The divide between the young and old was never more acutely felt than when one of my dear young friends here in Buffalo described a way she and others could support me during chemotherapy (3 weeks from now, maybe). As a show of love and concern she researched ways to make the transition to baldness an upbeat experience.
Before I go there I first want to confess that I always thought the following true: The young are vain and the old are wistful. I can no longer hold to this prejudice, certainly not as it pertains to me. I am now going to poke fun at this dear friend (I asked her permission first) who was unaware of my vanity (a sweet credit to her). So, here was the “show Dona support and solidarity idea”….. At the time that the chemo head is to be shaved by a hair stylist (irony) friends are invited to go to the hair salon (more irony) to be with her during the shaving so as to cheer her up and on. This is done before the MATTED hair stage sets in. I don’t want to hurt my young friend’s feelings but there is no way and I mean absolutely no way that this is happening. In fact not only are friends not invited but my husband is not invited. And to really make my vanity point I am going to ask Jonathan, the wig shop owner/ stylist, to shave my head blindfolded so he doesn’t see my head either. He is young enough to probably take up this challenge as he has done many shavings and has enough youthful male bravado to think that this will be fun. His mother, co-owner of the business, will be more reasonable and intervene at this point. She will feel more strongly about litigation than youthful challenges.
Some of you have heard me whine about how young everyone is. Let’s start with my brainiac superb 32-year old surgeon followed by my superb brainiac radiologist who sports a ponytail, shamelessly framing her teen-like face. I also have an anesthesiologist who is at least trying to cover up the fact that she is 16 by wearing a little make up and NOT wearing her hair in a ponytail. The old guy on the breast care team is the plastic surgeon who might top out at 35. I am not done whining yet because I am now going to describe the average age of the church David and I attend in Buffalo….10 or 12 or 25……I don’t really know but they are young, really young. And just before you judge me for being silly let me affectionately quote another dear young friend who wrote in an email (asked her permission as well), “It is so nice seeing you and David and another ELDERLY couple in church.” Yikes!! So, there you have it! Middle aged people in blog-land should be justifiably sympathetic with my whining now.
Two days after the surgery two of the above mentioned young friends came to visit. I started up once again with the “how young everyone is.” My patient husband had enough of this tireless drone and accused me of “reverse ageism.” But to my surprise friend H came to my defense as she casually mentioned, “Really, she’s just proud of all of us.” Yeah, she gets me because she is exactly right! I am impressed and proud of this group of young people whether they be my own daughters and their husbands, my friends’ adult children, the young Palestinian Bible Society staff that we have spent time with over the years, the professional medical staff taking care of me, or the church friends who show a strong commitment to their faith by words and actions in the west side of Buffalo. In fact, I have grown weary and annoyed by all the talks and publications that disparage the young generation with terms like; tech savvy arrogance, entitlement issues and commitment phobia. I am not seeing it. I am seeing something that fills me with hope and respect, something that the apostle Paul must have seen when he told young Timothy in I Timothy 4:12 of the New Testament, ”Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.”
So, this elderly gal is going to follow some young people’s examples. And, with a nod to my husband, this is my last whine about their youth and my age.