I’m too old for this

Ya know, I am not going gently into the good night of aging. I’m frustrated and annoyed that I’m just now figuring out that some of the “failures” I’ve had along the way may not be entirely my fault. It’s not even a question of forgiving myself, just having the benefit of more information.

For instance, I have known for a long time that I have strengths and challenges (I started off saying “weaknesses” but thought better of it). There are certain things I get easily, and certain things I can bang my head on the well of knowledge and all I will get from that is a headache. Same as everybody else.

I’m just now coming to terms with how I learn, and that it’s on the fringes of the common style. I need to have a new lesson shown to me before I can begin to learn it. Show me what the outcome is supposed to be, and then leave me alone and let me put my hands on it, wiggle it around a few times, experiment a tiny bit. It’s not instantaneous, and it may take me a few revolutions of practice before I can demonstrate that I’ve learned the lesson. Furthermore, if I don’t repeat it often, I will sometimes forget it for a time until I can reorient myself.

That’s not a totally aberrant style of learning, but it’s not terribly common, at least in business anyway. It’s one of the reasons I couldn’t fit there, but I didn’t understand that fully. They said I had a lack of follow-through and lacked a sense of urgency. What the fuck ever, y’all. Just a polite way of saying they had written me off as a slacker at best, and a dunce at worst.

I believe I lacked the self-awareness to demand better, if not simply different, ways to work in that environment. They are so full of self-inflated value to the organization that anyone who gets a complaint about being too slow, or too forgetful, gets a black mark and put on a list somewhere. Being on a black mark list in corporate America is not a good thing. It means you’re being separated from the herd. Eventually you’ll get picked off.

I got picked off, and it’s the way it was supposed to be. My time without a formal job has given me time to learn things like this and to become more self-aware and more self-respectful. For that, I’m very grateful. But…if you’re listening Universe…I think I have some competence now, so a job offer would be really groovy.

Anyway, the world could use a time-out like the one I’ve had, where you don’t have to be grinding away at something you truly believe does not matter in the general scheme of things. That’s when work becomes drudgery, and you question why the hell you’re still doing the same thing and expecting different results. Nations continuing to uphold their status quo are not becoming more self-aware, they are holding on to tradition and past successes without understanding things have changed. The planet has changed, resources have changed, ideas have changed. Accordingly, how we all fit together has changed drastically and we need new paradigms.

I’ve had a couple of experiences lately; maybe more than a couple. Similar things may have occurred all along, but if I wasn’t aware enough to notice I missed them. I found a book in my cluttered living room the other day that made me giggle a bit. It was Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Miracle of Mindfulness. (If there’s a way to underline on WordPress, I’m totally missing it, so bold will have to do.)

I giggled when I found that book, a brand new paperback that had never been opened because I realized a long-ago good intention of becoming more mindful. I bought the book at a UU national conference many years ago, but, well…the impetus to explore mindfulness flew the coop. But the coop is still there, and the impetus has come home to roost.

Over the past year, I’ve become more interested in mindfulness, and have been attempting to learn about it and find ways to experience it. For me, it has a lot to do with setting my intention for moving through the world. Then, I do what is bidden by my intention and pay attention to whether that is in the right relationship with my environment.

For me, this is easier said than done, because I often forget my intention moments after setting it. I’m sure I am not alone, but it can be frustrating to experience that constantly. It seems to go a little better when I meditate on the intention, but I remain prone to flapping about and gesturing obscurely after setting it. Ah, well…more practice is necessary.

While contemplating the pursuit of more mindfulness, I have been dealing with the tiny new psychiatric resource. She’s a nice lady who I fear may break if I speak too loudly, but I have no reason to doubt her competence. She’s not my primary therapist and I only need her to do medication management, but there’s a bit of wholistic effort that needs to occur. She has to see the whole picture of who I am and how I am so that she understands precisely how I should be medicated.

I’ve been on the same anti-depressants for a while now, but for the past few months, I’ve had some breakthrough low-level depression. So, we’re dealing with that. I also let her know, as I have with my other medical professionals and my therapist, that I don’t feel “sharp” these days. I forget things more often than ever, which is unnerving (especially since I have less to remember than ever). I told her about a similar conversation with my neurologist, wherein I explained how frightened I am that I am beginning to slowly move into the beginning of dementia as my mother did. This is about the same age my mother started to decline very subtly until there was no way to treat it or compensate for it. I don’t want that to happen to me.

Somewhere in the midst of discussing the lack of “sharpness” and the memory issues, the nice lady started talking about things like ADHD. My ears pricked up because I had talked with the previous psychiatric resource about that. After a fairly long talk about the possibility that I had symptoms of ADHD that could be causing memory problems and the mild brain fogginess I am experiencing.

So, the first suggestion was a Ritalin-like drug, which I declined almost immediately because it is a stimulant. I don’t need the possibility of more addiction triggers, so thanks but no thanks. Next, she suggested a non-prescription “medical supplement” called LumaTC that I might want to try. I looked it up and found nothing scary about it. I consulted with my neurologist, who likewise said there didn’t seem to be anything contained in the ingredients that would cause me any problems, so…off I went to order it. It’s not covered by insurance, of course, but I paid for it and they sent it immediately. I started taking it as soon as it arrived, but it hasn’t been a full week since I began so I am reserving judgment. It has a lot of B-vitamins in it, and that can’t be all bad.

So, the next step was to have an ADHD test, which she ordered. The office called to schedule, and it was supposed to happen this past Monday. I arrived at the designated time and waited. The front desk lady said, “Before you pay, let me just make sure of some things…how old are you?” I said 60, almost 61, but wondered why she was asking since my records indicate date of birth and so on. She then called another staff member, who rather officiously joined her at the front desk. They bumped their foreheads together on the computer monitor. Hmmm.

After a couple of minutes, the dynamic duo called me back to the desk to explain that I was actually too old to take the ADHD test; it’s more commonly given to people under 60. The officious one said it might not be accurate if they gave it to someone over 59 years, 12 months, and 31 days. WTF???

They checked with the little one who had ordered the test, and then asked me if I remember her mentioning anything about the age limit. I wanted to laugh when they asked if I remembered – that’s why I’m wanting to have the test because I cannot remember shit. CRS = Can’t Remember Shit, and I have it. I said I vaguely remembered that age had been mentioned but I thought that was about whether or not the insurance was going to pay for it or not.

More bumping of heads and muttering, then they decided it was essentially futile to perform the test. I was crushed. It must have shown because I don’t have a poke face AT ALL. The less officious of the two looked at me intently, and when our eyes met, I spontaneously coughed out, “I just want to know what’s wrong with me.”

That was a surprise. I did not realize how “wrong” I feel these days. That kind of sucks, but no wonder I am having breakthrough depression. I wrote a note to my primary therapist about it, and we’ll talk about it. I have another appointment with the tiny one in two weeks, so I am sure we’ll talk about it as well.

My normally delayed processing has revealed some feelings of aggravation concerning this abortive transaction on Monday. Do these folks not talk to each other? Do they not read the patient notes when there’s a test with exceptions they will perform, maybe to be sure the patient in question can be tested? Again…WTF? The crushing feeling didn’t last all that long, but it’s there in slightly reduced intensity. I’m glad it’s low-level but still annoying that I have it at all.

So, I have returned to circling the landing strip for a bit longer. I’m wondering if my feelings of “wrongness” will ever go away, which I can handle (since I’ve been handling it most of my life). Maybe this is just a part of me figuring out more about who I am. The imposter syndrome makes me wonder if I really have been faking competence my whole life and I’m simply losing the energy to keep up the con any longer. Ugh. I am going to have to figure this stuff out myself, as usual.

There is more to say, but I’m tired now. I’m sure it’s my age. The poppies…the poppies will put me to sleep. The poppies at this point are snack foods and maybe lunch, so off I go into the wild yonder that is my kitchen. I will take a big stick or a machete (which I will have to acquire somehow), just in case I need to clear a path.

Lowering my expectation of the aging process – I just want to remember what to do when I feel the urge to go to the bathroom.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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