I admit it, I’m having a hard time getting older. In my head I’m still twenty-four, though the mirror tells me otherwise. I am noticing that I am now usually the oldest person in the room, partially because my sons are two of my best friends and I tend to hang out with them and their friends a lot. I am not complaining, few people are privileged enough to be invited to concerts and parties by their kids friends, but I do tend to stick out when every other person is in their early twenties. It is, however, awesome for flirting with the twenty-somethings because they can think of me as a creeper, and I like embarrassing my sons in public. Ok, maybe that is too much information.
This week, however, I am ridiculously young. As I write this I am careening towards Catalina Island, sitting at the Crooner Bar and watching old people with walkers. So many old people. Cruises attract the elderly, offering a relatively effortless opportunity to see the world without all the hassle of actually going anywhere.
What has surprised me, however, is the sense of entitlement among a demographic which has traditionally had to learn to live without. Many were the children of depression who now are not averse to complaining over the slightest perceived slight. This morning not one person at our table, other than my dad and I, ordered a single thing off the menu and were completely put out if their bizarre requests were not immediately available. Several people, in spite of only having to pay $80 a day, have loudly complained that the billion dollar ship is not adequate for their paltry wants. Never mind that they are living a life of luxury that most of the world cannot imagine, their damn prunes weren’t chilled enough. We are used to seeing entitlement among the young, a generation raised by overprotective and indulgent parents. It is somewhat surprising to see it among the other end of the spectrum. I cannot imagine what the staff are thinking, many of whom are from “have-not” countries, behind their painted smiles and gentle kindness.
Entitlement is a guaranteed recipe for disappointment and bitterness. If you believe life will let you down then you are almost certain to be proven correct. Everyone of us has ample ammunition to paint things in a negative light. Living a life of gratitude does not seem to come naturally to most people, especially the old. The older we get the more we seem to become a caricature of our younger selves. Bitterness seems to grow if we let it, and many of us are letting it run wild.
Life is what we make it, as the old cliché says, and I for one intend to make it a good one, no matter how old I may become. Just being born where I was and given the opportunities I have been given is better than winning the lottery and the day I forget that please put me out on the ice flow.