Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On Becoming Old, Bitchy, and Itchy (by Gayle)

I'm weary of being told that 50 is the new 30 or 40 or 49 or whatever. I wonder if it isn't our newest form of denial. And I'm certain it can be more pressure to be more (or less) than we already are.

I've been married to Ron for 21 years. On our wedding day, he was about to turn 45 and I had recently celebrated my 30th birthday. Those numbers meant nothing me. We were (and are) so compatible that age just wasn't a consideration. When he turned 50, I teased him about the AARP literature flooding our mailbox. He took it well and teased back. He warned me my day was coming albeit 15 years down the road. Even our "60-45" year didn't seem very monumental. It was notable because Ron was going into a new decade (something he was doing for only the 6th time in his life). I thought the occasion was worthy of a surprise party. We celebrated with friends and family at a casino in Louisiana.

But when our "49-64" year hit, I got all itchy (and bitchy) inside. I was prepared for the AARP mailings, but I wasn't prepared for the Medicare sign up mailings that were coming to "get" Ron. All of a sudden, I wasn't just dealing with my shriveling ovaries squeezing out the last of their eggs and the night sweats that were waking me up far before sunrise. My aging was no longer only about me. I was experiencing it against the backdrop of his aging and he was 15 years ahead of me. The boundaries were blurry.

The (thankfully mild) stroke Ron had in 2003 happened inside his brain, but it changed our lives. The knees that need replacing are under his skin, but the way they impact us is getting under mine. I want him to be 50 with me and I don't want to be 65 with him (except when he is 80). The fact of the matter is different than the heart of the matter. What does matter is our love - a love I believe existed before this life and will go with us into the next. So age doesn't get to matter now.

In any relationship, a large part of our happiness relates to focus (you know the glass half full or empty thing.) You don't generally start a May-December romance focusing on age. But, when things get rough, it easy to place the focus there. In reality, what is happening to us could be happening to anyone. It has nothing to do with May or December or age or gaps. It has to do with life. It has to do with what Ron talks about in his post "Life is a Death Sentence."

So, the next time I'm shredding mail from AARP and Medicare I'll be finding a new focus. I'm going to shred it with a vengeance, channel my anger that this life comes with an expiration date into the grinding sound of the blades, and give thanks I get one more day to live and love...


cathouse teri said...

Hello! Thanks so much for dropping by my place. :)

Yes, that USED to be my rule about dating, then I dropped than one and had only one rule. They have to be old enough to buy me a drink. :)

ANYWAY, I am now in year three of a relationship with a man who is 11 years younger than I am. And we be loving it.

Keep in touch!

Max said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about relationships. John and I shared our 39th wedding anniversary together. We all know how life is so precious and how quick it can slip away. It's about living in the now...and not about the expiration date. We enjoy today and pray for tomorrow. You are right, it doesn't matter about age, but about your current state of being...or as you put it, "It has to do with life.". It's the things we use to take for granted that we cherish so much now, like (HEARING)..the I love you from the ones we love so dearly, or the voice of another human being, or holding hands (TOUCH) and feeling the love flow through, or looking in the eyes and (SEEING) that bonding love. Thank you for saying, 'Love existed before this life and will go with us into the next.' I do believe that is so true. Your Blog and your Words to Ponder have meant so much to me. Thank you! Maxine Sumpter