In the movie “Moonstruck,” the seasoned citizen grandfather says, “The old are not wanted and their opinions do not count... “
I never thought I’d believe that but, as age catches up with me, I suddenly discover that there are things I cannot do, that seemingly only yesterday were second nature and I begin to feel impotent and obsolete. I used to walk miles, at times wearing three-inch heels, and never felt tired or breathless. Not so anymore.
I loved giving and attending parties, and often had 40-50 people at one gathering, laughing and celebrating till all hours of the morning. We even had a visiting peacock that would show up on the deck, spread his tail as if on cue, and strut back and forth amongst our guests. I was like a butterfly, flitting from person to person, touching a shoulder here, laughing at a joke there, and never ever tiring... until now.
Surprisingly, the crowded room now becomes tedious. It’s not that I feel unwanted, its more a “been there done that” feeling and I just want to curl up in a corner and read a book or watch an old movie on TV.
I still enjoy talking about politics and religion, science and education, but that backup voice, the one with love and pride, not always agreeing but always encouraging, is no longer there. I realize now that my “bravado” was greatly dependent on my life partner’s presence. I guess I’m not as independent as I always thought myself to be.
Quiet times are also not the same. One of the reasons I’ve always felt a kinship with “Moonstruck’s” grandfather is his devotion to his five dogs. Jason and I spent loving weekends with our cats and outdoor animals. We discovered that all quadrupeds and birds loved to eat popcorn. We’d buy it by the car-load and spread it all over our yard and deck to encourage four-legged visitors. We had raccoons, possums, foxes, skunks and deer, along with geese and seagulls. Grandfather taught his dogs to howl at the moon. We taught our raccoons to ring our wind chimes when they arrived. We spent a great deal of together time just holding hands and enjoying our peaceable kingdom.
Being a lone seasoned citizen is not easy. Perhaps that’s what “Moonstruck’s” grandfather was expressing... the frustration of not having that one special person who could read him like a book and validate his existence.
Adrienne can be reached at AKL.firstname.lastname@example.org.