I Talk About Old People
"Blindness" by Metric
January 29, 2016 Friday 12:33 AM
[another entry that I worry is highly offensive but I'm not about to delete it]
What's the point of getting old?
I mean, you lose the ability to do things yourselves but more importantly, what do you even talk about?
(The weather? Which brand of laundry detergent causes a rash? About how the waiter at some restaurant may or may not have given you a dirty look and you suspect that the chefs switched to cheaper ingredients because the pizza you ate just didn't measure up to your memory of it?)
I've wracked my brain, but I just... don't know.
Is the whole world as faded in your eyes as your skin is to mine? It looks all papery, like the filo dough my mom uses to make spanakopita. All spotted and dry and tired, just like the rest of you.
Old people are not disgusting or anything, but just... why?
When we were in San Francisco, my dad's friend – he is an artist, makes beautiful oil paintings that I just want to stare at for hours – told us a story about how he went to the gym and met this guy in his mid eighties or something.
This guy, he was really fit for an eighty year old, barely looked fifty according to my dad's friend. They talked for awhile, just making nice conversation, when it comes up that the eighty year old guy – the perfectly healthy elderly man – wants to die. Like, he wishes he were dead, wishes he didn't live that long.
I wonder why.
To me, living longer has always seemed sort of pointless. I mean, whoopee, people can live past 100 now, but why would they WANT to? You can't slow down the aging process, at least not by much, unless you dedicate your entire life to being as healthy as possible (and even then, it's not like that's guaranteed to work).
So most likely, you'll begin developing creaky bones when you reach your forties. You become *shudder* middle-aged. That's not a terrible thing, I guess, but I am attached to my youth and I sort of panic when thinking about aging. I'll explain why in a minute.
Anyway, my point is that hooray, you can live for a century, but you'll be old for half your life, and you'll be wrinkled and stained for longer than that.
Youth is short, it lasts – what – twenty or thirty years? After that, you're just deteriorating. You've hit the peak and your descending the hill, it's natural and normal and okay.
So I just wonder – why live most your life in that way, live with constant aches and pains on top of the normal, everyday human sufferings?
My mom told me she could feel her bones and I don't want her to die, I really don't want her to die, but I kind of just can't see the point of living that way either.
It's not like she's all that happy either. In fact, the general vibe I get from her is "tired of life, living only for my children." I don't like that. I want her to be happy. I don't know what to do to fix it, though. It's not my fault, yes, but I'm not really helping am I?
Anyway, is this how most middle-aged adults feel? Doing nothing but repeating the same old routine? What are they even working for?
What am I even working for???
I mean, yes, get good grades to go to college, where I will also strive for good grades so I can get a good job where I will strive to do well so I can get good money so I can provide for myself so I can provide for someone else so I can stack up a retirement fund and eventually retire and live in some old folk's home where no one cares about me (I worry I'll be the kind of smothering mother whose children never call after they move out because they don't want to be caught in a long conversation about nothing-in-particulars).
What?>??? Is the point??? It seems pointless. In my better days, I don't care about this. I think to myself that living is for the small, clean moments but I wonder if that's worth it when there's so much filth in between. I want to stop seeing it that way, you know.
Maybe that's why I want my writing to mean something... But then, earlier today I decided against that whole thing. It's too much pressure to try and make something meaningful. And it just seems kind of... pompous? Is that the word? To want that, I mean, is pompous – pretentious, other synonyms suggesting I think I'm more important than I am. Yes. It's kind of pretentious to think only life-changing literature is worth my time.
Back to the task at hand, the questions in my head.
Old people: why? Why are you still alive? That's a genuine question. What is it that drives you to live? How has this stupid, monotonous routine not ground you into a bloody pulp?
I guess there are exceptions. Old folks who never lose that sort of lust for life. Who spent their youth skydiving or some crazy shit, and still manage to travel and meet random people in their old age.
But most people I think end up sitting on a comfy recliner, pressing the buttons on a remote with a quilt half draped on their lap, empty-headed and waiting to die. This is where my future lies.
I got to thinking about this because, in TV shows, they're always making fun of the boring conversations old people tend to have with their grandchildren or something. And the thing is, it's funny because it's kind of true. My grandma isn't always boring, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I hear her talking about the dullest things. I don't care about whether or not the fence in your backyard could've been moved back ten feet or, I don't know, insert another example of dull small talk here.
And, and, and. What is love?
What is love to an elderly person? I don't actually want to ask because I get the feeling I've heard the answer a thousand times (the general stuff, not specifics).
I mean, that strong stuff that everyone talks about, the weird I-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with-you thing. It just seems fake as fuck.
Because, guess what. I love Liv. I love Lily and Laney and Alexis and I love my sister and my parents.
But sometimes I hate them all. Sometimes, I think I wouldn't care at all if they died right that second. Other times, I'm pretty sure I'm going to explode because I just love them so fucking much it makes me want to burst, and I want to buy them the world and I wish I had the words to let them know how much they mean.
Most of the time, I've got this steady feeling though. This awareness that I've loved a person before and so I should continue telling myself I love said person, as if the command will create the emotion.
So I feel a sort of constant indifference, and I think about that fact a lot. A lot. I care about these people in some weird, abstract way but it's not always love.
Do those rushes of affection just run out as you age? Old couples are always portrayed as these wrinkled things who say "WHAT?" a lot and bicker constantly and fall asleep in the same bed every night, the same way they always have for thirty years.
That love always kind of unnerved me. Mostly because it's suggested that such a way of life is just a leftover. Like, it used to be that they cared a lot more and were genuinely attracted to one another, but then at some point it became more of a habit than actual emotion.
No. No, that is not something I can really wrap my head around. Not something I am ready to accept.
I think I am just afraid of being loved that way. Loved but not quite. It seems lonely.
Oh, well. I don't want to talk about this anymore. I know getting old is inevitable. God, how I hate inevitabilities. They tend to run my life and I'm getting sick of it.
Well, if any elderly are reading: why are you alive? Am I misunderstanding life?
And if that question makes you uncomfortable, if it makes you wonder a little too much: don't kill yourself.
(Okay so I don't actually think it's too likely that I'll cause the suicide of some middle-aged man experiencing a mid life crisis or something, but I'm very worried that it'll happen anyway.
I would hate to ruin anyones life. Please be okay. Alright.)