(This is a written transcription of a spoken rant delivered in honor of all my 50+ clients desperately trying to both lose and find themselves. Rants are usually long and spiraling. The following is true to the form.)
I’m in my 60’s,
and I have a secret.
If you’re in your 50’s or older, and you’re American, chances are:
it’s the same as yours:
I’m fakin’ it.
And I’m sick of it.
From what I can see
A lot of folks and friends are fakin’ it most days—
Trying to return to the ‘me’ that was.
And they’re sick of it, too,
Or getting sick from it.
Do you keep your gray hair under color?
Did you just buy the red sports car you couldn’t afford at 17?
Do you know what “your ones” are and how many you have?
Are you choosing to muscle up at the gym so you can lift the same weight you did in your 20’s?”
Do you love soaking your scalp’s skin in carcinogens?
Do you enjoy downing the dubious to supplement your ‘deficiencies’?
Is needling dead botulin into your skin preferable to facing your face?
Are you swallowing the market’s message that being no longer young is unbecoming?
Or do you, deep down, not know how to love the you that is your me in the mirror?
Do you wonder about just how far you can ‘get away’ from Here and Now? Antartica? Zanzibar?
Are you waiting for space travel to be a more viable option?
Do you catch yourself ruminating on
How to get out of Dodge
Cuz this ain’t Kansas anymore?
Or perhaps Opiatium or Benzodiazia have become your daily destinations of choice.
Because underneath the uncomplicated questions about
how to cake on camouflage and
how to go places Other than here
Are the gnarly ones, like:
“What am I doing with my life?
Who am I really?
What’s important to leave here when I leave here?
I’m stating now:
I don’t want to hide anymore.
I’m going to be Here, full fledged.
No chickening out.
I am, we are, M.O.T.Y.
More Older Than Younger
… and, crucially, not yet elder.
This time is its own time
Not a repeat of younger years.
There are tasks to be done,
things to be prepared,
connections to be made— and cut.
This is a rich time of offering out what I’ve been gathering in.
And it’s scary
because I’m new and unrecognizable
I feel more like I do now than I did before.
I don’t want to be told anymore,
especially by businesses that live off of my consuming their products,
that Everything Me needs improvement;
that I need to make up myself
with their “invisible” foundation for my face
or underwired bras to lift my breasts
or pharmaceutical hydraulics to raise my penis
that I need to buy a hip or a one story house or a high dosage supplement,
that I ought to look like I did before,
Do you know how hard This is? —
to be “older” in a culture that adores youth?
That applauds growth in every sector except ourselves?
That wants to hide the physical face of oldering?
That tells us that what our bodies are experiencing is only to be whispered about?
Have you noticed that the moniker ‘elder’ has disappeared from our common language
as a designation of achievement and stature?
Now, it’s a shame-filled word for “old and in the way.”
And it comes with a one way ticket to ‘assisted’ living
in a death waiting room “lovingly prepared for you”
by profit oriented entities that make their living off of your dying.
And all the while,
and aches with questions
about moving you into a care warehouse.
They are quarry of the anti-aging culture.
So let’s start acting
our age, individually,
Our Age, generationally.
After all, we are the age that envisioned peace, civil rights, women rights , and planetary health.
No more white meat chickening out.
I am this wrinkled,
Cuz I’ve been through life’s wash.
And I want to hang here with you for a bit
and then iron out some of the things I’ve learned
so that you can try them on.
I have things to share with you that can’t be hidden anymore.
And anyway, don’t you think everyone sees my hair color and knows I’m choosing to hide what my hair is more courageous to display than me?
And maybe I get called ‘unbecoming’ –
But I’m going to stand up now for what I believe in
for what I have learned to be true.
Because the matter of me has some experience with what’s the matter.
I’m going to stand up for other species
I’m going to stand up for the land
I’m going to stand up for the future of my children.
This is not theater.
This is the real thing.
I come here –
We come here –
not made up
Not costumed in immaturity
the real bones
the real blood
the real guts
To be the muscled and maimed,
and learned beings we are.
And we can be, so says the research that
The marketers of all things anti-aging don’t want you to hear.
In our fifties and sixties,
we have the most fluid, crystallized, and emotional intel of our life.
What we’ve been taught to call a senior moment, isn’t.
You know what it is?
It’s a mature brain
Processing more info because it can and does when we reach our fifties and sixties.
And that takes a bit more time
Than the 40 year old toddler brain that rushes to judgment with less information.
Research shows, too, that we are more neurally integrated
And we get the gist like never before.
This is a mountain top, not a slough of despond.
So harness all that intelligence for all those things that you now know — clearer than ever — need your attention.
Why not invest millions in no toxins instead of botoxins?
Why not create programs that develop our fullest human potential?
How about pro human growth and development rather than anti-aging?
Those of us on the ground now know
It’s hard and it’s messy
and it’s unerringly and hugely profound.
I’m a lot wiser and denser than you can even imagine—
unless you’re here now too.
Then you know.
You know how rich and poignant and beautiful this time is.
How everything ordinary becomes exquisitely extra-ordinary.
Because at the same time that I may be physically getting weaker,
And my eyes may be seeing less clearly,
My insight is more wide-angled and sharp.
And even though my hearing may be compromised,
what I’m listening to in my head is a very powerful symphony of experience
And I want you to hear.
This time is it’s own time
and I feel the responsibilities deeply.
There are tasks to be done that I had no idea about when I was 30 or 40.
There are things to be spoken about,
actions to be taken,
ways of being human to teach to the younger ones.
No I am not young,
And I am not yet elder either.
I am in between
and I am preparing for tomorrow
by honing what I learned yesterday and today.
And I have a life of a lot to say.
So make way while I make waves with what I got.
I am more pregnant with experience than I ever was with my child
And what I have learned could be precious to you.
This body has been somewhere
You haven’t yet.
These outside changes
That people call ‘unbecoming’
are the obvious evidence of years of becoming.
So listen up. Eyes here.
I am wizening up, and
My guts are starting to spill.