One thing I was not prepared for, aside from retirement, when I reached my alleged Golden Years was not feeling like I'm 67. I don't know what it's supposed to feel like, but I don't feel like it. Oh, most assuredly I have aches and pains. The arthritis isn't going away anytime soon. Forgetfulness has become infuriating. I don't like having to walk more slowly or scoring lower points on video games I once scored many thousands more points. I'm tired of age jokes and age discrimination (no matter what anyone says, it's real and it happens). After nearly 40 years in broadcasting, it seems the best I can do now is prepare Big Macs and such. The lack of hair where I used to be furry and the thinning at the top are not among my favorite things. I'm 67.
The bitch is, I find it difficult to act my age...mostly because I don't know how 67-year-olds are supposed to act. Finding a role model is difficult enough; finding a role model for a gay 67-year-old man is damn-near impossible. But the really weird thing is that, despite the aches and pains and balding and forgetfulness, I don't feel like I'm 67. My brain, when it's not busy forgetting things and registering aches and pains, thinks I'm still in my 40s.
That may not be a bad thing, but it is strange. I see fellow old people and wonder if they feel the same, if they've accepted that they're now old and this is the way it's done. I'm kind of afraid to ask. "Well, yes. Get over yourself. You're old." I see younger people who don't even look at me, let alone know what I think about something. God forbid they should ask me a question.
In a way, I deserve it. The way I treated old people when I was young was pretty shameful and not at all unlike the way I feel I'm being regarded now. Although I'm no longer in their way as far as career advancement goes, I feel like I'm taking up space, breathing too much air, eating food that should go to others. Of course, I was convinced I'd never see my 30th birthday, so imagine my surprise. Still, I feel as if I have something to share, that if I were asked a question I could answer and be helpful, and none of us knows how to talk to the other.
I especially think I could be helpful with young gay people, but here any support groups are at night, we don't have shelters for any young people (that don't require confessing your sins), and I don't have any social work degrees. Professional staff only, thank you very much. So, I feel kind of wasted...in a bad way.
No doubt feeling my age will catch up with me. If I can remember, I'll let you know what it's like. Until then, I guess I'll just wander around being 67, feeling 45, and looking like shit.