Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lucky me

Monday evening I visited the pit of despair. The reason was transient; it's not important unless you're Dr. L. and need your last-ditch pet theory disproved.

Gotta be careful who gets my attention these days. For one thing in this culture, people are very focused on age. Especially if you happen to be female. It's a topic that comes up again and again, in casual conversation with strangers and dinner talk with sisters. In every doctor's office except one (Dr. H.). In every neuropsych's office, except one (the King of Hearts).

Even in the outside world people look at me (soon to be 48) and notice a not-new-infant and the conversation tacks away from what the future might hold and toward the aging process. As if it is the same for everybody. As if it is the main thing going on. It's about time for all of us to just give up. Thank goodness we don't have to try any more. It's biology!

I find it shocking. Even if these conversations were not serving as a substitute for medical care, and just a substitute for compassion, it would still be shocking. Inappropriate. Inhumane.

We are in love with the idea of decay and helplessness. Aging as a metaphor for all that. We take our despair and try to drown others with it.
Danny came in to see if I was OK (he could tell I was not). I felt surrounded by people who are ready to throw me away. Who are close enough to comment but not invested in helping. This is like my own reality TV show. Sometimes I can't absorb any more.

What was the point of surviving a hearing loss, bullying, an early student loan debacle. Four older siblings. Being ostracized because I was smart. Many menial jobs. Eighteen years in a marginalized role, buried with work. It feels like wasted effort. Lots of struggle with no chance to express myself, make real choices, live a life. It's a cruel joke.

Danny listened and comforted. May there always be someone in your life who holds on at the exact moment you want to give up.

The next day a few brighter spots. Salad for lunch. Good rhythms in Spin class (the music could have been louder). A small, quiet table at the Dojo. Hi from two humans on the way in.

That evening I forced myself to recall every person who has ever been any kind of friend. A sort of virtual gathering. Short-term, long-term, constant, fickle, doesn't matter. Whatever happened to the friendship, doesn't matter. A busload of exchange students, all singing You've Got a Friend while hurtling through the Australian desert. Not that we were all that close. But we agreed it was important.

Roberta, a roommate who picked up college at 52. She didn't give up on herself. Other women heading back to school in their forties and fifties. Trainer Matt, who always treats me like a human, no caveats. Elisa, Roger, Deb, same. Michelle, planning her 50th birthday at a Tuscan villa. My dad, going strong with support and love, at 85.

Today this is where I'm going.

1 comment :

  1. I am 66. When someone rudely asks me how old I am I tell them I am 76. You would be surprised about the complements I get. Try it.