I am a “Seasoned Citizen.” Not a Senior Citizen—that, to me, is diminishing; not an Octogenarian—that’s something I cannot accept, because it sneaked up on me when I wasn’t looking.
Why “Seasoned Citizen”? Think about it—seasoning brings out the best in everything. Aged or seasoned wine; seasoned wood; seasoned food. Seasoning adds more flavor, more zest. To be seasoned is to become more experienced, have more time invested in living and sometimes, even if only by osmosis, learn to appreciate the wonders of the universe; to be saturated with life. That is why “Seasoned Citizen” as opposed to any other title.
A Seasoned Citizen is someone who has lived through events younger people will never know. Someone who has weathered loss and change and should be revered, and not just relegated to the back seat of the car or a 10 percent discount. A Seasoned Citizen has borne the trials of living and has emerged a winner! He/she has the experience and knowledge derived from many years of participating in that elusive wonder we call “LIFE.”
My father was a surgeon. Well into his 80s and 90s he was called upon to give his opinions and help to make diagnoses. His diagnoses were based not on CAT scans or MRIs but on the patient himself. He empathized with people, and was able to sense, by taking the time to talk to them, where their symptoms were leading.
I think electronics in medicine is a wonderful tool. But it is a tool—and many physicians forget they are dealing with frightened, vulnerable people who need not only the mechanical answer but the human, old fashioned touch of a hand and the sound of a caring voice. As a Seasoned Citizen, my father was able to augment the MRI and soothe patients by assuring them that he understood their pain and apprehension and would be there for them to lean on.
We have entered a brave, new world where dependence on computers and robotics has superceded the one-on-one relationship. We no longer talk, we text. We no longer write letters, we tweet. As a Seasoned Citizen, I know that by texting I cannot hear the love, fear, or compassion that exists in a human voice.
So here’s an experiment. Telephone your grandmother and grandfather, great aunt and great uncle and ask their opinions on child rearing, politics, computers, smartphones, war, peace, black and white movies, any subject you can think of. You’ll be surprised at how much they know and how willing they are to voice their knowledge and opinions. They’ll be flattered by your attention and you will marvel at all they have to say. Perhaps you’ll even learn something new. Something new that really has its basis in something very, very old. The dignity of a Seasoned Citizen.
Adrienne Kavelle recently moved to Somers from Patterson, where she was active in local civic affairs. Adrienne is a published writer and poet. She was a trustee of the Patterson Library from 2005 to 2016. For many years Adrienne served as March of Dimes chairman for the city of Yonkers. As a freelancer, she wrote a six-part series, “Children in the Shadows,” for the Gannett newspapers, which was subsequently read into the Congressional Record by Rep. Richard Ottinger. As a founding member of the Clergy and Laity of Yonkers, she was instrumental in innovating the Yonkers Exceptional Child PTA. In the 1970s, Adrienne served as vice president of the Nepperhan Community Center, an inner-city after school facility for African-American youth, providing tutoring and recreational opportunities. For several years, Adrienne was associate producer and public relations director for the Westchester Playhouse, a summer stock theater in Yonkers.
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