Friday, February 13, 2009

On Becoming Irrelevant

By the time I was 21 I had become irrelevant to myself. And if I hadn't had girlfriends I might have succeeded in driving my car off a cliff because of how I perceived myself at that time. However, girlfriends and then children kept me alive because at core I am a caregiver. This is genetically bred into me. So I'm no good as a single person but I am a great father to my children and a good friend to my chosen mate.

However, here I'm talking about another kind of irrelevance. This kind of irrelevance comes with age. I first began to feel it in earnest when I almost died when I was 48. It came and went for about 4 years. So even though I felt happy to be retired because I almost died I began to feel people take me less seriously because I was retired so young. But lately, I notice just how many people are dying starting in their late 40's through 60s. I'm 60 now but since my health is relatively okay and since I was diagnosed as having under active thyroid glands and began taking Armour thyroid as a daily medicine I feel like I did when I was about 30 years old again except with more aches and pains because of wear and tear and age. So here I am at 60 wondering what to do with myself and already having been basically retired by age 48. Many people would call me lucky. I agree with that. I have a wonderful wife, daughter and an older 19 year old daughter and 34 year old son out living on their own and a 23 year old god daughter also living with us. So most people would call me a very lucky man to be fortunate to not only have the financial basics covered but so many lovely people in my life on a daily basis.

However, my mother passed away this year. My wife's father passed away this year. My favorite Aunt passed away this year. A female cousin passed away around Christmas. One of my best two male friends since childhood passed away 2 or 3 years ago. My other best high school friend has early alzheimers and can't hold a conversation with me but he does still know who I am. My last best friend who is functional is a professional musician and tours the U.S. and World on a regular basis and we usually ski when he is home (probably within the next month).

However, more and more I feel irrelevant and I find myself struggling. Maybe part of it is when I was young(up to my early 40s) I was very tall and strong and handsome and in demand with the ladies. I fed on all this attention and it partly kept me alive especially when I was suicidal in my early twenties. In my thirties since I was married I still liked this attention but I found it very distracting to staying married. In my 40s all this attention slowed down a little and I was amazingly relieved because of the stress of it all,(especially raising kids).

But now I'm 60 and feeling very irrelevant and sorry for myself and I'm trying to find a way forward. Because so many people depend upon me I know I must find a way forward. And even though when I was young finding some new woman to hang out with was my preferred way to stay alive I'm to proud to do that again. So I'll honor my wife and young daughter and the rest of my kids even if it takes 20 or 30 years off my life. Married life is very unnatural for most men I know. However, without this discipline which reminds me a lot of being a celibate priest where would civilization be? If no one makes the sacrifice to be strong for their families and their children, civilization ends. This is what I think.

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