Ideas and Musings, My Noodle

As Old As I Feel?

I was standing in the middle of a group of people, all of us waiting impatiently for an update on the status of the brisket. The brisket was the guest of honor at this party. My friend had been cooking the brisket all day, drinking and smoking pot while he did it.

His noodle was pretty well fried.

Suddenly, a guy turned and looked at me, became alarmed, and said, “Are we being too noisy? Do we need to turn down the music?”

In less than a second, I became self-conscious. I became fully aware that not only was I the oldest person at this party, I could be the mother of any of them, and the grandmother of a couple others.

Logically I knew that I was the oldest and I was surrounded by youngsters, but it didn’t matter to me. I was cruising the party, drinking a beer, and talking to people I’d never met before and generally having a good time. I like to live that way, like my age doesn’t matter.

I’m only as old as I feel.

Crackbook Trigger

I was on Crackbook the other day and came upon a meme that really hit me.

Add the fact that it’s the truth to the fact that I spent time in the Navy and this one really hit me.

I often stand in front of the mirror and look at myself. (Don’t tell my brother Kelly I do this, it’ll trigger him since it’s something our mother used to do.) I often make faces and laugh at myself. (Seriously, don’t tell Kelly.) It’s a weird thing. It both makes me aware of my own self and also sets me apart from myself. I know that what I see probably doesn’t have anything to do with reality.

My hair is longer now and curly and light auburn. It’s really beautiful. It’s my best feature! But it also makes me look like a basset hound. I don’t really have the face for long hair. You know Pirates of the Caribbean? Captain Jack Sparrow had that look about him. A very long face surrounded by dreadlocks. It’s not flattering on me unless I really work at it.

If I don’t look like a basset hound, I look like a monkey. This threw me for a while until I acknowledged that I evolved from monkeys. I can still look hot AND look like a monkey.

Usually, I look at myself and decide I look pretty damn good, animal characteristics aside. Then I put on my readers and look closer. Don’t do that…

I still see my younger self.

I have enough masculinity in me to think I’m still a hot mama jamma.

I also know that my eyes deceive me. I read a lot about many things, and everything I’ve read about cognitive bias tells me that I don’t know the truth of my own reality.

I still see my younger self.

It’s confusing to walk down the street and not be ogled. Of course, I live in Seattle where woman have been beating the masculinity out of the male population.

Hey! I have curly red hair! That deserves a quick look!

I still see my younger self.

Expectations

I was in such a hurry to grow up. To be free of the tyranny (and trauma) of teachers and parents.

I wanted to be free to have my own money, make my own decisions, and find my place in the world.

Nothing is more exciting than to have that birthday that lets you go a club and have a legal alcoholic beverage. Every night (before COVID) the bars would have at least one birthday celebrator who is having entirely too much to drink, learning firsthand that actions have consequences.

For my 19th birthday (the age was 19 back then), I had the chicken pox. I tried to convince my grandma that I could use makeup to cover up all the sores. That didn’t work. I was devastated.

I joined the Navy, which was actually an extension of childhood. So many rules I had to follow, and so many fun times behaving like a teenager.

We think we’re going to get that great job, have that great apartment, and date that great guy. We’ll end up marrying him, having children, and planning for retirement.

It’s all planned out.

Disappointment

It is exciting, to start going into those bars, looking for all the things that we’ve felt we’ve been denied.

We stand against the bar, beer in hand, and survey the room. The world truly is our oyster. Beer goggles makes all of us precious and special. We go night after night, waiting for something to happen. Something that might change our lives forever.

Maybe we’ll be “discovered” by some producer! Or we’ll get in with the cool people. Or the owner of the bar will offer us a job.

Many don’t let disappointment stop them. Hope is a dangerous thing. It can keep you at that bar far longer than we expect. Alcohol becomes the thing we look forward to.

We go to work and rather than finding ourselves working toward our own self-actualization, we find that we’ve traded our teachers and parents for bosses. We’ve traded our neighborhood friends for co-workers. And none of them find us as adorable as our parents and childhood friends did.

We get used to it. Nothing is exciting anymore.

We’ve already been to all the parties, taken all the drugs, and had all the threesomes.

Or is that just me…

Be truthful, at least to yourself…

That excitement for adulthood rarely manifests into reality. And we accept our place and plod along, day after day. Making excuses for not doing the thing, whatever it is. Holding onto outdated beliefs. Finding ways to feel superior, even as our gut churns, because we know that we are not.

We go through the motions, having that career, that family, that house, that car…

There is an empty space in us that we thought we were going to fill. We keep trying, but the hollow space grows.

We take our hits. We count up our traumas…

We accept our disappointment.

COVID-19

I was on that path. I made so many mistakes. I stayed in groups I should have left years ago. I stopped dating. I kept putting off things I wanted to do. I just need to save a bit more money. I need to get my health straightened out. My co-workers need me.

COVID-19 showed up and suddenly I’m faced with possible death. Not at 85 or even 75, but now. I have health issues. My lungs are not up to snuff. I walk in pain every day.

I imagine that this is what being on my deathbed would be like. Me, angry as hell because I didn’t get done what I wanted to do. That somehow, that possibility was taken from me.

I was cheated!

I got older! Women my age tend to think drinking tea and taking walks is fun. Youngsters find me suspicious. What about karaoke? What about foos-ball and pool? What about dancing?

I was cheated!

I stayed in Seattle, even after all the traumas I endured. I quit dating. I quit living. I kept trying to become healthy again so I could finally live my life!

I was cheated!

But I’m the one who cheated myself.

Excitement

With expectations in ruin, the question is: Where do I go from here?

Everyone has ideas and suggestions, but really, I followed suggestions my whole life. Did it do anything for me? No! Why should I care what others think? They are lost in their unconscious acceptance of their own disappointment, looking for ways to be relevant. And they try to use us to accomplish it.

It’s a lonely path, to go past the group, to step ahead.

I need to save myself.

I need to burst out of the deluge of expectations, especially from others.

I need to find what excites me.

I want to be an actor. I realize that now. I’d been telling myself I didn’t really want to be one due to the PTSD over being attacked by an acting teacher and his students. But that’s not the truth. I do want to act. Heck, even 5 lines and under roles.

It may be too late for that. My body is in pain. Acting takes a lot out of you. I don’t know if I have it in me.

I work toward that goal, but I may have to pivot. I have to ask myself, what else excites me?

What else?

What else?

What else?

Because the day I can’t answer that question is the day I may as well take my leave. I’m an action-oriented person. I’m always learning. The day I retire to my rocker to watch TV is the day I’m done.

Know thyself. Retirement is not an option for me.

It’s time to let of those expectations, and those disappointments. There is only now, and what I’m going to do.

“Are we being too noisy? Do we need to turn down the music?”

“Hell, no! Turn it up!” A slow wink, “Where’s my brisket?!?”

I’m 57. Maybe it’s time to start living. After all, I’m only as old as I feel.

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