Young Vs. Old

Belinda flipped through the racks of clothes at one of my favorite clothing shops in Eden. “I am so glad I am retired.” She’s 75-years old.

I discreetly fished beneath the sleeve of a pretty sweater to look at a price tag. “I see that,” seemed the only thing to say.

“You’ll see,” Belinda said leaving that rack and walking to another one.

The price tag was atrocious. A sweater for $200 that felt fragile between my fingers. I let the sleeve drop and walked over to a clearance rack. I doubt I’ll see, I thought almost bitterly.

“I know it’s hard to wait for retirement, but you’ll get there.” She took a red sweater from the rack and draped it over her arm.

This is why hanging out with people who aren’t in my generation is so hard, I thought. Belinda goes to our church and I refrain from verbalizing my thoughts. I don’t want to offend her. She is a nice woman and active in the church. She’s genuine.

But out of touch with the struggles of my generation and younger. She means well. Belinda was lucky. She sold her house during the boom in real estate. She was able to hold a job for 30-years, retiring to collect a pension. By the time I “get there,” Social Security will probably be gone and I’ll still be working.

The difference here: I am happy for her good fortune, of her being able to live during a time when job longevity was the norm, and as she ages, her health and needs will be covered by her pension and social security.

Class wars are stupid. This divide between older and younger is wrong. I am content with the life God has blessed me with, and even though I can’t buy a nice sweater, the sweater probably won’t survive the first wash cycle anyway. That’s $200 I could use or $200 someone else could use; if I could afford to lose $200.

“Ready for coffee?” Belinda hands her debit card to the cashier as she says this.

I nod and exit the shop to wait for her in the sunshine. It is always a pleasure to talk about other things, like yesterday’s walk, exchanging recipes, and sharing memories.

The future just doesn’t seem all that exciting. 

Jesus come quickly.