The Alien at 50

In our culture it is very alienating to be 50. That age where it hits you that you may not even be middle aged now. Being young, from childhood to somewhere in the 30’s was such a different perspective. I didn’t see it then but I can see it now. Being in my 40’s was (so far) the best time of life for me. I felt ok and even good sometimes. I felt I was ok with myself.

Then, among the years I should have been 40-something, 50 hit me. It came down hard and clouded everything. Even when I could have been happy being 40-something that 50 hung over me, hovering like my personal rain cloud of doom.

In younger years I had read about actresses and such who said there were no roles for older women. I thought little of it. I could see older women in TV shows, movies, commercials, etc. Likely they were in theatre too if I cared to look.

But, the actresses said it wrong. It’s not that there aren’t roles for older women. It’s that there are so MANY roles for younger women, younger people.

Our culture is based on youth. Not just being young and looking it, but the parts of life which come in those younger years (traditionally): going to school, dating, marrying and having children. When I watch anything on TV now I am swarmed with the feeling of how much I don’t belong. How far I am past those parts of life. I don’t want to go back. I just want to be ok with where I am. But, it’s hard.

It’s hard to feel ok with being older when it seems we don’t exist, are expected to keep to ourselves and not be seen or heard. Unless it’s something to do with spending money like buying insurance, buying sedate vacations, buying pee pads (not for your period, whether you still get it or not).

I feel alienated in my own world. I don’t see where I fit in. I can talk to the younger generations. I don’t know their particulars any more: the music, the actors, etc. But, those are just entertainment. I know about life, having come through those younger years. But all my experience and knowledge is tainted by how younger people see me. I’m old. I don’t know the entertainment stuff so I’m relegated to being outdated, out of place and I don’t really understand how things are today.

Odd, but things aren’t all that different. People are born, go to school, try to get along in the world, get married, have babies (or not) and then…. it’s the long stretch of being there, but not getting in the way, until you’re finally as old as you feel.

I don’t feel old. I feel like me. I feel almost the same as I did when I was twenty. But, those are memories and I know that. No wonder we tend to look at the past more as we fall into the future where we don’t fit in and don’t have a place. In the past we had a place and the world was about us.

Now I’m an alien. Just because I’m 50.

If it weren’t for the perception of others (and my own awareness of time limits) I could believe I’m twenty. Young people expect being older to feel so different. It’s not. It’s almost exactly the same as feeling twenty. But, I look at those who are twenty and I can see a difference then. There is a shiny new-ness, an extra bounce and they’re just a bit quicker to laugh.

So maybe we do become an alien as we get older. Where is the mothership then? I’d like to find the other aliens and feel I belong again. I don’t like this feeling of being isolated among all the people I see every day.

The other thing I don’t like to think about is to look past myself and see those older than I am. Right now I may not feel I belong and I may feel like an alien… they look more alien. I worry about how I will still feel like myself when I start to look even less like myself and more alien to who I think I am.

Where is that mothership…?

The Grass On the Other Side was Greener

Being Green (reprinted from Facebook)

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f or
future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person.

I’m a Woman with a Moustache and I Don’t Mind

disguiseAt the great old age of 48 now, I still have the same whiskers on my upper lip which I have lived with since I was about 13 or 14. I have never tried to hurt, maim or kill my moustache. I have left it alone, in a live and let live kind of way.

It helps that my whiskers are sparse. I do have dark hair and the hair on my lip matches the colour of the hair on my head (or most of it now that I’ve got grey mixed in with my dark brown mane).

I live with my facial hair and I don’t mind it. I even have a bit of fondness for the facial hair – It makes me feel connected to other women in my family who have far more facial hair than I ever hope (or want) to have.

I remember the very first day I actually noticed the whiskers myself.

I was in our downstairs bathroom and I had leaned in for a closer look at my face because I had a zit (also known as a pimple). I still like to get rid of those. I squish them then put stuff on them to finish the killing process and decontaminate so they can’t so easily return.

Seeing darker hairs on my upper lip was a surprise. I’m sure they weren’t there before then. I hated them on sight. They were traitors to the young, perfection of my face. That face being one of the few things I actually did like about myself – and still do. Having whiskers was a shock. Only old women were supposed to get those kind of things, women going through menopause or women from hairy families. I had neither. I was about 14 and my ancestry was pretty slanted to the Celtic side.

I called in for reinforcements, my Mother. She looked and then looked closer. She said they were hardly noticeable unless someone was really looking for them.

So I took a step back from the mirror, which wasn’t much considering my face was almost pressed against the glass to start with. It was true! Once I stepped back and wasn’t focused on that area of my face, I really couldn’t notice the whiskers. If I looked, I did see them. But, I had to be looking pretty carefully.

So I wasn’t turning into some weird sort of man-beast after all.

My Uncle has had a full beard and moustache for as long as I can remember. As children we would buy him shaving cream, packages of razors and so on. Children sometimes have such great ideas but not the common sense to see these ideas through. He laughed about our gifts and after being embarrassed once or twice we realized a man with a full beard and moustache isn’t going to need shaving cream. Later I would try after shave, thinking he could use it like cologne. I never did hear either way about that one. Maybe he thought it was a good idea.

Anyway, at that young age myself and having whiskers I did picture myself growing a beard, thick and hairy as I went through puberty and all those changes. I would check my upper lip for changes, new growth, more growth – dreading to see a whisker begin to do so much as curl.

I was lucky in the genetic lottery. I never did get more whiskers, or thicker whiskers. I did have friends who were less lucky.

One young woman I worked with had to shave her face every day. If she skipped a day she had 5 o’clock shadow. From talking to her I know she tried all kinds of methods to get rid of her whiskers. Waxing was painful but seemed to give her an extra day from having to deal with them. She tried several of those gimmicks from TV ads. Some of them burned her skin and made everything worse. Not only did she still have whiskers but her skin was burned and red or even blistered too. I was so glad for my sparse little whiskers then.

We Women Do Get Whiskers

Women in my family have a small tendency towards whiskers, when we get older. My own Mother began plucking her face (not just her eyebrows) once she was in her 40’s. My younger sisters both had whiskers on their upper lip and chin by the time they were in high school. Mine may have started sooner but they were less visible.

When my Great Aunt Alice died one of the saddest things was the full beard she had which no one was there often enough to prevent for her. She was my Grandmother’s sister (on my Mother’s side of the family).

My Grandmother also had stray whiskers on her face, but I never saw her with a lot of them until she was quite a bit older, when I was far past being a kid myself. She was a plucker too. Interesting to note that I have her same pattern of grey hair mostly in the front too. Maybe we share our whiskery ways too and I won’t have to really worry about them until I’m 60 or so too. I miss her – in that way it’s an honour to share her whiskers and grey hair. I do think about her nearly every time I look at my face in the mirror.

But… I do Like Being Contrary

Having written all that, a funny thing happened when I turned 40-something and began to get whiskers on my chin – I began plucking them, pretty mercilessly, with tweezers. I’m far from being a bearded lady. I only notice one a week and I do pluck them as soon as I feel them.

The only difference with the moustache and the chin whiskers was my age. I did not like the hair on my chin making me feel old when I actually was past the age of high school and beyond. Nature’s little digs about our age are much easier to take when we aren’t old yet.

Moustache Growing Month: Movember

Pedalling their School Bus

Fast CoExist: Dutch Kids Pedal their own Bus to School:

The Dutch are bicycle fanatics. Almost half of daily travel in the Netherlands is by bicycle, while the country’s bike fleet comfortably outnumbers its 16 million people. Devotees of the national obsession have taken the next logical step by launching what is likely the first bicycle school bus.

Built by Tolkamp Metaalspecials, and sold by the De Cafe Racer company, the bicycle school bus (BCO in Dutch) is powered entirely by children and the one adult driver (although there is an electric motor for tough hills). Its simple design has eight sets of pedals for the kids (ages 4 to 12), a driver seat for the adult, and three bench seats for freeloaders. The top speed is about 10 miles per hour, and features a sound system and canvas awning to ward off rainy days.

What a great way to get the kids exercising and active first thing in the day. They can burn off some energy so they will be more likely to sit and listen in class too.

As We Become the Older Generation…

If you are 30, or older, you might think this is hilarious!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning…. Uphill…. Barefoot… BOTH ways…yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they’ve got it!

But now that I’m over the ripe old age of thirty, I can’t help but look around and notice the youth of today. You’ve got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don’t know how good you’ve got it!

1) I mean, when I was a kid we didn’t have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

2) There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter – with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

3) Child Protective Services didn’t care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!

4) There were no MP3’s or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!

5) Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We’d play our favorite tape and “eject” it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that’s how we rolled, Baby! Dig?

6) We didn’t have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that’s it!

7) There weren’t any freakin’ cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn’t make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your “friends”. OH MY GOSH !!! Think of the horror… not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there’s TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

8) And we didn’t have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent…. you just didn’t know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

9) We didn’t have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like ‘Space Invaders’ and ‘Asteroids’… Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen.. Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

10) You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what’s the world coming to?!?!

11) There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I’m saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

12) And we didn’t have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!

13) And our parents told us to stay outside and play… all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside… you were doing chores!

And car seats – oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the “safety arm” across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling “shot gun” in the first place!

See! That’s exactly what I’m talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You’re spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn’t have lasted five minutes back in 1970 or any time before!

Regards,

The Over 30 Crowd

via (34) If you are 30, or….