I’ve been having trouble managing my joie de vivre.
Or finding it.
It went dark on me this month.
I think some of it had to do with my eyes. Having my cataracts removed meant that I could see a lot of things more clearly, including myself, unfortunately. And things in the distance, or not so far distance, like age and weakness, lost abilities, dependency. Someday, I won’t be able (or allowed) to drive my own car.
I’ve thought these things before, for years actually, even though I am healthy and sane and able. When I do, I usually put the top down on my convertible and drive faster. But that hasn’t worked this time. Everywhere I go, I hear the clock ticking. Like Captain Hook, I am tortured, running from one side of the ship to the other. Where is that damn crocodile? Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Resignation or struggle. Those seem to be the two options. And self-pity. But because self-pity has sort of an entitlement threshold, not many people talk about feeling sorry for themselves for getting older because, you know, there is the alternative.
The other night, after a long futile search for the hearing aid that goes on my left ear, I ripped the cochlear implant receiver off my right ear, fed up with its weight, its claw around my ear, threw it on the dresser where part of it splintered off to the floor, and yelled “I’m sick of all this machinery!”
Then I fell into bed and started crying. Crying like somebody died. Great, heaving sobs. About having to wear things on my head that help me hear.
But it wasn’t about that. I don’t know what it was about. If I said I knew I would be pretending, posing myself as a master of this aging process when, right now, I feel like its victim.
I do know that, like most tough times, the only way out is through the middle. And through the middle lies something – survival, possibility, life, happiness? Every time I’ve put my head down and kept on in my life, it’s been worth it. It will be this time, too, I think.