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I’m Still Standing

For those of us who have reached “a certain age,” that of late adulthood (65+), life takes on a whole new meaning. Mourning midlife becomes an everyday occurrence.

Dreams disintegrate.
Bodies stiffen.
Hair whitens.
Passion breeds affection.
Words escape.
Importance wanes.
Good-byes increase.
The future shortens.
Decisions narrow.
Memories fade.
Joints ache.
Eyes cloud.
Hearing erodes.
Opinions minimize.
Belongings lose importance.
Money depreciates.
Hope dims.
Shadows loom.
Friends depart.
Breathing exerts.
Faces line.
Time hastens.
Distractions multiply.
Dying rules.

We are actually quite invisible to a society in which technology rules. Communication is by abbreviations and emojis on social media platforms, where eye contact and shaking hands are a thing of the past. Baby boomers are obsolete, you say? No longer part of the bigger picture?

Whatever happened to the mythology of the old crone, full of wisdom gained through a life of pain and sorrow? Wisdom gained by suffering through the human condition, witnessing countless tragedies and upheavals, hoping so desperately to make meaning of it all, and to leave the world better than you found it?

At times, I feel invisible out there. Ignored by sales clerks. Doors closed in my face. Cars beeping their horns at crosswalks. Doctors writing everything off to aging, impatient and patronizing. Young people snickering as I walk by, albeit moving more slowly. Opinions being cast aside. Conversations shortened. Phone calls being ignored. (Did I really grimace at times when I saw my father’s name on caller ID, not wanting to hear about his latest health problems? Would that I could see his name come up just one more time…I would answer it in a heartbeat.)

In my lifetime, I saw black and white TVs turn into color. I saw man’s first step on the moon. I remember where I was when Kennedy was shot. I got my first calculator as a Junior in college and said goodbye to my slide rule. I witnessed the carnage of 9/11, and saw mankind at war so often that I’ve lost count. I saw computers go from the size of huge rooms to fitting into my pocket. I saw gay marriage recognized. And I watched as a society became inured to active shooters and their messages of hate.

I have a lived quite a lifetime in these 65 years. I’ve been through marriage and divorce, illness, the loss of jobs and identities, childbirth, the death of both parents, along with 11 years of higher education (yes, you read that right). I could go on and on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, to borrow the words of a man by the name of Elton John, “I’m Still Standing.”

My life counts for something. I matter. And I will not remain invisible to a society that shows so little respect to the elderly.

Ageism, ugly as it is, exists. But I will not be ignored.

I have a voice, and my truth will be heard.

I have eyes that see with compassion and love.

I have hands that will continue to reach out.

I have ears that actively listen.

I have a smile that welcomes you into my space.

I have wisdom to share with the generations that follow me, ready for the taking.

I will continue to create and nurture and mentor and bring about positive change.

I will produce. I will be involved. I will contribute.

And I will find a way for my contributions to outlast me, however small.

Countless graces have been bestowed upon me in this lifetime, and I am truly blessed.

Now let me pass those gifts on to others.
______________________________

38 thoughts on “I’m Still Standing

  1. Times have changed as you know, Theresa, I recall my childhood with no TV and then only my Gran’s old black and white; learning systems without computer and now nothing without computers. Yes certainly times have changed a lot. However I am very happy to be that age I am and I feel privileged to have lived in these times. For some reason I understand my parents more when they felt older and didn’t always understand us. I feel the same with my grown up children sometimes. It is s good life and I am happy to get older and for me it is gaining more life experience on the way. I like that.

  2. You said it all in such beautiful words, Theresa, and I have faced it all what you are saying, except having own children, Yet I am embracing my age of 66 years young, and feel privileged to have reached that age with great experiences in my live, not all of them were great, but I have learned from the turns my live has taken me for certain reasons and I am getting in peace with them. By now I am enjoying my life even more for being grateful and present every moment. Thank you so much for sharing this, Theresa.

  3. And you have dear lady, your love I have felt in many a word you have shared, moments of pure wisdom enlighten me each time you speak, and most of all I ‘know’ that you have guided, on here and in life, those many in your world, unknowingly and knowingly.
    That wisdom and love will most certainly be still standing long after you have gone to a greater love than this my friend.
    Thank you for sharing Theresa, just keep being you and a greater gift you cannot give โค๏ธ

  4. Hear! Hear! Beautifully said. I stand taller with age, regardless of societies weights. Sometimes harder than others, but I too am blessed and still standing!

  5. Theresa-I read your blog to my Mom today. And she passes her response to your blog with love and a thank you because she thought she was the only one who felt this way. Blessings.

  6. Hi. Theresa
    your recent posts make me want to wrap you in a huge soft blanket. Sending lots of love. Iโ€™m 61 – divorced – no partner for 18 hrs- raised a special needs son through trauma- and just had my 2nd round of breast cancer with full bore treatments

    Yet I feel hopeful for the place we hold if we look forward. I just listen to positive elders. I loved Richard Rohrโ€™s book Falling Upward. And Iโ€™ve done workshops in Body nBrain yoga – founder is Ilchi Lee. Who wrote living to 120 years.

    Iโ€™m praying for the freedom of expression and wisdom to manifest more beautiful gifts and offerings in these twilight years and milking every inch of physical and mental strength Iโ€™m given But turning from all my โ€œdoingโ€ pursuits into my โ€œbeingโ€ phase. Moving from my intellect( my issue having had a rather head based career) to my heart and soul years

    I may be nuts- but I love it as I envision leaving my corporate job and living the best years ahead Still a few steps to go. But on my way….

  7. Well, this one certainly resonates in a big way. You said it for us. It’s been quite the ride and never a dull moment along the path. Everyday I write my gratitude for this day and hope for another no matter how mundane. Only just shy of 71 and diagnosed terminal, each day is a special gift. Doing dishes is a moment for meditation. We may be invisible but we are crones nonetheless. Now the young may roll their eyes for a time but will eventually come to you when no one else can answer the hard questions. I find so many gifts in my advanced age that I wouldn’t go back for anything. Maybe my energy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you for this lovely post, Theresa.

  8. Well-put, Theresa. It is sad that age discrimination exists and is so widespread. I often wonder how I did little to promote elders when I was younger and now that I’m an ‘elder’ perhaps this is a taste of how I treated them. Eye-rolling, little patience esp. when driving, I did that. Now I see the other side of the coin. But Boomers are a tough lot and I think like everything else we are changing the world for the better and will do so until we pass.

  9. Terrific post, capturing what everyone “of a certain age” feels at some point. As you state so well, we can choose to allow those things that happen around us or we can demand to be seen. Our lives. Our choice.

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