COPYRIGHT 2020 DEBRA LITTLEJOHN SHINDER
I can’t help thinking that if this — a global virus scare and a shutdown of the international economy — had to happen in my lifetime, I’m very glad it happened now. For a lot of reasons.
First, I’m old — and with age has come at least a little wisdom, or if not wisdom, at least the ability to take things in stride, to put things into perspective, to not panic, and to know from decades of experience that this, too, will pass.
When I get a little frustrated at how some of my younger friends are reacting to this, I remind myself that things can seem a whole lot scarier when you haven’t been through much before. And let’s be honest: they have a lot more (years ahead) to lose. For them, the stakes are higher. That always influences how risk is perceived.
If I die tomorrow, I’ve already lived a long and full and wonderful life. I’ve done more and seen more and experienced more than I ever expected to. I’ve accomplished a lot; I’ve loved a lot; I’ve laughed a lot; I’ve had a lot of happiness — probably more than I deserved.
Oh, don’t get me wrong; this is not my swan song. I still have plenty I want to do. I am by no means ready to hang it up and say goodbye, and I would not and will not go gentle into that good night. But I know I’m closer to the end than to the beginning, and I’m okay with that.
Someone in his/her 20s or 30s or 40s, on the other hand, still has at least half a lifetime to look forward to. So even though they’re far less likely to die from the virus, ironically many of them are far more worried that they will than we oldies-but-goodies are. And I get that. The more you have to lose, the more frightening it is to contemplate having it taken away.
So even though we keep hearing how the virus is so much more dangerous for us “older” folks, I think for those of us who are still physically healthy, from a psychological standpoint this whole thing may be easier for many of us than for the younger generations. We’re at a point in our lives when many of us have decided #nomorefear