Thursday, July 5, 2012

No one wants to fade.

Growing older is a quirky thing and how one chooses to do it is equally as strange.  I'll use myself as an example.  There were a lot of things I didn't do in my twenties and thirties because I lacked self-confidence.  Also, my weight played a huge factor in what I believed I couldn't do as well.  For instance, I was too heavy to enjoy long walks with my husband without my knees aching or being able to squeeze into roller coasters at amusement parks.  I missed being able to shop for age appropriate clothing and was intimidated to wear a bathing suit at the beach.  All these things and more I missed and have since been trying to catch up on since I've hit my forties, found myself, and lost a considerable amount of weight.

Other women (or men), my age and older, are catching up for similar or different reasons.  Perhaps they didn't have the financial means to purchase that amazing sports car in their youth but now they can.  Maybe a divorce or separation has granted someone more freedom than they've ever known.  Does a fifty year old look a little ridiculous driving a hot rod with red, fuzzy dice hanging from their rear view mirror or sporting a nose ring, hot pants, and a cleavage exposing top?  I'll leave this as a rhetorical question.

We all cling to our youth or try to relive it through our children.  It must somehow taste richer and feel more luxurious than it was the first time around.  We don't want the "rush" to end.  To be sexy and young is to be alive.  To be desired is not to be invisible.

Interestingly enough, I understand this better than most.  I was a ghost for years.  Being an obese person for the majority of my life, I was invisible to society.  No one saw me.  I would walk into department stores and was never offered assistance.  Doors weren't held open for me and seats weren't made available if I appeared exhausted.  I was a walking shadow in life.  People choose to ignore others whom they find awkward or ugly.  This is never the case for the beautiful, young, or apparent well-to-do.

I completely understand the need, the ache, for people in today's society to attempt to stay young and lovely.  I'm aware of why others also want to obtain status symbols as they age.  Yes, they're fun to own, but there's a deeper reason too.  We all know it - "Hey, look what I have!"  No one wants to fade.  It's a terrible feeling.

I'm rambling this morning.  I suppose what this all boils down to is that no one will remember my red hair or blue eyes when I'm gone.  No one will remember my oddball sense of humor a couple of generations from now.  My physical presence will have no lasting effect on this earth in a hundred years so why should I invest so much time in worrying about what I look like or what I have today?   Maybe if I/we take this energy and focus on genuinely helping someone else, just one other human being, we can make a lasting impression on this place.  Then, perhaps - we will not disappear.