In the two weeks studying and living in the US, I’ve seen many elderlies. Their lives are as colorful as young people and even much better because they don’t have to worry about their jobs because they don’t have any. All their time is up to themselves which awesome. Although American culture worships youth as far as I know, grannies and grandpas enjoy life in their own slow pace.
I’ve seen three grannies with completely grey hair dressing in pink shirts and white shorts walking and chatting in the street. (Unbelievably short in Chinese sense for seniors!!) They look radiantly energetic. And they say hi to you. Their voice were honest and loving. My roommates and I have encountered a senior man. He said “you ladies outnumbered me, so don’t start a fight, hahaha.” I don’t really get his point but his laughter is infective. Today, I met a granny in our library using the computer to surf the Internet. By the time she was leaving, her backpack looked bigger and heavier than mine.
Maybe these situation are too common to notice for locals, but to me, it’s a new thing. I wouldn’t say senior’s life in China are miserable, but mostly their life is not as colorful as American seniors. My grandmother’s life after retirement was looking after her grandchildren while her children were too busy working. When she was too old and weak to take care of others, she lives a rather monotonous life. She seldom went out besides regular shopping for grocery and exercised in a park near home. And I can guarantee you this is the “expected” life of Chinese senior citizens. They live their lives and can probably find happiness in it, but to me they live their life for others and not for themselves. ‘
My answer to this is that Chinese people value the concepts of family and the young generation too much, therefore the old generation can’t live their lives for themselves. They have responsibility and obligation to family to commit before they enjoy their lives. I would be very happy to see these old habits changed and it’s changing I can sense it. Hopefully, my last phase of life can be colorful as I want it to be.