Anger and Aging

Grumpy Old People

It's a joke - there have even been movies made of the old and crotchety.  Anger and the aging process isn't always pretty. The ending is often not as nice as the made up world, here in real life.


The joke is on me, now.  Age is creeping up on me, and living with another old fart is harder than I ever imagined.  The anger and bad temper of a person approaching old age is hard to deal with. 

And why are they so angry anyway?

Not everyone reaches this kind of age without accidents that leave chronic pain in their wake, or an illness that just keeps progressing into major disability.  No wonder we're pissed off!

The number of older women is growing, as men tend to die younger, and often through accidents of some kind. I can see why. 

They tend to think that they're still invincible, just as they did when they were teenagers and did stupid things like roof surfing or driving too fast.

Now, their reflexes are slower, they don't have the same strength, and if they get hurt it takes a lot longer to recover.  Healing from an accident or injury or surgery takes more than twice as long for some of us.

It's like in the movie 'Top Gun', when Maverick, along with some buddies, gets hauled up on the carpet.  The guy in charge behind the desk berates them, saying 'your ego's writing cheques your body can't cash'. 

Same with age and anger.  The TV show 'Road Wars' typically shows incidents with older men especially taking on a young punk who cuts them off on the highway.  It doesn't always end well.

Other things that can get on 'the last nerve' are motorbikes and quads operated by the local teenagers, razzing by on the road. 

Even though they wear their helmets, they insist on doing things like revving the gas and popping wheelies, and driving at a  high rate of speed across the grass at the community center.  If he's not already in a state of anxiety, this will do it.

Another common trigger that sets off older people are the megalomaniacs in other countries that think they are entitled to what other people have.

So they invade or attack, and we've seen it so many times, and the bad guys always die. So why do they insist on attempting world domination?  If this isn't a topic of conversation amongst the grumpy at the coffee shop, it should be.

Or, it's our own politicians. That could potentially set off a very loud altercation if one member of the group is in favor of an orange cheeto, and others think that the status quo is fine.

And finally, the most common thing to set someone off is money.  Or the lack of it.  No matter that the pensions continue to come in, or the investments will pay off in time, or that the house is fully paid off, the very thought of not having enough is a sure trigger to rage.

Breathe. Take the dogs for a walk on a peaceful beach, or in the woods. Nature is amazing for decompressing.

So how can we get onto a different tack, one where we can age with grace, and enjoy our remaining days, not spend them in a sweat over some imagined slight or an actual event that doesn't go our way?

Apart from techniques like yoga and tai chi, and emotional freedom technique, also known as 'tapping', we can give some space to others when they make mistakes.  Not everyone is out to get us, and sometimes they are in a hurry or distracted.

They don't intend us to be insulted or hurt.

Sometimes they get impatient with us old curmudgeons, because we're slow and rickety, sometimes using a walker or a cane to help us balance. We're afraid of falling, so we are much more careful of a bump or someone brushing by us in a hurry.

anger-and-aging-tai-chi-master600x900.jpgTake some time to do tai chi

To help us age gracefully, we can have hobbies that will take our minds off our troubles and give us a creative outlet. 

Even jigsaw puzzles or knitting helps keep the grey cells active. For those missing the companionship and routine of a job after they retire, they could get a similar satisfaction from volunteering in a soup kitchen, food bank or community center. 

There are always others who will be grateful for the wisdom and common sense of an older person, even if we are the butt of their jokes.

Another aspect of aging that isn't talked of much is the change in libido.  Men tend to hang onto theirs longer than women, who may release all need for sexual activities soon after they go through menopause. 

Frustration can be another reason for an angry demeanor, which does not endear one to the target, making an unvirtuous circle; who wants to get intimate with the one who lashes out in rage at the slightest thing?

If you know an older person who seems to have anger issues, cut them some slack. 

This aging business is not for the faint of heart.  It takes courage to keep on going, well into their golden years. Those in their dotage are often feeble, forgetful and free of inhibitions.

They can fly off the handle with the slip of the tongue, but keep in mind, this could be you one day.

When you reach the autumn of your life, it would be nice to have a few younger friends who can help with tasks you can no longer do, so keep that anger in check and don't alienate those who want to assist you.

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