On agency and getting older

A bit of a mini rant if you will all indulge me. Thanks or apologies in advance 1/

I follow a lot of young people on social media in various industries. I find they give me energy and a different perspective on life and I hope they 2/

follow me for some of the same reasons. I don’t like this generational boomer vs millennial stuff but sometimes engage for entertainment. 3/

That said, there is one thing that bugs me about getting older that nobody ever tells you and is almost entirely disarming. As you get 4/

older, you will need help from other people to do simple, everyday things and these things will be done for you by well-meaning folks 5/

in the most efficient way possible, not the way you would like them done. Things like tying your shoes, necktie, help with hanging a picture 6/

just the most everyday things that — in your youth — you had complete agency over and did your way. And you developed creative routines 7/

that defined you, that made you special, as silly as that sounds. At first you will resist the help from others who perceive it to be 8/

a task to complete, but you will eventually resign to being “handled.” But it’s not just a task to help an older person out; it is an invitation to share a small part of their soul with 9/

you. It is the only gift of value left they can give. Treasure that by helping them do these small things the way they would like 10/

them done, not in the most efficient way possible. I promise you, it will enrich you both. 11/11

Ghosting

He folded the deed around the stack of crisp bills he withdrew earlier that day. “A house and $100,000,” he reasoned, “should take care of a lot of life left for her to live.”

I loved you, he scribbled on a sticky note before sealing the envelope. 

In the morning he was gone. 

Health care anxiety

You learn a lot about caretakers hanging out in a waiting room. I hope folks driving me and getting me stuff the past year don’t talk about me like that, but I suspect there is a fair amount of group think.

This older women freaking out about having to take off work every day for her husband. Switching tomorrow my 12:15 for her 12:30 meant everything to her. Only :15min.

What kind of world have we created?

Mooring

All our life systems are geared toward us setting a course at 18 or so and plodding on to the end. Life here VIOLENTLY resists any deviation from the path. What’s this hole in your resume? You’re not qualified for that job because you’ve never done that. What’s your FICO score? Do you have grandkids yet? Why not? Paid off your mortgage, become a stable member of your community.

Married for decades, aw, that’s adorable.

Saved enough for retirement? You don’t have enough in social security to draw at 65. Medical insurance ties you to the state you live in, so does your home. Why do you want to leave a place where everybody knows your name? Because they don’t love YOU; they are just scared of the change you’ll make if you move away. They will lose their purpose, a mooring they’ve become anchored to.

Spoiled

He gazed at the sliced turkey in the clear plastic bag, taking note of the sales tag still intact across the resealable opening. His stomach growled, sending an ache slowly into his throat as he felt the slight tug of denim against his hips.

“Did you eat all the turkey?” he heard her say in his head. “I wanted a sandwich too, y’know. I haven’t eaten for three days.”

He let go the fridge door and watched it slowly suck the door frame tight.

“Spoiled. It’s all gone bad. Why didn’t you eat the turkey?” she asked. “I bought it just for you.”

Autopsy of a divorce

“What do you want for dinner?”

“A one-pound hamburger — two half-pound patties medium rare with cheddar cheese on a toasted Kaiser roll.”

“No, you don’t. You want a pasta salad.”

Honest regrets

“Your biopsy came back positive…

As my doctor started rambling off the next course of treatment, radiation, chemo, blah, blah, local, systemic, blah, blah I started to think about all those affairs I could have had that I was accused of, each one that flew into my head was more youthful than the last.

I could have had them all easily and passionately, but didn’t. They sought me out for whatever reason I did not understand. In hindsight, I should have bedded each as I’d been punished as if I had. When a man is accused of an affair, there is no defense. All men are dogs.

I regret not acting on passion. I crave moments; it’s the living with anticipation before and regret after that’s hard.

I wonder if each man hears that same voice reminding him of all the women he could have bedded — but didn’t because he made a promise — when he is told he may die?

On being young

I was never really young, though flashes of my youth enter my brain unannounced from time to time. Stopped at a stoplight across from St Kate’s on an early Sunday morning coming home from Kim’s; at the University wearing old faded jeans that hung casually from my lean hips topped by my loose cotton sweater, squatting with my books across from the vending machines waiting for class to start.

As quickly as day turns to night, I got old. I had kids, a mortgage, a day job, bills that never seemed to end. I was always tired and the feeling never stopped. It settled into my bones and weighed down my eyes.

I am no longer attractive to anyone and I have no passion for anything.