I looked in the mirror this morning and saw my pale face, tired eyes. Neck bent forward, head tilted up to see straight ahead. I don’t want to write about that. It’s boring, it’s painful, it’s too close to home.
I’ve met a lot of people, talked to a lot of people over the years. I can see their grey hair well enough, wrinkles, love handles. People tell me of their suffering, seem to discount the immensity of my own by comparison. At this point I believe that everyone has it rough before they open their mouths. It seems like they need to see the words go in my ears anyway.
It means something to me too. When I can see the effort of one of my kin to understand my fumbling communications. I find it comforting that something as simple as a smile or an offer of chocolate can still warm my heart, even as the winter persists in pressing up against my skin.
I’m only 32. Not that old. Although I rarely get the caveat any more about my abundance of time left when I deign to speak of my troubles. More common is a circuitous response, remarkably so given the usual terseness, that manages to both acknowledge and offer sympathy for my pain all while carefully hedging against any material offer or commitment of support beyond the words spoken during our brief interchange. While these social niceties have brought me great frustration (and continue to,) I feel more and more that I am receiving the world’s welcome into the middle-aged club; it’s ok, I guess. At the parties maybe no one dances with quite the same passion anymore, but at least by now we all know the steps.
I’ve always preferred quiet dinner parties anyway. Board games and the company of familiar faces, maybe a few that merely remind me enough of someone I know that I’m a bit unsure if in fact they are indeed new to me. We all get older. I don’t think aging gracefully is much of a choice, honestly. It’s the only way to make it through.