In recent months and even days, I have had younger people rush to open a door for me and I have appreciated this since I do walk with a cane and have limited ability in my right arm. These young people were entering the same establishment and moved up to open the door “early” for me. I feel this is kindness. I also had a young woman who was standing in line behind me put a dime down for change that I needed as I was getting my change out of my wallet. At the time, I thought this was nice and thanked her. But as the day progressed I wondered if I was giving off some sort of “vibe.”
The clincher came later in that same day when a woman slightly younger than I am, paid for my haircut at the beauty shop and made the beautician promise not to tell me how much my haircut cost. The accumulation of these “events” made me question the appearance I am giving off.
Do I appear needy? Is this outpouring of kindness really kindness or is it truly pity. My pride cannot let me accept pity from people, and I am sure that there are many older people in the world who feel the same way I do.
We did not get into our present situations easily and we do not wish to accept defeat just yet. We feel competent to take care of ourselves and do not always need a “helping hand” right now. It is important for others to realize this and not impugn our dignity. I have had to ask for help and have had to swallow my pride to do so, but it was my decision.
For those of you who are kind and want to help an older person, please consider my message before rushing in to help. Sometimes, we do not want that help. We might need it at the time, but we do not actually want it. And please know that those of us who are aging rapidly appreciate your kindness – just please do not step on our dignity when giving it.