We made it through youth, journeyed across the field of middle age, and are entering the next phase vaguely referred to as older age. Having taken our lumps and survived numerous tribulations along the way, we feel we are entitled to our opinions, whatever they may be. It is even possible that on occasion we may act a little irrationally or perhaps move too hastily to anger. It is all part of the aging game. But at what point are we no longer entertaining and instead becoming nothing more than grumpy old retirees? Here are four telltale signs you’ve evolved into a grumpy senior:
The car horn is overused. When someone ahead of you is driving too slowly, you honk your horn. If another driver has an unexpected turn without warning, you hit the horn again. And woe the dallying driver who does not shoot through the intersection immediately upon a green light—he will hear the wrath of your honk. When we find ourselves using the horn as our main means of communication on the road, it is time to take a long look in the mirror. No one likes to be honked at. It immediately creates a feeling of unjust persecution and starts the wheels turning to plot the best course of revenge. Savvy seniors don’t honk.
Despite the good, we obsess with the not-so-good. If we read an article and discover many informative and interesting tidbits but can only remember the single point we disagreed with, we are overly focusing on the not-so-good. If a grandchild fills our weekend with many joyous moments, but all we remember is that she spilled grape juice on the rug, we are missing the point. Although obsessing about the not-so-good is not the sole dominion of seniors, we can overdo it and risk approaching the feared grumpy status.
Rather than praise, we condemn. The other day an acquaintance of mine proudly brought to my attention the new dress she was wearing, fishing innocently for a compliment. I thought it was hideous. I could have called it like I saw it, but instead I mentioned how flattering her hair was, deflecting an arrow. The results were quickly apparent on her happy face. If we find it easier to say something mean or belittling rather than to say something positive, we deserve a grumpy moniker no matter what our age.
We forget how to smile. Throughout our lives, a smile shows the honest happiness we feel within. Few people look more attractive than when they flash their pearly whites. And who would not rather engage a smiling person than a frowning one? Sometimes, as we get older, we forget the simple power a smile holds for the person smiling as well as the recipient of the smile. Have you ever judged a senior grumpy while wearing a smile on their face? This is a good thing to remember as the years continue. No one wants to be labeled a grumpy old retiree and few people want to spend much time with such an individual.
Dave Bernard is not yet retired but has begun his due diligence to plan for a satisfying retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.