We were chatting in the kitchen this morning about our parents, how we didn't really know what they were facing in their old age. I have no regrets about how I related to my mother, right up to her death on March 2 2006 at 2.30pm. A friend this week asked what was my father like. I got all animated and was surprised how I could sum him up in a few sentences. They were like chalk and cheese, much like my marriage. She was more complicated in an extrovert way, he as an introvert hid much.
Someone once said to my father about my mother, "klaagt wel veel, he?". I said to my friends this week - we complain, not because we want to whinge but because WE WANT TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. They agreed.
And that is how I believe elderly people are often seen - as complainers, whingers, stroppy, bucking the status quo, bucking the way "old people are supposed to behave - I mean, after all, we are looking after them so they should be grateful". "Sweet little old lady" is heard often these days. But do they really know that person? And yet as I get older, I feel that frustration of a build-up of years where things I thought as a young person should be fixed by now, should be understood by now, should be addressed by now, aren't. I broke my shoulder a little over a year ago, and as an older lady was shocked at how I was mistreated - patronised, spoken down to, cajoled, literally shut up for speaking the truth about my situation. My sister (older than me) was treated rudely in hospital, mocked for "not being able to speak English properly" when she had had a mini-stroke and language was affected. Numerous medical situations confirm the trivial way the elderly are treated.
So complaining may not be such a bad way to go. Stand up for ourselves as the older generation, speak up at the risk of hearing "klaagt wel veel" ("complains quite a lot") and say "I'm not complaining. I want things to change for the better and here's why".
As I'm aging, more people around me are dying - friends, acquaintances. Thankfully, not family. Yet. I have 5 sisters, all older than me, the eldest 80. Who knows how much longer any of us will live but we (or some of us anyway) have longevity (pronounced lon-jevity not long-jevity) on our side, back a few generations. At least half of us have inherited heart defects. Our father died at 73 on a Saturday morning from two heart attacks in a row. One of my sisters said she'd been terrified at 73 that she would die that year.
I was secretary in the 1970s for a kind man who died last year. I was an accompanist in the 1970s on the piano to a singer who died in his 80s the year before. These people take my memories with them. It's true yet harsh to think my death will make way for the next generation.
Over the weekend friends visited. He already has an out-of-alignment posture, he has no idea why, and then he tripped two weeks ago, busted his hand, bashed his head in, unconscious. He is in his mid-70s and wonders what's ahead, his body caving in, doctors unable to come up with why, his mood flat. This is aging in the raw, the bare bones stuff where we come face to face with what we can and can't do. When we realise that all those trite little phrases of "you can do anything you dream" and "you can be anything you want to be" is for the young. Only.
I broke my shoulder a year ago. I'm still not out of the woods. Will it be all downhill from here?
This blog is my reality. I will not be sugar-coating. There are people who need to be heard without a pat on the back and "you'll be fine dear" or "you're so negative", "things will improve", "life will get better, you'll see".
Questions I would like asked as I age: What do you think about this, what would you do in this situation, what helped you in this area. In fact, I wouldn't mind being asked questions, period. I am an asker, I ask questions when I'm with people. The benefit is validity - I am a valid person, not invalid (read that both ways).
Stories of goings-on in aged care facilities curl my hair. Close to home as well, as a family member worked in aged care. The way sons and daughters treat their aging/dying mothers and fathers, the invisibility of the invalid (the sick / the unacceptable, whichever way you want to pronounce that word), the lack of communication, the lack of questioning, the lack of interest, the lonely person sitting in their chair being talked down to by a worker in the tone of "you all right, dear?". That is not the right question.
Ask an older person a question today that's meaningful to their life. By older I mean in their 60s and upward. Try it and see their eyes light up. Unless of course they're a super private person, in which case you should be using some tact :D
So, when I was young I'd think
♡ why doesn't that old lady acknowledge me and wave
♡ why does my mum always want me to appreciate what she's done by telling me about it
♡ why do oldies whinge about the state of the world, the state of young people, where society is headed
♡ when is that old man gonna stop being so slow and get on with crossing the road
♡ when is that old lady ahead of me in the queue going to hurry up and get out of her handbag and pay for her damn groceries
Now I'm getting on, I think
♡ some appreciation, please
♡ are you blind? Hellooooo!
♡ why do they hate me saying "in my day", "when I was young", "back then"
♡ why doesn't the west appreciate the wisdom of the old
♡ why isn't aged eccentricity appreciated more
♡ why not ask us oldies what we'd do in this situation, that circumstance
♡ don't they know I can't see them to wave, without my glasses on?
♡ stop questioning my occasional lack of motivation and accept I'm getting older
Next time #2 we will delve a little further into aging.
(Click on Aging in the list at right (and below on mobile) to read more blogs.)
Here is a blog I wrote on Blogger in 2009. Nothing much has changed, in fact I believe it's worse these days.
I have since left Facebook.
How have our lives changed sharing personal stuff? I just read a blog. The lady had 1045 followers and all of her posts had no more than one or two comments. That gets me wondering. Why are these one thousand and forty-five bloggers following her? Is it all about them - getting their blogs out there but not one scrap of interest in this lady's cooking blog? Hello, love to be your friend. Goodbye, nice knowing you but I'll still pretend I'm around. And do we really know these people? Not a hope in hell.
What is our motivation? People are hoping they'll get noticed. I'm hoping my art gets noticed. This is, after all, an art blog and not about my relationship problems, health issues, my motivation or lack thereof or my frustration trying to be heard and get my "work" noticed.
I'm on facebook. I have 20 friends. But only one or two consistently take an interest and comment. Why don't more of my friends/family pop by, I comment on theirs. It starts to become a comparison. Now years ago, none of these feelings popped up if I didn't receive a letter in the mailbox. Because we all knew it takes effort to get out a pen and paper and you rang if you hadn't heard. And chatted voice to voice. Plus people were busy with Real Life. Now we/I stare at our facebook profiles and whatever else we're created online and wonder where everyone is and what the heck we're doing this for and why. Then if we're considering deleting our fb account we think, oh all this time I've invested and oh dear I'll miss out on those photos my friends/family put up.....forgetting that if we did, they could still email us a pic or send us a link or even send us a link to their fb photos...or HEAVEN FORBID post us a printed photo. Maybe even ring us of their own volition?! Or write us a letter? (total bliss!). Remember those printed photos? Or have you forgotten already?
Addicted to Mediocrity was a book I read in my church-going days. By Francis Schaeffer. Addicted to mediocrity seems to me to be the disease of the century. Once upon a time you were good at something menial or manual and respected. Now every man and his dog can have a go on the internet at whatever they want and put up a poor showing. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good stuff out there and valid original creativity. But it reminds me of reality tv. So much mediocrity, rubbish, off the cuff garishness, boring talk, rudeness, glaring oafish trash. I'm glad for all the good in my Real Life that keeps me grounded. But I still deal with frustration every day, well nearly every day.
See the video on my youtube channel: https//www.youtube.com/user/riteasrain
Jeremy Hunter is a songwriter and producer from Brisbane, Australia, who just happens to be my son. This promo video has excerpts of his current weekly podcasts, original songs and covers. It was my idea to promote his channel on youtube and because I love his music. I am the editor of this video.
He has formed bands, performed since teen years, his songs played on radio, discovered by TripleJ Unearthed, travelled to the UK with his music, a full history of musical endeavour.
Many of his songs are melancholy yet beautiful ruminations on love, loss, dreams and death which spring from personal experience. He strives to retain a tenderness in his music whilst exploring emotionally complex territory.
Jeremy both plays and produces entirely on his own, showcasing both his production skills and talents as a multi-instrumentalist. The results are lush layered walls of piano, guitar and harmonies that swell and subside, all the while supporting his ardent vocal style.
...when you have a seriously bad accident that ultimately changes your life, your view of the world (although mine has always been skewed...like my dominant-use arm and hand), your body's ability to ever be as flexible again as it was prior, and changes your opinion of people's relationship with you, your opinion of people ... period?
I have had to compensate, readjust, re-evaluate, re-find, accommodate, counterbalance, reconcile, balance, accustom. Super-sensitivity ... I was going to say "doesn't help", but that is what people tell me and I refuse to say that to myself. My sensitivity has given me my gifts and talents. (But) it also makes me, my body, my skin, my senses, my ability to live this life, difficult because of my awareness of life and living, and the thin thread that holds us from dying. We die, we all die, we all die eventually whether it's 10 years away or 2 minutes. Facing actual death which I have done a few times, is life-rattling. And falling does that. Yes, "thankfully you didn't hit your head, break your hip, break a leg". People say that but it negates a further conversation about how rattled I was by the whole experience. I look for depth. Brushing off my experience with an "anyway", which crops up so many times in conversation with friends and family after I have "shared", doesn't cut it.
Anyway ... this isn't about them. This is about finding myself again, finding my music, my art, my gaming love, my use of limb and life. I am on the way there but it takes guts, courage, detachment, love and dare I say it, commitment. A word I learned to hate in my cult days. It is about acceptance, accepting the fact that my fall is another nail, not in the coffin, but in the stack of difficult, harrowing experiences I have been through, mind-boggling, nailed as an extra experience and weight on top of all that's already happened to me. I hear "drama queen", "over-the-top", "yes-but", "be grateful". Too bad, this is my life and my experiences make me compassionate. There are many many many of us on this planet just like me. Many don't speak up, don't need to, don't want to. Silent, because negativity, perceived negativity, isn't looked kindly on in this day and society.
This is my story. Will I ever be grateful for it? No, I doubt it. But it's still my life, my experience. It is me. Is that sufficient? Maybe not. I have to live with it though. No choice. And once again, in spite of depression and PTSD, I paint, I draw, I game, I play, I watch, I read. I have once again found, hauled back, my loves.
What else can you do? After all, I am still alive.
■ Companies making groups and competitions on Facebook and Instagram when many people aren't on social media and don't want to be but still want to be involved in the competitions, so they can't join in. Then getting a reply email that a competition isn't available elsewhere eg on the company's website (which isn't hard!). Sites like Hydrocryl, although Colour in Your Life has sought to accommodate.
■ People on YouTube not making their own videos but making compilations from other channels and reuploading them as their own and making money because YouTube recommends them.
■ There is no art category on YouTube. I have asked numerous times because there are millions of us artists needing this category for more specific search.
■ YouTube subscribers (read "teenyboppers") commenting on videos about anything but what's on the video, enamoured with stupid prank videos by channels like Pewdiepie, Markiplier, Jakesepticeye.
I write stuff.