Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down..... Not completely true, but such a compelling lyric from my youth that I couldn't stop myself from using it. 

It is pouring rain, and I am a little bit down.  Not full bore, hide the sleeping pills down, but a little contemplative.  I find myself ruminating on things gained and lost over the course of my life, on people with whom I regret having lost touch,  with the fascinating/painful/beneficial/confusing process of aging.

I've become quite the Facebook junkie over the past few years, and recently I indulged in spending an evening going through the screen after screen of possible friends it suggested.  I identified quite a few names that I hadn't spoken with since high school, and sent friend requests to many of them.  That probably added to my general disquiet.  I think about all that has happened to me since high school, what a different person I am today than I was then, and I wonder about the lives of those other people I've just invited to be my "friend."  It's weird to think that soon many of them might be seeing my random posts on Facebook, drawing their own conclusions about the me I have become.  There have been a few high school friends or acquaintances who have become really good Facebook friends, and in many cases they are not people I was really close to in the day.  So it is always a question mark to me as to how these things will play out.

Equally disturbing was how few college friends I found.  I married my college sweetheart and divorced him six years later, which tended to have the effect of my losing track of most of my college friends.  I was saddened that I couldn't find the same kind of wealth of lost friends from that era that I did from my high school years.  There were definitely friends from that time that I would love to catch up with.

I will be getting a new boss this Wednesday, and perhaps that is disquieting, too.  Those who know me will recall that I was unemployed, with little temporary blips, for two years, and am now in a job that pays substantially less and is much lower on the org chart than I those I had in the years before. I was very grateful to get this job, and have been treated extremely well.  In spite of the negatives I just mentioned, I actually love the organization, love my coworkers, love the actual tasks that fill my day, and love the feeling that my work is appreciated and makes a difference.  Though money is a perpetual problem, in every other way I am probably happier in this job than I had been in my work life in years.  So at some level I guess I fear the unknown with a new boss.  Will she continue to treat me with the respect and freedom my former boss did?  Will she appreciate my work? Will she acknowledge the lifetime of experience I bring to bear? Will my work life continue to feel so positive? 

I remember reading when I was younger that middle-aged and older women complained that they become invisible.  Younger people, even professionals like doctors and dentists and the like, tend to not really notice you in the room, not give you the same eye contact and attention that you used to get. Now at 52, I will attest that it is somewhat true.  In fact I have told friends that sometimes, I find it is an advantage.  If I have a morning where I can't get my hair to lay right or I'm not thrilled with how I look, I sometimes remind myself that really, nobody is looking anyway.  It's OK -- there's no pressure.  And often, I find that strangely comforting.  But at other times, I understand the complaint.  I have always had strong opinions and the ability to articulate them well, and I still do.  As such, when I feel overlooked I can usually make myself known.  But it is easy for me to see that for those who are not as bold by nature, it could be really difficult.

Another aspect of aging that I find a mixed blessing is the whole "perspective" thing.  On the one hand, it is definitely a blessing that every little thing doesn't set me off like it did when I was young.  Many little indignities or disappointments come up and I find I can shrug them off:  "Really?" I ask myself, "Is this really worth getting all worked up about?"  On the other hand, I sometimes miss the passion.  It seems that along with letting go of the little things that annoy me, I have also lost some of the ability to get really, really jazzed about new interests.  It's almost like I'm on too high a dose of antidepressants -- except I'm not on any meds at all!  But I feel the way friends have described when they have been.  I enjoy some things, but I don't feel the same burning passion about external subjects that I once did. And sometimes  I really miss it.  I hold onto the hope that I am just in a transitional stage right now, and someday soon I will find some new outside interests that fire a passion. 

But my rainy day has stopped raining, and I think it is time to move on.  This is probably as much navel gazing as I or my readers can take for one sitting!