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 I don’t know the entertainment stuff so I’m relegated to being outdated, out of place and I don’t really understand how things are today.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…?