Ma’aming Me Elderly

Ma’aming Me Elderly

Only weeks after my Woman of a Certain Age post, I’ve reached a new miletstone in the race towards elderly, and I thought I’d share it with you.

Ma'aming Me Elderly
Child dressed as elderly woman, c. 1910-20. Photo by Hugh Michael O’Rorke (1890-1962)
via State Library Victoria

When is Elderly

In the meantime, I thought I’d look at the actual definition of elderly, just to see if I could find out around about when to expect it.

According to Merriam-Webster, it’s

1a : rather old especially: being past middle age
1b : old-fashioned

And according to the Cambridge Dictionary, it’s a polite word for old.

The Free Dictionary is more helpful:

1. individuals over 65 years old who have functional impairments.
2. sometimes used to describe any adult over 75 years old.

And they all sound GHASTLY!!!

Linton Weeks has a better take on it; elderly is a state of mind. And we should all be grateful to have to opportunity to grow old – some never do.

The Milestone

Anyhow, the milestone on the path to elderly…

Ma’am? Ma’am? We’re ready for you now…

Unidentified shop assistant

So, I was at this shop waiting for someone to bring me an item from “out the back,” and I was asked to wait aside so they could tend other customers.

Fair enough, we are just out of lockdown, and a lot of people have their Christmas shopping to do.

But I’d been waiting a while, and DB had taken our purchases to the car and wandered off to explore the remains of the complex.

(And found some new construction waiting to be let as well as some exciting new stores that may or may not open before Christmas.

I was staring out the window considering the next few paragraphs in a story I’ve just written and not paying attention to anyone in the store.

The poor love had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention.

The Place of Politeness in Elderly

So here’s the thing.

As Linton Weeks discovered, elderly is a matter of perspective.

When a twenty year old refers to a forty year old as elderly, that’s her perspective.

In the same article, a seventy year did not think anyone under 80 was elderly.

And I can remember as a child, calculating I would be 33 in the year 2000 and thinking that was very old.

So what does a young person call a grey haired person when they are trying to attract their attention? Certainly not miss, or “hey you?”

I should be so lucky to have other young people call me Ma’am!

And as for my perspective?

Sometimes I do feel elderly, and others, just like the kid in the photo; a kid dressing up in Granny’s clothing.

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