Wednesday, October 19, 2011

growing old

so okay, i haven't been all sweetness and light when it comes to
my elderly neighbor. in fact, i've been struggling a lot with her,
and with this whole getting old thing.

there's this really stupid and funny and kinda sad story of how she
hurt me feelings a lot not too long ago. now that i think of it, that's a blog all in itself.

but since then, i've struggled.
it was because i felt like i didn't matter at all, and it was all about her.
and i guess i had just reached my limit of people not seeing me
and the world only revolving around them.

it took awhile for me to get the wind back in my sails.
but sunday i was down there cutting her hair and she was thrilled.
and yesterday i picked her up to go to the store.

when she answered her door she was all lit up and happy and getting ready.

i waited by the car and told myself this was a good thing.
and it was.

and yet......it's all been kinda tarnished for me.
cause i've been seein' how the world is shrinking so much for her,
how everything revolves around her now, how she gets cranky so fast,
and can't cope with anything.

trying to pick fertilizer out yesterday was a huge problem as they didn't
have the exact kind she had wanted to get. i watched this and saw the
complete inflexibility that i've been watching for awhile now. it had
her really stuck on what to do.

okay. so i'm not a callous bum.
i get the whole getting old thing has GOT to be horrible.
you can't move around and do things like you want, you have to depend
on other people, everything in the world is changing, and people drive
way too fast to make it comfortable to go out on your own.
throw in pain, loss of all your friends, loneliness....loneliness and loneliness.
and i get it's not for the weak.
i truly truly get that.

so don't misunderstand me.
i'm goin' somewhere besides that.

is that what makes you grouchy and self absorbed, or are you that way
all along and it just shows more when you're old?

that's what keeps tuggin' at me.
cause i just don't want to be like this.

talking to an older person recently she told me she didn't want her world to
shrink and that she thought it was important to be careful not to get grouchy.
that being grouchy was easy, and a downfall.

sounds great and hopeful, except i already see this person's world shrinking,
and her being grouchy. so it's happening to her and she doesn't even know it.

now, was she this way all along? hmmmmm.....
maybe.

maybe when you feel a little love you can lose some of that.
or maybe it's there and it just rests for a bit.
but it's still there.

i don't like that thought.

i'm tired of selfish people.
i really really am.

do we all become selfish when we're old???
is that what we end up being???

for me, it's something i want to stay aware of.
it looks way too easy to become.
and who doesn't understand it?
chronic pain, loss of so much, feeling so alone....
i understand it.
i do.

i just don't want to be that way.
and what i'm thinking is that maybe that stuff is inside all of us all the time.
it's part of us.
but certain things keep it in control during our lives. (well, for most of us)
and maybe when we get old, we start to lose those certain things.

so maybe we have to pay attention to those certain things and work hard
not to lose them.

right off the top of my head i can come up with -

flexibility
interest in new things
interest in other people's joy
interest in other people's lives
just plain ol' sincere interest in other people
stepping outside yourself and seeing what's going on around you.
openness to try new stuff.
looking at the positive
a good relationship with yourself
a good relationship with your spirituality
kindness

i have to think on the list.
cause that list would be something i want to do all the time anyway.
maybe have a list and keep an eye on it and myself.
make sure i'm going in the right direction.

i gotta believe growing old has some good stuff with it,
i just wish i saw it more often!

3 comments:

Sorrow said...

OH!
I think what you said is true, we become MORE of what we are as we get older.
NOT LESS!
Imagine a man who survived the holocaust.
Lost everyone
Could have become bitter
angry
selfish.
He never did.

He may have had issues with God,
BUt his fellow man? he forgave and forgave.
Generous and loving until the day he died.
his world shrunk, yes, but never his heart.
My thinking is it's our society...
that does this to the elderly.
WE Isolate them, and make them feel useless.
~sigh~
The body may become inflexible, but the heart and mind are as limber as we allow..

Merry ME said...

Ter,
I saw and eperienced these same questions with my father. Sometimes he had a sense of entitlement when it came to being old and grumpy. Like he'd earned it by living so long. I tried to be cognizant of that, because I do think that he deserved some consideration concerning he age, pain, fear, lonliness. But I never got why that made it okay to say mean things.

Then I realized that even tho I'm not in my 90's when I don't feel good, my ability to remain flexible and tolerant diminishes according to how bad I feel. My sister and I are always saying we don't want to be mean when we're old and wonder if we're doomed to it anyway. That it's a side effect of old. I hope it's not. I really, really hope it's not. But how do you know til you're old and someone tells you to stop being mean?

The thing is I've seen mean old people and I've seen sweet and friendly old people. I kind of think your personality doesn't change just because you're old. Maybe it's the other stuff that gets in the way.

Camille Olivia said...

Miz Ter~Funny that you wrote about this today. Funny because I've been thinking a lot about what "selfish" means. I'm not going to get all into it here (but check my blog later and see what I came up with, if ya want) but I will offer this up: maybe your neighbor is a little blessing in disguise. Maybe she's teaching you something you need to learn right now. Maybe she's sayin',"hey! you gotta think of yourself first sometimes. Cuz if you don't nobody else will." Just sayin'.
Being the selfLESS person you are, I'm thinking this might be a mighty lesson, if you should choose to go there. Either way, I agree with both Miz Merry and Miz Sorrow. I'm guessing that we get to choose how we "are" as we age, regardless of what anybody else thinks about it.
Maybe that's one of the bigger benefits of getting older; that we finally get to a place where we don't give a rip what "they" think.
Know what I mean?