Legend has it that when an Inuit villager has outlived his usefulness, his friends prepare a small ice floe. They stock it with furs and snacks – and launch their elder out-to-sea. Sure, it seems a bit harsh to tell grandpa that if he can’t pull his weight, it’s a one-way trip to the Arctic Circle. But, when food is scarce, it’s quite practical.
Down here on the mainland, seniors are perceived as incapable of advancing science technology, engineering etc. Too much has changed, too damn fast and they’ve fallen behind. So, we pack our folks off to group homes to live out their days playing bridge and napping through Jeopardy.
Meanwhile, Native Americans are arguably the most evolved society among us. They hold the elderly in high regard, respect their wisdom and value their advice.
They’re knowledge workers, if you will.
Here’s my take. Many of my friends have retired and quickly settled into glide mode. I’m not wired that way. Putting my mind on hold seems like a dangerous recipe for decline.
I’m inspired by people like my mother-in law who stay engaged and live in-the-moment. During the darkest days of the pandemic, she taught fellow seniors to shop with InstaCart and showed them how to host family Zoom calls.
When doctors advise us to ‘keep moving’, they mean to stay physically active and mentally challenged. Use it or lose it. So, I’m keeping my foot on the gas. In fact, I write this blog because it keeps me curious and focused. I love wrapping my head around fresh ideas. I find that researching and writing about new topics keeps me looking forward, not back.
Not to mention, I wouldn’t last long on an ice floe.