(Note: Yes this is public but please be cool and don’t write shitty comments.)
When I was young I had some mental and emotional problems. Extreme anxiety as a child. I can only guess what it was from, looking so far back. At age 8 I was put into a mental hospital as an out-patient. Like regular school but many many white coated people. Because of that, I was teased and ridiculed as “crazy” for many years. I embraced it and believed it. It was only after a few decades I was able to laugh about it and see that others were far more “crazy” than I ever was. It probably helped me NOT get expelled from school when I was using drugs and alcohol. That past history of being crazy. I learned how cruel people can be with their bigotries. It made me look at others with more compassion. I saw racism and felt compassion and empathy for those who were victims of prejudice. I learned compassion and empathy for all those seen and treated as, “different”. I could and can relate to that name calling by some. A name means the name caller expects you to fit that NAME they call you weather it is about race, gender or religion. As an atheist I have been a victim of bigotry and also found myself arrogantly victimizing others for being Believers. Then the remembrance of childhood trauma kicks in and I laugh about the differences. Let it go and stop being an asshole about it (I hope).
It was only in recent years that I have seen how OLD people are treated differently. As something alien to others. It makes me remember how, when I was a child I felt contempt for the way “OLD” people looked and acted. So frail and weird looking. So WEAK. I laughed telling myself I would never become THAT way.
I became that way, surprising myself that I have lived THIS long of 65 years. There is often a sense of wonder about it: After all the stupid shit I did I am still alive!
At work I am seen I think with some contempt for how I cannot work hard as the others. I am a bit disgusting coughing and teetering about at times. I have to stop and catch my breath. My body has more pain than ever but I try to keep going. There are jokes about me. OLD guy jokes and I embrace it. I roll with it as I once rolled with and embraced that label of “crazy” in my youth. I refer to myself as “that old bastard” and it takes the bite out of any insults about my age. I have let my face hair grow and I look older than I probably look clean shaven. I once cared how I looked now I revel in NOT caring. Or maybe I LIKE this wild old guy look. Don’t come near! I will infect you with AGE! I have fun with this “old” label. When people want to throw their prejudice at you, roll with it and make a joke of it.
I sometimes think of how I looked at OLD people when I was a young person. I had a paper route and would enter old folks homes and they were different creatures from I. They smelled different. I wonder now if I am that way. I got this far and hope I smell old as a badge of MADE IT LONGER THAN I EXPECTED!
I remember how when I started working in the factory there were those OLD guys that seemed like they were going to fall over from age. I laugh now realizing… damn boy… YOU ARE OLDER THAN THEY WERE!
Remembering my shitty views of my elders when young makes me see myself better now. It makes me laugh more. Maybe it’s cosmic irony too.
On a dating site I have been on for whatever reasons some women have attacked me for being OLD. They tell me how ugly I am and I … feel good about it because I feel COMPASSION FOR THEM seeing their toxicity. The poison in them. A poison I hope they will lose some day or … never grow old as the person they felt such contempt for.