October Blues, You Are Not Welcome Here.  

In September I had my 78th birthday.   Do I feel old, Absolutely.    I believe that for the first time I can no longer do or am capable of what I used to do.    The aging body needs lots of care and paying attention to.    You may think that if you keep on pushing you will beat age but in time we all must face that we are not permanent, the body changes, the brain changes, we fade physically and mentally. 
      The hearing went first almost 10 years ago.    I have dealt with the frustration of hearing aides and asking people to repeat themselves for long enough now that most of my friends and family know and try to speak directly to me or at least loud enough that I can hear them.    The saddest thing about hearing loss, for me, was that the high scale of childrens’ voices is the most difficult to hear and I have several grandchildren.    It is hard for little ones to understand when I say I can’t hear you and also hard for them to speak louder.   So, that became for me the first step in feeling distanced from my family 
   The loss of vision was more gradual.   Very slowly objects become more and more vague.  New prescription glasses every year and finally catarac removal this past month.    That was at least very encouraging as I can see now better than prior to the surgery.    What I am very aware of, however, is how my defenses are very low as a result of the many health related issues and the feelings of no control whatsoever over some of them.  
I feel depressed more often, sadness more deeply and my ability to withstand criticism has decreased.     Recently on a blog I read and occasionally respond to I was sent a post that said “you are not welcome here”.   This was a political blog so some harsh words are expected.   I knew at that point, however, that for me I was not willing to be dumped on and so opted out of the blog.    Years ago I would have come out fighting. 
I often think of death and that at 78 years I will be fortunate to be here 10 years from now.   So, everything matters more.   My good relationships, my bad relationships, what I say, what I do.   I like all people would love to be liked by all all of the time.  Knowing that is not possible gives one the courage to stand up for what you believe, stand up for yourself in interpersonal relationships.   The down side of standing up for yourself, especially in relationships of import is that you risk that those persons involved will no longer like you.     At a younger age I was willing to take that risk.    Now I find I shy away from conflict where I know that if I say what I feel or believe I will end up without a friend or ally.   
I recently reprimanded a grandchild for being rude to me.    Now she is angry and hurt.    I am sad and truly do not like have a grandchild be rude to me and not like me for reprimanding her.   Even at this age, however, I believe I have to demand respect by setting a boundary for how I am to be treated.     
Human beings are fragile and even more as we age.    I believe that sending a message of “you are not welcome here” even in a political post is cruel .   If the “you are not welcome here” is exhibited in behavior, rudeness, body language then I have to take more time and thought to whether or not I will set those boundaries.  Is it worth it?    
My answer is still yes, although I am less likely to “stand up” for my beliefs. 
      

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