The infancy of old age

The other night one of my favorite Britcoms reverted briefly to didactic mode. The comedy was “Waiting for God,” which, for you who have never seen it is about Diana Trent and Tom Ballard, two denizens of a home for the elderly in Great Britain. Diana is a bitter old lady with a poison wit, never married, a retired war correspondent who lived fast and hard and hates growing old. Tom is a daydreamer with a habit of living in fantasies, whose perfectly boring son and druggie daughter-in-law have happily got rid of him at the home. The show is dated; it was produced in 1990-94. Many people in Britain and here have begun to overcome the stereotypes associated with growing old; it was worse then, although not by much. Anyway, in this particular episode Tom has found a guru, a middle-aged gerontologist who sees old age as a new frontier. Among her sentiments about the new old age is the thought that “old age is in its infancy.”


The notion of “infancy” struck me because it highlights how wide and exciting our prospects are. I’m even more impressed because I’ve so recently become old myself. We’re at the very beginning of an era where people can look forward to many more years than past generations, years that will redefine old age. And old artists will be at the forefront of that redefinition.

Talk about a short and not especially pithy post!!! I’ve been confronted with major computer problems tonight, and am going to stop here. You do the imagining. I will keep fiddling with my poor confused computer!

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