But what My New Old Self really wants to know is whether it is harder to survive into old age as a lefty? There have been surveys – which have been disputed – showing that left-handed people die younger than right-handed ones. Reasons advanced – and critiqued – have been that lefties get more depressed, abuse more substances, attempt more suicides, and even wet more beds than their right-handed counterparts.
There’s an aging angle on this, an apparent generation gap between older and younger lefties. This is because in the bad old days more left-leaning children were apparently encouraged, and even forced, to change to become right-handed.
To all you old lefties out there, does it get worse as you age? Or does it get better, as you amass decade after decade of experience in dealing with the challenges of doors, kitchens, computer mice and everything else that’s not designed or manufactured for you?
Joining countless other minorities, the 7-10% of the world’s population who prefer to use their left hands have their own day: August 13th is International Lefthanders Day, aimed at promoting awareness of their plight, but also celebrating their uniqueness.
Surely this is yet another opportunity to explore an issue through the prism of aging. A child now entering the world of right domination might appreciate hearing from some voices of experience as to how they managed to put their left hands forward – in school, in sports, in arts, in cooking – whether proudly or with resentment. The list of life challenges, and the surmounting thereof, must go on and on.
So Happy Lefties Day and congrats to long-surviving lefthanders who’ve beat the odds!