How do you know when you are the right age for a certain activity? When we are children we can look forward to the time when we will be old enough, tall enough or strong enough to do certain wonderful things such as ride a bicycle, hang by our knees, reach the cabinet top or cross the street by ourselves. Soon after those goals are met, we are already looking at other goals such as driving a car, going on a date, graduating from high school or having our own home. We're always making preparations or dreaming about what might come next.
When we reach middle age plus however, some of those preparations for the next step are not quite as exciting. For example, when are we the right age to look into buying hearing aids? Am I seasoned enough now to have grab bars installed by my bathtub? Can I qualify for the right to use the handicapped parking spaces? Or, the real biggie--Am I old enough that I should give up driving my car?
In today's world, especially in a rural community, we are so dependent upon cars that giving up driving a car appears to be a punishment. We want to go where we want to go when we want to go there. We don't want to be dependent on someone else to take us. Maybe we want to do something alone for a change. If someone else drives us we have to consider more schedules and needs. We can't decide to leave an event early because we feel like it. We can't take a different route just for the fun of it if the driver is in a hurry. We can't even control the speed of the car. If the driver wants to go slow, we must twiddle our thumbs and endure it. If the driver is a speed demon, we can ask that the speed is reduced, but we don't want to irritate our chauffeur so that we won't ever get another lift.
About the only good thing about giving up driving your own car is that someone else has to fill up the tank at the filling station. We no longer have to decipher all the flashing messages in the dust covered little windows on the side of the pump. We don't have to find out if we can pay inside, or if we have to use a card and pay at the pump. We don't even have to get out of the car if we don't want to. But we usually have to pay for it.
At a recent meeting, several middle age plus people were complaining (whoops, I mean discussing the fact) that their children didn't think they should still do some of the things that they had done for years. One person stated that the younger ones didn't realize how it felt to have those privileges removed.
We decided that we could be comforted by the fact that these young people would get older some day soon, and then they would understand how Mom/Dad felt when their freedom was restricted.
We envisioned a day when his young adult son would tell Junior that he is just too old to be scooting around in that aeromobile. "Suppose you hit the wrong button and end up across the Atlantic Ocean. Then we would have to contact the master office to have you shot back home. If that happened very often we would be put on the problem list. Then where would we be? No, you'd better let us fly you around when you need to go anywhere. You're too old for this now."
Do you think he'll remember how we felt back in 2008?
By the way, I am still gaily driving wherever I want to as long as I have money for the gas!