"You learn that as you grow older, we live in a perpetual state of fear. All the horrible things we do to each other, all our misunderstandings, are because of fear."
The Old Jest. Jennifer Johnston, Page 98. Read in 2016.
Some new fears as I age. They would be unrecognizable to a younger me, then I would have classified them as "silly".
(1)Fear of becoming a crashing bore because of my health issues. So I avoid talking about them. Then, when questioned on my health status, I'm aware of looking shifty from such avoidance and quickly switch conversation to something else.
(2)Fear of the specialist I saw on Wednesday, my nephrologist, who has no time for my avoidance of 3 times daily blood pressure readings, no time for my water shortage ingestion in spite of his instructions. No time for my whiny "I can't live in the bathroom all the time" ("Oh, "sez he, in a bored monotone, "Then dialysis would be preferable?" He is excellent at what he does, but boy, bedside manner is not part of his genetic makeup. He handed me a list of what I need to do before seeing him in a month. Yes, I will comply. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
(3)Fear of getting lost. Due to my mobility issues, this is much more serious than for a healthier younger me, the running me, the adventurous me. Now when I am pounding down a sidewalk with my cane searching for something, store, medical office, etc., if it's not where I thought it was supposed to be I panic as my energy has evaporated, I need to sit down and there's nothing to sit on. So I lean, and breathe and want to cry in frustration. I was rescued by a kind stranger on Wednesday who gently guided me outside the building and led me to the correct clinic, taking time to allow for breaks. People are so very kind and caring.
(4)Fear of brain-fail. It takes me longer to learn new skills, like a knitting pattern. I have to repeat and repeat to lodge it in whatever remaining brain cell is still up for rental. Short term memory, unless I really, really concentrate, vanishes like a puff of smoke. I am mindful of working the brain via knitting, daily Scrabble, reading books outside my comfort zone. Challenging it.
(5)Political scene: femicides. A woman is murdered in Canada every 3 days by a man who purportedly loves her. The stats in many countries are similar. I've been present when men "jokingly" threaten wives that they would kill them if they caught them being unfaithful. Since I first became aware of how second class women are, way, way back in the fifties, I see regression in women's rights everywhere. Men who haven't a clue - as an example see that Gillette ad up there? - the outrage amongst some of my male friends was breathtaking. They take the line of "not all men" - neglecting, of course, to take a stand against the proliferation of porn, sex trafficking, prostitution, etc. which is so embedded in our culture as to be taken for granted. Women's (and many girl children's) bodies are commodities, products to be sold, trafficked at a whim. Trillion dollar rape industries. Imagine, I say to men I know, being anally raped twenty to a hundred times a day or giving blow jobs to hundreds of strangers. And they shudder.
A Teacher's Association Convention in Alberta booked a convicted murderer/rapist as their keynote speaker. You read that right. Only when the public outcry became a deluge did they cancel him. Read about it here.. The fact that they would even arrange all of this shows how deeply embedded rape culture is in our society: how female victims can be so thoroughly erased. And to make the story even more sordid - the reason he killed her was because he couldn't get an erection.
I fear for my own anger in these political situations. My rage is frightening to me at times and it doesn't abate as I age. It worsens. How on earth do I keep a lid on myself? How do I numb out and shrug and pretend all of this doesn't matter?
(6)Oddly enough, in such an anti-aging climate, I haven't a fear of wrinkles or age-spots, or "Looking my age" or greying. I tell people openly I am an old woman, or an elder or a crone and most react with:"You don't look it" with a little frisson. What's that about? What does "looking it" mean? Why the fear of growing old? Isn't the alternative so much worse? I have lost far too many dear ones not to celebrate my bonus years.
Anyway getting my thoughts of the day out there on paper.
As I struggle with a short memoir I am writing.