I had a thought-provoking conversation with my 1st cousin once-removed’s spouse last summer that I’m still thinking about. It was in regards to old people going crazy. As people get older, they get crazy, and when I talk to my friends about their parents, it seems they’re all entering the age where this becomes pronounced. I’m using overly harsh language – I don’t really mean crazy in the sense of insane, it’s more that as people get older, their thinking becomes less flexible so they become more difficult to reason with or change their minds. It happens to all old people.
We were talking and commiserating about that a bit, but my relative is a bit older than me, and they said something that is completely obvious, yet something I had never really thought about before. They mentioned that while they saw it in their parents, they had the self-awareness to recognize that they were also on that journey towards craziness. It’s not just older people that go crazy – it’s us. When their kids complained about them being “crazy”, they partly understood why.
I have no idea why I never thought about this before – that because this is universal, I also myself am starting to become inflexible in the same ways I see in older people – but I hadn’t. Egocentrism I suppose. But ever since that conversation, I can’t stop thinking about it, and I recognize it to be true. I *am* more inflexible than I used to be. I think I am more difficult to reason with, or to sway. I used to be a really good listener, but nowadays I find myself wanting people to hurry up and finish so I can say my peace.
I can easily envision my children chafing against this. The listening vs. talking thing is already a bit of an issue. Man, it’s humbling. I’m already becoming a crazy old person. I have no idea why I ever thought that would never happen to me.