As you read the nursing home scene, here is, briefly summarized, what I believe to be the great ironic tragedy of life:
- When you are young, your life is a clean slate. You’ve got plenty of choices to make. Life is ahead of you, so in theory, it’s not impossible that you might become a billionaire, an astronaut, an NFL quarterback, a celebrity or what have you. Even if you’re not bound for glory, it’s still possible you might earn a decent living and start a nice family. There are plenty of options and the world is, more or less, willing to give you a shot (though not always and feel free to discuss that in the comments, for I also realize in many ways, your life is basically all figured out for you before you turn 18, largely based on the circumstances of your birth.)
- Basically, when you are young, you are forced to make so many important choices about your life at a time when you know little about life or who you are as a person. You go based on what the adults tell you. You assume it will all work out.
- When you are older, you know more about the ins and outs of life. You know what you did wrong. You know what you’d do if given another chance. But the chance won’t come now. The world shouldn’t shut you out because you’re old but it does.
- In short, when you’re young you’ve got the choices, but when you’re old you’ve got the knowledge of how to make good choices yet are stuck with the choices you made.
Worse, as we see with the residents of Geriatric Oaks, the mind is often willing but the flesh is weak. Well, Mr. Bromstein and Mr. Rodriguez might have another go at life if their bodies would agree, but then again, Mr. Petersen’s mind isn’t there.
As for Mrs. Nelson, she suffers from old person mouth disease, i.e. when you reach a certain age, you lose your filter. It’s not like you have any more job interviews coming up so you might as well be as rude as possible and who cares if that hurts your reputation?
Not saying all old people do that. Honestly, in many ways, how you were when you were young will determine how you act when you are old. This may not be the case always but generally, if you’re a young dick, you’ll become an old dick. Then again, you might be a young nice person who grows old, gets jaded and then the regrets turn you into a dick.
Aging sucks, both for the old people and the young people who have to take care of them. I’ve done more than my fair share of taking care of old people in my life and it can be sad to watch.
Moral of the story? If you’re a young reader faced with choices, picture yourself at 40. Will you be happy with the choices you made?
Save money. Work hard. Get experience. And find someone based on moral character and similar interests and values. That’s more positive advice than you ever thought you’d get on a blog about toilet gators.
Finally, put on your Mr. Petersen tin foil hat and tell me your favorite conspiracy theory in the comments.