Take A Look At Yourself

Originally published September 2012

Song of the day: Take a Look At Yourself – Paul Revere and the Raiders

I recently read a post on Facebook from a person who stated he was glad to hear that 70 is no longer considered old. That 70 is now the new 55.
What makes a person old? Is it a number, or perspective? What makes an age appear old or young? For many it seems dependent on a number, yet I hear a lot of people in their mid-20’s say they are getting old. Is this preposterous, or are they really aging before their time?

I grew up around older people. I was born to a mother who was 44 and a father who was 53. All of their friends were of the same age. Some of them seemed old—crotchety, set in their ways, and, worst of all, boring! Some of them seemed, well, normal. They did things—went to parties, threw parties, danced, had hobbies.

As they matured and eventually passed on, some had become old while others had just stayed themselves. I think that is how I learned that age is a number. You are the one who determines if you are old.
Fast forward and I am 44. Like my mom at this age, I am about to have a daughter. With that I finally made a connection to something today that hits like a ton of bricks.

About four years ago when I first started trying to conceive and had shared that with a few people, I became an insomniac. I made no connection between the two other than the timing.
The last two nights my insomnia has been really bad, and I paid attention to what I woke up thinking about. It’s the same thing that woke me a few times last week and I suspect it has been the culprit for years. The common thread is the well intending people in my life who continuously say things that are, to me, offensive and inappropriate.

I pride myself on being a tactful person, and I try to smile and walk away from negativity, but I am finding more and more that people have been insulting. Here are a few examples:
Them: “Your life is going to change when you have a baby.”
Me: “I kind of suspect that.”
Them: “You will never get any sleep. At best a few hours here and there.”
Me: “I’ve been an insomniac for four years. A few hours here and there sound like gold.”
Them: “You will not be able to go out for a long time.”
Me: “Isn’t that what babysitters are for?”
Them (usually offended): “Well, you are just never going to want to leave that cute little baby with anyone.”
Me: “Try me.”
Them: “You say that now but just wait. You think you are going back to your old hobbies but you are not.”
Me: “That is interesting. What were you doing before that you are not doing now?”
Them: *sound of crickets*
Me: “Well, I know it will take a few months to get my body back, but I am going back to Rocky Horror. There are a few of us that are pregnant right now and we are talking about how to handle watching each other’s kids.”
Them: *footsteps running away in fear*
This conversation has happened many times with the same reaction. No lie. No exaggeration.

Another prime example of ignorance:
Me: “Well, there certainly will not be a Columbus Day party this year since she is due that weekend. Next year though for sure.”
Them: “Yeah, right. Not for a few years.”
Me: “Why would that be?”
Them: “You are going to be busy.”
Me: “I am always busy.”
Them: “But now you will have a kid.”
Me: (very confused) “So that means I will lose my ability to cook, invite people over, and clean my house? How does that work? The poor kid is going to starve if I forget how to cook.”
Them: “Your kid will take up all of your time.”
Me: “I strongly doubt that. Besides, she will live in a two-parent household. I don’t know about in your house, but in mine my husband wants to be involved. So, no Columbus Day this year, but the regular Christmas Party for sure.”
Them: “We’ll see if that happens.”
Me: We’ll see if you are invited. “You know, you might be right. People have told me I would slow down when I was pregnant. I completed one novel, and am about to shop it, but I am still three chapters away from finishing the draft of the second. I feel like I should be farther along. What have you been up to the last eight months?”
Them: *sound of crickets*

So, to my well intending friends, kindly behave yourselves. You are creating a problem. I still function with insomnia, so your attitude is not really so much a problem for me as your version of reality is for you. You might want to take a look at yourself. You also may want to find a hobby other than trying to convince people it is okay to be boring because you are.

Who’s old now?

October 2013 update: That Holiday party did happen as planned. As will Columbus Day this year. 🙂

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