acute awareness

Today was a long day. Ten hours of working on clients with no break. The body is angry with me. And, as you know, I’m self-employed, so I have only myself to blame.

This is a fairly new phenomenon – having my body reject the things it once did naturally – and I’m disappointed, sad, and scared. 

I have an older client with memory issues and confusion. Her daughter brings her to me every month for a haircut and a chat. Yesterday she was not in a good mood and was not treating her daughter kindly. As we talked, she said, “When I was the mama, I was more patient. Now that she’s the mama, she needs to be patient with me.” 

“I think she’s very patient, and I know she loves you very much.”

“What she doesn’t know is that I miss my words, and I wish she would understand that!”

“I understand that. It’s frustrating when your words used to work for you, and now they don’t.”

“I miss them. I miss being me.”

“I think she misses you and your words, too. I think it’s hard for both of you that things are changing. You still need to be patient with her. She still needs you.”

The conversation went on like that. This woman is amazing. Even on the hard days, she brings me such wisdom. She might not have all the words, but those she still grasps teach me so much. 

“It’s hard when you’re old. People used to listen, and you were important. Then, when you’re old, you’re invisible unless you make people uncomfortable. You talk and talk, hoping that someone will understand your new words.”

I know I’m half her age, but I get it. Aging is overwhelming. You look in the mirror and there’s a stranger there. You work ten hours, once your norm, and the pain is excruciating. You don’t attract the same attention, and it takes longer to recover from added responsibility. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s not really new, at least in the general sense. For me, personally, though…

Is this my new norm?