The following is a guest post from Joyce Kramer, one of the co-authors of Saving the Best for Last: Creating Our Lives After 50. Joyce has done far too much in her life to fit into this small paragraph. Let us just say that she is an agitator, of the highest and best kind.
I am writing to you at the urging of your parents, who have thoroughly briefed me about what I did to embarrass them as they were growing up. For your sakes, they request I avoid doing the following in public.
I will refrain from wearing political and/or feminist buttons that might offend you. This will be relatively easy, as I do not know what happened to my button collection. In the event I find it, you will not see me wearing “Down with Capitalism” or “Power to Lesbians.”
I will refrain from placing political placards in the windows of my house or bumper stickers in my car that say things like “End the racist killings in Atlanta!” or “23 black children dead in Atlanta–what is the establishment doing?” And, since I am no longer politically active in the Rainbow Coalition (I was a founding member), I will not run as a candidate for the Democratic convention.
I will no longer hold book club meetings in my home where you and your friends might overhear debates on the relative merits of socialism vs communism vs capitalism, or discussions about Marxism vs Leninism. You will not have to worry that your friends might ask you disconcerting questions about my politics.
I will not live with a female lover. For that matter, I will not live with a male lover. When, and if, I am ever in a committed relationship with a man, we will live seperately so as not to agitate you.
I make these declarations to you about what I will give up. Now let me tell you what you can count on. First, you can be sure I will act on my convictions. I will continue to do whatever I can to create a just, abundant, compassionate, peaceful planet for all. In that vein, I will continue to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to educate people to prevent the spread of the disease.
I also promise personal gifts. I will always be available to you. There is nothing you could do or say that would shock me, or make me angry. I will honor whatever you share with me and will listen with an open mind and heart. I want to hear about your successes, your troubles, your dreams and ambitions. And if you want my support, it is here for the asking.
You can count on my unconditional love, just as I have given it to your parents. There is noting you could do or say that would cause me not to love you. I may not like or agree with your behavior, but I will love you regardless.
My dear grandchildren, I hope this letter reassures you that I will make every effort not to embarrass you and that you can count on me to be there for you.
PS By the way, I wanted you to know I started a new button collection you might be interested in. I already have “Support Gay Marriage,” “Women for Choice,” “No Condom, No Sex,” “Seniors are People, Too,” “Women for Peace,” and a few others….
If you would like your voice to be added to the Guerrilla Aging Community, send your guest post to Renee at email@example.com.