To quote a teacher I know – Everyone has some form of mental illness. I agree with that statement – no one is perfect. Everyone has some issue to deal with – either with someone or something (parents, strangers, shyness, anger, guilt, etc.). Getting through life is simply a matter of accepting and managing our own neuroses as well as accepting and dealing with the neuroses of others. Sometimes our quirks work well together. A good example would be my best friend’s non-intrusive behavior is the perfect match for my loner mentality. Seriously – I hate non-stop socializing and there’s nothing worse for a loner than somebody who wants to get up in your face.
Beyond the day-to-day mental weirdnesses that we all deal with – I am beginning to notice an odd trend in Toronto’s elderly – and it makes me wonder whether delusion is the next stage of aging. There has been a definite increase of jaywalking grannies in the city – and I’m not talking about a couple of little old ladies tottering across quiet residential streets – I’m talking about seriously ancient senior citizens trying to get across busy main avenues. I actually saw one attempt a crossing during rush hour – with a walker. How stupid can you get? I realize that the current baby boomer generation (of which I am a part of) is having a hard time with aging – which is a good thing and a bad thing. Bad – when it comes to the increase in plastic surgeries and botox clinics. Good – when you see more seniors physically active and redefining the past meaning of aging. And although there is some truth in that age is just a number – there is also a truth in that age comes to us all – and that means the body slows down – which means you can’t move as fast as you once did.
So back to the jaywalking grannies – what are they not getting? Are they simply stupid? That’s possible – stupid comes in all ages. Are they delusional? And if they are delusional – is this a delusion that they’ve always had – as part of their own personal mental illness OR is this an acquired delusion? I’m getting close to 60 and even I have enough brains to know that I haven’t got anything close to the speed that I had when I was 20. Is a day coming – say in my 80’s – when I look across the street and say – “Hey, no problem – I can make it”? Oh joy – something new to look forward to.