Saturday, June 27, 2020

Call me an #OWL

Well someone got "woke" when it comes to the name of "old" as I have been in that category for over five years now, as once I turned 55 I was asked repeatedly when I planned on retiring, be that at 62 or in another decade at 65.  My response was and still is, "I have never been anything but retired darling, work is for fools or horses." I find that shuts everyone up but it also put a target on my back when someone decided that access to my finances was worth risking my life for and his drugging and shoving booze down my throat was the key to do so.  I shudder to think had he managed to get me home then what, after robbing me blind, raping me, would he have left me to die in my own home only to be found once the rent check did not clear?  Yes, yes he would. I know it and to this day I will never let another man lay his filthy hand upon me be that professionally and personally.

Of late I watch on "social" media the endless dog piling, shaming and scolding of individuals caught on today's version of Candid Camera making asses out themselves.  This is then posted online and demands to "out" them, expose them and get them fired from their jobs, mocked by their family, friends and co-workers for just being an asshole, at that moment in time.  So fucking what? What did they actually do to you and yours and eventually they will be exposed in their own time and in their own way and if not they can change.  But where they work and who they are have nothing to do with you and yours so go fuck yourself.

Gee where I have heard and seen this type of "outing" before.  Funny as an OWL you live through the same bullshit, right down to killing viruses, hysteria and of course shame, fear and rage.  Welcome youngsters as this is your life.  I have no problem being 'old' I earned it.

Today is Pride Day and I celebrate by dancing alone like no one is watching and with that the Gay Community is the exception to the rule and my friendships were family to me as the Queer Community worked for someone who is queer in a non-sexual way.    And in my life the most prominent men and women in my hetero, cis, non binary, or whatever you kids say today, life were members of that community.  Queer meant weird too and I am one hell of a weird chick and wear my weirdness with pride.  But I have finally figured out how marginalized, dismissed and demeaned I have been all my life as I chose to live differently.  And this when I realized my value.  Women are only seen as value when their vagina is functional and when that is dried up their checkbook is another substitute.  And that is why in Nashville I said repeatedly as I wound do my time there that both my vagina and checkbook are closed for business and with that I have never heard a single  world from one single person inquiring about my health, wellness or anything about me  Go figure.

As an OldWhiteLady #OWL I have said that we could be killed in the street and not one word of protest or rage would be expressed in our direction, instead we would be applauding that another "Karen" or some other abusive moniker would be applied as apparently that is all we are - nasty women who should be better off dead.  And to that GO FUCK YOURSELF, as already stated,  my vadge is closed for business.

Here is what we can do is not know someone until they allow us to know them. To have the ability to access and more importantly hear and listen to someone's personal narrative is the way we learn about them.  Filming someone on a rant or hysterical outburst tells me more about you then them.  I have no idea what the catalyst or prompt was to encourage that and in turn I do not judge people by the worst thing they have ever done or had happen to them.  Do you judge me that I allowed a former lover to drug and assault me and leave me for dead in a crashed car? Do you?

Do you Judge me for being a bitch? Do you Judge me for running and running again anytime I am afraid and want to avoid conflict? Do you Judge me for liking sex and pursuing sex with men many younger like the one who nearly killed me? The Prosecutor in Seattle did? Do you?  Do you want to film me when a kid abuses me verbally in a school as they have no sense of humor, no intelligence and are using me as a whipping boy to vent and project anger on the Sub leading me to walk out of the room?   Do you Judge me for sitting outside a school not wanting to go in and so when asked if "I need help" and refusing said help sending Police to investigate? Do you Judge me for having Police come to my home in Nashville when I blew up over billing issues and I said some hateful shit and then they came for a wellness check as they thought I was nuts?  Do you Judge me for getting fired from a job I hated and did shitty things to co-workers before I was planning to quit anyway? Do you Judge me for telling someone off for being shitty to me? For just doing shitty things? Do you Judge me? What allows you to?  Who gave you permission to be shitty to people you don't know? Know nothing about and wouldn't give a flying fuck if it was not the thing to do?  Who made that a thing?

Do you see my point?  This is America, we hate, we judge, we do nothing and we go on.  Let's list every micro aggression, every indiscretion, every accident, every misstep, every fuckup, everything we have ever done or done to others or others have done to us and let's hope we live long enough to shame, blame and humiliate them and ourselves in the process.  Get woke or get fucked as I am too old to give a flying fuck.  And I am happy and proud to be 6o.  Maybe if you're lucky you will live through the good, the bad, the ugly and make it there.  Or you won't. Guess what? I don't care, do you?   Ah who wore a coat with that on the back. Never thought I would have anything in common with her but every now  and then we find commonalities over differences. Try that sometime in between getting woke.

With the novel coronavirus, suddenly at 60 we’re now ‘old’

By Katherine Ellison
June 27, 2020
The Washington Post

More than 20 million Americans ages 60 to 65 got a rude surprise this year.

Many of us, BC — before the novel coronavirus — had counted on a little more time before we had to see ourselves as “old.” Yet in recent weeks, we’ve been shoved toward senescence as supermarkets have scheduled “senior hours” for those 60 and older, and major media have reported experts’ warnings that the elderly, starting at age 60, are extra vulnerable.

Suddenly 60 is the new 65. At 62, I believe I speak for many other late-stage boomers when I say: Wait, what?

“I turn 60 later this year so I noticed that acutely,” said Chip Conley, founder of the Modern Elder Academy, which he calls the world’s first midlife wisdom school. “It was all of a sudden: I’m in a high-risk group? I’m perceived as elderly?”

I don’t mean to reject any help that might keep me and my graying cohort alive. Bring on those peaceful senior shopping hours. Nor would I ever argue that policing these linguistic limits should be a top priority when thousands of Americans have died, tens of millions are out of work and our democracy is floundering

All the same, this sudden downward pressure on the boundary of old age strikes me as un-American. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Census for years have used 65 to define older Americans. (It was only last Thursday that the CDC tried to calm the confusion with a news release stating: “It’s not just those over the age of 65 who are at increased risk for severe illness.”) You still can’t get Medicare until 65 or full Social Security benefits until age 66. So maybe this is something else we can blame on China and the World Health Organization, given that both use “over 60” to define old age, and both have been the source of a lot of coronavirus news.

More important, for those of us in the early-60s gray zone, the slipping standard harms more than our vanity, stealing our last shred of deniability even as the shutdown deprives us of tools we’ve relied on to pass ourselves off as younger, such as Botox, hair salons and gyms.

Denial plays a vital role in human survival, which helps explain why most prefer to bask in it as long as possible.

Aging people say they are feeling younger

“From age 40 onwards, people report feeling about 20 percent younger than their chronological age, an amount that obviously gets bigger over time,” Sarah Barber, an expert on cognitive aging at Georgia State University, told me. As we age, we also tend to imagine “old age” as beginning later and later, she said, further boosting our illusion that we’re still young.

We’re only as old as we feel, as they say. The hitch is we can be made to feel older — and frailer and less competent — when reminded of our age and the inevitable downsides. This has been established by studies of the “stereotype threat,” meaning that when old people, or mothers, or other groups, for example, are reminded of the stereotypes about their group, they unwittingly tend to validate them.

In one seminal study, older adults — in this case ages 62 to 84 — were split into three groups. One group read articles linking age to cognitive decline. Another read articles describing older people who stayed sharp as they aged. The third group did no reading. All three groups then took a test that challenged them to remember several words. Guess which group forgot most of them? The first one, of course.

Focusing on gloomy images of aging can make you less coordinated and even less healthy. Researchers have found that people who feel more negative about aging in midlife may later be less competent drivers and have a harder time recovering from a heart attack. People who accept the most depressing cultural images of aging may also take worse care of themselves, even shortening their own lives by an average of 7.5 years.

Pandemic culture floods us with constant reminders about aging and death, not least with its nasty Twitter hashtags like BoomerDoomer and BoomerRemover. Stories about “seniors” are frequently illustrated with images of stooped postures and canes, or photos of lonely, white-haired grandmothers peering out of locked windows.

No wonder my knees ache and I’ve recently switched to stronger reading glasses. More than once, I’ve asked my husband what day it is, which is unsettling for both of us, as much as I’ve heard other age groups are having the same trouble.

Seeking to stop stereotypes from becoming self-fulfilling prophecies, groups like Conley’s Modern Elder Academy and AARP have been trying to “reframe” aging, emphasizing the many purported benefits, such as wisdom and contentment. They’re casting a wide net, given that the average age of Conley’s “elders” is 52, and AARP starts mailing you membership cards when you turn 50.

Ageism has long been one of America’s favorite prejudices, even though — if we’re lucky — we’ll all become its target. “We disparage elderly people without fear of censure,” wrote the psychologist authors of a study on aging stereotypes, “Doddering but dear.” Among other discouraging news, they cite research demonstrating that on top of discrimination in hiring and medical decisions, older adults are more likely than any other age group to appear on TV and in movies “as conduits for comic relief, exploiting stereotypes of physical, cognitive, and sexual ineffectiveness.”

No wonder even many in the over-65 set don’t feel ready for the new considerations and limitations based on being officially over the hill.

“I feel grounded like a wayward adolescent punished for underage smoking or drinking,” complained Politico editor Paul Taylor, 65, referring to his cohort of “fit, never-been-busier, un-retirees” as “the twelderly,” inspired by the word “tween,” for a pre-adolescent.

Before the pandemic, I too imagined myself as, at worst, pre-elderly, while assuming there was widespread agreement about the endpoint of plausible youth. I’ll even confess to a shimmer of schadenfreude on reading Texas Lt. Gov. Daniel Patrick’s controversial call for old people to consider sacrificing their lives for the economy, given that Patrick’s standard was “70 plus.”

But then I realized just how much the coronavirus may be infecting all of us with the most dreadful view of aging, in which “old” is synonymous with useless and expendable. And who’s ever ready for that?

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