Just a little serious:

Recently, or more precisely: the day before yesterday, I got old. Well, almost everyone gets old at some point and it had been announced for a while. So “suddenly old” would be an exaggeration. But I do notice how long ago I had said: I’m not yet sixty. So now I am. That’s very strange. Up until now, it was always someone else.

I notice a few things: I have been asked twice in the last year whether I am still working or already retired. There is no denying that I look old enough to be retired.

I'm not complaining about it. I don't want to be young again. A little bit younger maybe sometimes. But it's okay the way it is.

Besides less pleasant things like more health issues and the fact that I push the bike up the hill more often than I ride it, there are also positive things:

I have developed a superpower: young people cannot see me. They almost walk through me. I can listen to them, they don't notice that I am there. Would it be possible to use the ability to become invisible? Of course, only in the fight for good, like all superheroes.

Another thing is that young women approach me on the street when they are looking for an address. I obviously don't look dangerous. Nobody crosses the street because of me. Maybe I have a white-haired aura of wisdom around me?

I don't have to do as much as I used to. I don't have to prove anything to anyone anymore. I have friends who have stuck with me for so long that they won't end their friendship because of the smallest mistake. I can allow myself to say something really weird now and then.

On the train I can ask strong young men to lift my suitcase, which is always far too heavy, into the luggage rack. In my experience, they are happy to do it. No one has ever refused to help me.

When I walk through the city or use public transport, I notice that there are more and more of us. Or I finally see them, the other senior citizens. Maybe I was blind to them too? Or didn't recognize their superpower of making themselves invisible? Sometimes I nod at someone in a friendly and knowing way when our paths cross. We know things that many people don't yet know.

My advice to all seniors: Don't tell young people what to do. Ask them what concerns them, what is important to them in life. Show genuine interest. Only tell your old stories when you are asked. Never say: "I know exactly what that is like", even if it is true. It is one of the strange things that I can feel again within a split second what I felt 20, 30 or 40 years ago. For example, it annoyed me when an "old" person said to me: I know exactly what is wrong with you.

And sometimes I know, at a party for example or when I'm invited to a party, that it's time to go. The young people still need some time alone. I don't have to know everything. If they want to, they'll come with their questions and worries. I'll listen and give very little advice. And only if it's asked for.

A little more serious:

I still have five years of paid work ahead of me. I am still needed for various tasks. That is a gift. And then? I see in the church how urgently it needs volunteers. Especially older people who have kept a young and open heart. They can give so much in terms of attention, in terms of calmness in their outlook on life. The storms that young adults have to live through today in a world that is spinning ever faster: we seniors know that people cannot change at this speed. We need walks, aimless strolling, we need time for culture, we need good neighbors and friends. We need continuous generations that can benefit incredibly from each other.

What is true for the church is also true for our society. Seniors@Work is a platform with huge potential. If it didn't exist, someone would have to invent it. Fortunately, that has already happened!

Rev. Martin Dürr, reformed co-director of the Parish Office for Industry and Business BS BL

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