"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The age thing again

I was on my Gestalt course yesterday morning and very interesting it was too, the theme being psychopathology and how different mental health illnesses fit into the interruptions to contact on the cycle of experience. That isn't really relevant to this post but I just wanted to make it clear that we don't just sit around navel gazing, just in case you thought we did.
At one point, our tutor mentioned a student on one of her other courses who started his counselling training at the age of 62 and is now a very good counsellor. This is one of the things I like about the world of counselling; one's age is not seen as a barrier to training or practising as a counsellor so I was a little startled to hear V. refer to this gentleman as an 'old age pensioner.'
Apart from the fact that it now has an old-fashioned ring to it and conjures up visions of little old men and women with fluffy white hair shuffling around on zimmer frames or with walking sticks, I feel that I am uncomfortably close to the possibility of being classified as such (I have been invited to apply for my state pension, after all) and I just don't like it!
"Could you re-phrase that, please, V?" I asked. "Could he be called a senior citizen?"
"Well, if you like," she laughed, but he's a couple of years younger than me."
(This from a woman who still works full time, loves every minute and has more energy and enthusiasm than many people half her age.)
The rest of the group, being well aware of my hang-ups on the subject of age, tittered.
"Maybe you need some counselling," suggested one.


gemmak said...

I think I am beginning to share your 'age hangup'...I didn't imagine it would convern me but it does!

On the subject of older councellors I would have considered age a benefit. Much of psychology can be learned from living life and gaining experience so by definition age has to bring with it a degree of pre-training :o)

Rosie said...

I think having some experience of life can be only a benefit for a consellor and it's good to know that there is something that I am not too old for that I might be interested in doing.
I get angry when I see things like the advert for my local community centre advertising 'Silver Surfer Clubs' to learn how to use a computer and 'Tea Dances' especially for the over 50's. I am over 50 but not silver (the hairdresser makes sure of that), computer literate and certainly not interested in foxtrotting to some war time music. In fact I'm off to a rock concert this evening at the O2.

Jay said...

Hmm... Maybe V needs a little counselling herself! It was insensitive, and what's more, it's inaccurate, is it not? Surely the pensionable age is 65 for men?

And the government is trying to put it up, IIRC!

Rosie, I'm with ya! Over fifty but not silver (thanks to the hairdresser) here too! Not interesting in foxtrots, or carpet bowls, or the WI. I'm off to a Johnny Depp-fest in the States soon, and I've just started horse-riding again. Woo HOO! Pass me that cowboy hat.

Silverback said...

Now then, you pretty young things. Stop all this ageist nonsense.

Jenny, I didn't understand much of your first sentence but fully understood the next one. I guess that means I really would've been picking out navel fluff during that course.

Mine I mean - you can manage your own.

I know my place !


Jennyta said...

'pretty young things' eh? Ian, we need more men like you, Honey!! ;)
Gemmak, I think you are right, although many younger people have a lot of life experience to bring to bear in the counselling situation too, of course.
Rosie and Jay, these people who talk about 'silver surfers' should be shot at dawn! (And I am unanimous in that!):)

Daphne said...

I find being a Woman of a Certain Age quite useful. You can go anywhere and nobody notices you. I work with younger people mostly so tend to think I'm just a little bit older than they are, even though this may not, in fact, be true in any way.

Jennyta said...

I always think of my Dad's attitude, Daphne. "Inside I still feel 18." (He's 85 now)

Anonymous said...

Calm down, old girl and get back to your knitting - I'm sure no offence was intended ;O) CraigyBaby!

Jennyta said...

Watch it, Craigy lad! I can still pack a punch!

Ellee Seymour said...

I think we are all ageist, to a greater or lesser degree.

Jennyta said...

I think you are right, Ellee. I wonder if a lot of it is connected to the fact that many of us don't live in daily contact with grandparents/grandchildren any more.


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