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The Invisible Woman?

Invisible collage 002

Me and Invisible Me

 

Last week a sales clerk gave me the senior discount automatically — without me having to ask. Whoa! That was a first.

I had dressed up too. Made an effort. Had my makeup on. I’d also recently lost a few pounds. I thought I looked good, middle-aged perhaps, but certainly not a senior. Apparently it is time for a reality check.

Or quite possibly, the clerk hadn’t read these breaking news stories:

Middle age begins at 60, says researchers

Middle age now lasts until 74 as baby boomers refuse to grow old

God bless the baby boomers. We are not going down without a fight. If we don’t like the rules, we’ll change ‘em. You wait. We might just outlaw old age altogether.

I am still sorting through what old and senior will mean for my life. My memory slips now and then. I sometimes strain to remember the title of “that book.” “You know the one,” I say to my friends of a similar age. They nod. They DO know, but can’t find the words either. Apparently we can now communicate telepathically. This is good news.

On the other hand, I can no longer learn a new language (I’ve tried), knit an Icelandic sweater, or move a furniture item of any weight and bulk up a flight of stairs. I am having to face up to some new limitations. Sometimes I look in the mirror, stretch the skin on my face, and toy with the idea of surgical intervention.

There are the jokes about aging and there will be the optimists piping in with things like: “Age is just a number!”, ”Aging is mandatory, but growing old is optional!”, “Embrace your age!” etc. My favorite one is, “You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime!”

I see other people are sailing through just fine. I came to parenting late, having spent the last 15 years using my dwindling energy to make sure my children survived to adulthood. I have emerged from that absorbing effort to find myself a senior. It is going to take some getting used to.

And why am I surprised I am old?

Because inside, as other seniors will tell you, it is a different story. Inside I am stunning, a force of nature, a blizzard, a tropical storm, an avalanche, a hurricane — for god’s sake. I have it going on. I know what’s what. I have big ideas, plans and dreams. All systems are go.

And finally I have a voice!

But will anyone listen to me – senior that I am? What are these words I hear whispered on the wind: “Irrrrrrelevant” . . . . . . “Invvvvvisible”

There is something familiar in this actually. It is my home turf in many ways. As a woman I have been grappling with some stage-of-life version of “invisible” my whole life. From petitioning for the right to wear pants instead of dresses to school, to the right to choose, to the right of equal pay for equal work – to name a few.

So now it looks like I must add ageism to sexism.

And how about love and the “invisible woman”? I would like to fall in love again. I thought I would be over this by now, but apparently it goes along with being a human of any age. I’d like a chance to do it better and make – ahem – better choices. But, as my neighbor lady says, “That’s a topic for another time and a bottle of wine.”

The advocates push old as bold and empowered. I am having trouble building up enthusiasm – but maybe I’ll get there. Obviously I need consciousness raising. But, there are the grand words and then there is the reality — which seems to me to need a total societal remodel — which I do not feel up to tackling at the present time.

Being old and getting even older is the unknown. I have few close models. My parents didn’t make it to 60, like I will – if my luck holds – this August 2015. I am a little scared. The end – MY END – is coming closer. Losses are multiplying faster. If I don’t go first, I will lose someone.

So I guess it is time to get busy making long awaited dreams come true – which I am doing as best I can.

Hopefully my body and my bandwidth can keep up the pace for a good long time.

Collage artist

The Collage Artist

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Trish Gardner #

    I am reading this in the hospital waiting room as my husband is having open heart surgery. So I am very in tune with the topic of growing older these days. You don’t look like a senior to me! But perhaps we are thinking of our parents’ senior. Perhaps we are changing what senior means not just to ourselves but to the young as well? Perhaps they see a woman who has got it all together, is confident and at ease in her body and think “Only a senior looks like that!” ; )

    April 29, 2015
    • I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through right now. I am concerned for you. Please let me know how you are doing when you are ready. Doing Tonglin for your husband right now. Take good care of yourself. Love Betsy

      April 29, 2015
  2. Oh Betsy…..that is so full of so many things that so many of us go thru…..you have nailed this on its proverbial head. I have no answers yet and my continuing line is far ahead of yours! All I can say is enjoy as many moments as you can. Am sure I’ve either sent you this before or said it to you…..maybe my all-time fave quote.

    Thanks, as always for saying what’s on your mind!

    And then there’s this which I saw on FB once. Maybe you were the one who posted it!

    Nancy

    /Sent from my iPad

    >

    April 23, 2015
    • Thanks Nancy. When someone says I’ve hit something on the head – I am always gratified.

      April 23, 2015
  3. Audrey Cenedella #

    Besty..The only thing I can say is..JUST FUCKING BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    >

    April 23, 2015
    • Wow! Thanks Audrey! You always make my day in one way or another.

      April 23, 2015

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