Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Right To Feel Old

It's no secret that once I hit 40, I felt like my whole body had pretty much rebelled and was headed for the junkyard.

Recently, I have felt worse and worse. I think I have had a steady sinus infection for the past few weeks. I've started getting random migraines out of nowhere. I popped a bursa sack in my right knee at work last week, so I've been hobbling. The cold weather has made the arthritis in my elbow (where I broke it back in 2004) hurt like a bleeping alarm telling me that WINTER IS HERE.

Anyway, on and on and on. My hair is graying. I'm lumpy. I'm not sure if my vision has changed again or if there's some other reason I get headaches after I read for x amount of time. I have to keep a bag of Poise in my bathroom because six babies bouncing on my bladder didn't leave it any kinds of happy. 

ker-blah, ker-waaaah, ker-poop.

In addition to the physical crap, my anxiety has gotten steadily worse this past week, along with the depression. Oh that depression. I hate it, and it won't go away.  Nor will the forgetfulness or aphasia. 

My point?

Today a co-worker asked me how I was feeling. 

The moment she asked me this, I had just come in to work. It was a cold walk, I was freezing, my joints hurt, etc. I had tried to call in entirely because I was fairly sure I needed a mental health day, but I ended up cutting my shift down to three hours as a compromise. So there I was, cold, depressed, attempting to find a smile for work, and hoping to hell that I wouldn't need another xanex to deal with screaming children today.

Because yesterday's mom who shopped around the store for probably a half hour with her tantruming two year old had completely thrown my anxiety into full whammo blammo mode. Screaming kids? No, can't do it. Not today.

My answer to my co-worker: "Oh, hanging in there. Just getting old."   

To which she replied, "You can't feel old. Don't even talk to me about feeling old until you're my age. I'm 61, so you don't even have a right to be feeling old."

I don't have a right to feel old.



I have a right to feel anywhere on the emotional scale that I want to feel. Period. Who the hell does she think she is, telling me that I don't have a right to feel old? And no, she wasn't saying it with a smile on her face, she was waving me away, negating what I was saying because I had no idea what it felt like to be 61. 

True. I don't. I know how it feels to be 42 vs how it felt to be 20. 

MY 42 feels ancient compared to my 20.  And at this moment in time, I FEEL like I am falling apart, old, rusting, and ready for the junk heap.


A few years back, I had this dream - a very real, very vivid, I remember it like I just lived it dream. In this dream, I was a grandma. I had to go down to my basement to get something for my grandkids. I wanted to show them some of the artwork I had done. The stairs were steep and I walked with a cane. I had to hold tightly to the stair rail, because I couldn't see very well. My hips hurt so badly as I walked down the stairs, and I knew if I fell, I'd break something.

When I finally got into the basement, I found my old computer and realized that my old files were in a format not compatible with the current technology. It would take too long to convert them, and my grandkids' visit would be over before I could finish. I'd have to do it another time and wait for their next visit to show them. Only I didn't know when that would be.

So I went back up stairs. Again with the steep stairs and the joint and muscle pain as I creaked upward. And when I got up there, oh I loved hugging and kissing those grand babies, no matter how big or small they were. 

But they jabbered at me constantly and my hearing was terrible. I couldn't make out half of what they said. It was so frustrating to see the excitement in their eyes, but not be able to share it because I couldn't understand it. 

My daughter was packing her kids up to leave finally, and was trying to talk me into moving in with her. She had a point about the stairs in my house being dangerous. I remember hating the idea of having to rely on someone else because my vision was fuzzing and blurry, with most of the peripheral vision gone. My fingers were gnarled with arthritis, useless as tools for writing or painting. A lot of my regular activities were harder now. My mobility was seriously limited by the arthritis in my hips, knees, and ankles. I had a cane, but it was still hard to get around, even though I insisted on walking to keep my health up. Everything was so frustrating because communicating was getting harder and harder.


I described this dream to my then 88 yr old grandfather. (he's 90 now)  He looked at me straight in the eye and said, "That is exactly what it feels like. You'll be prepared when you get here."

So yeah, I may not know what it feels like to be 61 or 88, or someone else's 45. And I may only have a dream memory of a geriatric stage which I'm sure most will tell me can't possibly be accurate. And being 42, I'm certainly not old by today's standards.

But I do have my own physical and chemical issues. Currently I can feel the chemical issues becoming more and more of a problem. Frankly, I'm just a teensy bit worried that I might end up back in the psyche ward fairly soon.  I see my doc next thursday. I promise, if I feel I need to see him sooner, I'll call him.

My point being that my life is just that. MY life. Not hers. Not yours. Not anyone else's but mine. I don't know what it's like to walk in her shoes and she has no idea what it's been like in mine. 

So if I want to say I feel old, I'm gonna say I feel old. With feeling. Because I damn sure don't feel like a 16 yr old.

1 comment:

  1. Next time call and tell them you CAN'T come in and don't let them talk you into a compromise. *hugs* Sorry the 61 year old brushed you off - the meanie. *hugs*