Before this sounds like the ultimate “pity party”, let me just say – that is not at all, my intention. However, something happened to me this week that has totally opened my eyes to my very real present; and, unfortunately, my future. In sharing this, I am realizing that it happens to All of us, as we age. Totally, not fair, but, there you have it. What is “it”, you ask? I have become irrelevant in my life. Let me say that again – Irrelevant. In my own life! How can that be? This week, something happened to me, that showed me, that if I totally disappeared, if the Rapture came and took me immediately (not much chance of that, but stay with me), how life would continue, quite nicely, thank you, without me there! How odd! How very strange to realize, for the very first time, that I am not relevant. Not to my workplace, not in my very few social groups, not in my family (outside my personal house. Because I still cook and do laundry, I think I am still relevant there).
It is like standing behind a clear curtain (think Wizard of Oz, but the curtain is clear, not green). I can see myself standing with people, having a conversation, being part of a group. Then I can (mentally) take one step back, the clear curtain comes down and I don’t exist. I don’t matter! How is it possible?
This is not about ego. It is simply a revelation that I have reached an age where I am not relevant, not included, not sought after, not consulted, not considered. I Hate being looked at, and addressed as, an old woman! And yet, hello! I am!
Can not wrap my mind around Any of this. I have known, for a while now, that Alzheimer’s and a wheelchair are in my future. But I’m thinking, what, 20 years? God willing. But it truly never occurred to me how I (and others my age or older) are viewed and treated! Thankfully, I don’t hear what people say about me after I leave a room. But, good or bad, I believed someone Did talk about me or commented or gave a Thought to the fact that I had Been in the freaking room! Now, I’m thinking, not so much!
I work with women(?) who are young enough to be my daughters and a few could be my grand daughters. I am older that most of my bosses. I always try to be involved and “relevant” where I can. I show interest in their (very small) children, pets, husbands that treat them wrong. I Don’t correct anyone’s grammar, or make fun of anyone but myself. I help others with work if they need it. I show up, everyday, on time and nicely dressed. (For a woman of my age!)
My grown children, for all intents and purposes, are gone; not to return unless there is a medical emergency. My grandchildren are too grown and too busy to fool with me. My friends have a “see ya, maybe” attitude that I get, but still.
My parents and grandparents and Aunts and Uncles, hell, most grownups over the age of 25, were Revered! Didn’t matter if they were good people, bad people, they were our Elders! We loved and respected them; included them. We checked on them; sought their advice.
What changed? I really thought I had a lot more time to enjoy and contribute to society before my name was followed by “What are we going to do about Mother?”