Monday, April 16, 2012

like a moth drawn toward existential self-annihilation

I read as Debbie weighed in on her feelings about RAFing and was reminded of a conversation with my husband and his friend over the weekend.

If you don't know what it means to RAF (1) you have to check out her post to find out, and (2) you might be one of the young people I mention below, in which case, I hope my little thesis here is proven wrong.

I have already passed over that freakishly daunting milestone, thank goddess.  The two men I spoke with are older than me, more in line with RAS,* so when I expounded on my fears of aging they looked at me like I was so-o-o six years ago.  The conversation came up after the friend, who is getting his teacher certification, admitted he was touching up his gray in an effort to appear younger during interviews. (Doing a good job, I must say.)

My story of coming to terms with my aging went like this:

I have several 20-something clients. Periodically one of them mentions an encounter with someone "really old" and, like a moth drawn toward existential self-annihilation, I cannot resist the urge to stab myself in the ego ask, "How old is this person?"  and I invariably hear, "Oh, he was old. At least fifty!"

Ouch. Might as well have said fifty-hundred.

What makes it the hardest for me, this process of accepting that I am schfifty,* is knowing that young people see me as irrelevant.

Not that my young clients see me as irrelevant.  They see me as god like wise and expensive.

Not my kids, either. They see me as god like a taxi driver and cheap.

But young people I meet, in general. I know that they do not see me as a potentially cool person who might be fun to get to know. No way. They see me as a potentially one-foot-in-the-nursing-home person who might be fun to tune out.

I remember it very well, when I was in my twenties and thirties. People who were fifty-plus? Ancient. Out of touch. From a completely different era. Planet, even. They cannot possibly relate to me and my experience. They are old.

I'm pretty sure there is no overcoming this assumption. Fifty the new thirty? Not in their eyes. In their eyes my eyes have bags under them.

So what I say to myself is this, "Self? Get over yourself. You're schfifty. Be relevant in your own mind. In your own life. If you can't control others' perceptions, control what you think of yourself."

And then I sit in my rocker on my porch and feel a tiny bit better.

* Debbie said, rather than write the number, it hurts less to write out fifty.  I find it hurts less to disguise it even further.  Schfifty.

* Rapidly Approaching Sixty, not to be confused with Rapidly Approaching Schfifty.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012


It sure is tough being a teen!

p.s.  This may be my last post.  My last breath, in fact, once the posting of this picture is discovered by a certain quick tempered personage in the house, whom I love dearly and might even take for a frozen yogurt if she lets me live.