions, almost to the point of being rude.  Now that yours truly is getting older and taking the time to reflect on the past, this relative is respected and appreciated for her honesty and conviction.

The phrase “I am older and have more insurance” from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes always comes to mind when confronted by “a stupid idea, opinion or behavior” as determined by this “Senior Sage” expressed by someone at least 40 years my junior.  These are times that provide an opportunity to express in many of my experiences, a radical thought or opinion.  This is done with intent and to provoke a reaction that then leads to discussion (in most cases if a cell phone is not involved).  There is nothing like initiating a reaction that stimulates action.

Growing up as a boomer,  protests, sit-ins, and strikes were part of developing.  It looks like the boomers will once again need to rise to the forefront to advocate for the poor, homeless, mentally ill, incarcerated, immigrants, and all who cannot speak for themselves.  Yes, the good fight will continue and let’s face it, whether called Seniors,  Thrivers, or Revolutionaries, time does exist to get arrested if need be.


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