I’m at that awkward stage. You know; the one where you realize that while you were growing old, you may not have grown up.
Yes, I can refer to my numerical age without sweating, ducking or gulping but I still avoid mentioning it whenever possible. It would appear I have an issue with acceptance, which I assumed would come with age.
I’m not old, at least not in my head (although my head is sometimes filled with a nasty voice reminding me that numbers don’t lie). I’m not precisely “retired” either, although my job is, strictly speaking, an avocation and based on my tax returns, not likely to turn into a valid vocation, if by valid we mean: it pays.
But what really unsettles me is how unsettled I feel. Aren’t I supposed to feel tranquil, calm, at peace? You know, things a mature person might be feeling?
What the hell?
Mind you, I’ve had decades to get to a peaceful place. My agitation and my awareness that I was prone to agitation began early. I had plenty of opportunities to get rolfed or take EST or get better at meditating or go on retreats or find my center/balance or at least manage my temper, which is actually a way of managing my fear.
How many years does that take?
And, over the decades, I’ve become fearful of fewer things; so perhaps there’s been some forward movement. I still have meltdowns. I still yell, okay, scream at the vapid stupidity that surrounds me. Don’t get me started on customer service or rogue cops or religious fanaticism. I still come down harder on myself than anyone should. My failure to grasp the intricacies of rapidly changing technology, always billed as “simple”, infuriates me. Some days I detest all humankind, some days I despair on its behalf.
What am I to think about these feelings?
What I think is: This is not the mark of a mature woman.
What I also think is: Who cares?
I’m not here to promote the virtues of being a diva or giving in to every emotion one may be inclined to feel.
On the other hand, being, uh, “emotional” may be less a sign of immaturity than a sign that I’m simply an older version of myself: a tad more aware, a touch more in control but basically me. Because while I fret and stew, I also revel, laugh out loud, dance and, in my mind at least, cartwheel on the beach.
So the package consists of emotions good and bad only mildly tempered by time. This is the version of me I have to offer. Take it or leave it.
Having said that, I need to stand guard against turning into a crotchety old person. I must resist the onset of “irritable at everything and everybody syndrome”, no matter how much these young whippersnappers tick me off.