You know what the fun part of being older is – you just don’t give a damn anymore. You finally reach the point where you are, as they say nowadays, your ‘authentic self’.
What’s that line from “Me and Bobby McGee” – “Freedom’s just another word for nuthin’ left to lose” – Certainly for most of us older folks that line holds a different meaning than in the song because you get to a certain age and dignity has gone out the door, and slammed it in your face.
Freedom to be whoever you think you are, or wanna be; to say what you truly feel (oh hell another song lyric) but not be unkind. See that’s where a lot of old folks get annoying. They think age gives them some sort of right to be unkind, opinionated in a very derogatory way. Some will, when called out on it, plead old age and senility when old age is their only status. The senility claim, when it isn’t true, is unkind to those who do suffer from it.
I’ve used the word ‘unkind’ several times now, and there are many synonyms, some extreme in their negativity that I can’t even relate to.
I am by nature and genetics a sarcastic person, and sarcasm can easily be experienced as unkindness (and maybe it is, no matter who, what or where). Just typing that makes me think maybe I should watch that aspect of my personality but you know some people…
And there you go – It is NOT easy being kind all the time, to everyone, in every situation. And unkindness is not always what you think it might be. I have very specific examples in mind which are all long stories in themselves and that’s not where I was going when I started writing this.
I read a lot of ‘stuff’ by 20, 30 and 40-somethings. These articles/essays are all about them (of course) and their Encounters with Life. What amuses me to no end is that every 20, 30, 40 something in the past century has had most of those same encounters. I read these essays and think to myself, sarcastically, “Oh you poor baby! Been there, done that, you’ll live.” And then they give advice – how to deal with these ‘encounters’ – basically re-inventing the wheel, because us old folks, well we figured all that out when we were 20, 30, 40-something. But I guess every generation has to come to the same conclusions on their own.
The basic pitfalls of being a human don’t seem to change. And the ways to avoid them and deal with their aftermath only change in the particulars.
Well this has meandered all over the place – it’s my ping ball brain – I get a thought and then it bounces to another thought which ricochets off another, and all of sudden…
I do think if I ever corralled my thoughts, and dare I say, insights, into seperate, distinct essays I could be a rich and famous motivational writer. But – that’s never gonna happen because I have little interest in being a motivational writer. Nor do I really think my insights and advice are any more, or less, worthy than anyone elses. I’m happy to bounce along just being me.
And because, you know, I just don’t give a damn what you think of me. And that’s my advice to all y’all – try, to the best of your ability and practicality, (let’s not leave out practicality, ’cause if you’re young and still making a life and career for yourself, not giving a damn could be detrimental, I am nothing if not pragmatic) to not give a damn what people think of you. (Oh hell that is a long convoluted sentence which I should edit but I won’t).
Freedom comes at a price that you have to be willing to pay – or you can just wait till you get old.