The Three I’s

17 Feb

This summer I will turn sixty. It won’t be too life-changing, as I’ve settled comfortably into middle age. I love my job, my kids are nearby, and I’ve worked hard to make my lifelong dream of becoming a published author come true. I’m the first to admit that I’m one of the lucky ones.

They (and who the hell are they, anyway?) say that “sixty is the new forty,” but I’m not the only one of my women friends who would beg to differ on this. Actually, most of us have never stopped feeing like teenagers in our hearts and minds, but whether or not we care to admit it, our bodies are telling us another story as we get out of bed each morning.

Aside from the sore knees and sagging bottoms, women my age also begin to face other non-health related issues as we head into our twilight years. I like to refer to them as three I’s: invisibility, irrelevancy, and inferiority.

Let’s start with invisibility. If you’re a woman my age, you’ve undoubtedly felt invisible at one time or another. I usually experience invisibility when I’m standing in line, waiting to order my coffee/salad/donut, and the counter person, (usually a cute college guy) has been bantering flirtatiously with a young, dewy-eyed coed ahead of me in line about some party/college course/road trip for close to five minutes. He does not care one whit that I need my caffeine/ roughage/sugar fix before I collapse onto the floor. Yes, it’s true that I’m becoming more impatient as I age, (this is not unreasonable considering my time here on earth is limited) but to not even acknowledge my presence with an “I’ll be with you in a minute,” is dehumanizing and unfair. Sure, my eyelids and jowls sag, but loose skin has not affected my own extraordinary bantering ability that I’ve honed to perfection over the years. It’s not fair—I want to banter, too!

In addition to being invisible, Irrelevancy has now profoundly entered my life. No matter what I’ve accomplished over the past six decades, I’m pretty much irrelevant now. I get that no one cares that I know all the lyrics to every James Taylor/Simon and Garfunkle/Beatles song ever written, but it’s difficult to face I’m just an old boomer who has ruined the planet (seriously sorry about this) and can’t remember anything past 1989 when I had my first kid. While my adult children still adore me, they have the habit of schooling me at every turn. I can hardly utter a sentence without an exclamation of “MOM! You can’t say that!” or “Careful…” While I truly appreciate their constant and pertinent education on social issues, once in a while I’d really love to sound like I know what I’m talking about.

As of late, I also think I’m regressing somewhat, and find myself experiencing some intense feelings of Inferiority. Whereas in junior high it was an overload of hormones surging through my body that caused me to feel inferior, I now think that it’s the recent lack of hormones that has contributed to the questioning of my fragile self-worth. If I’m lucky, I only have a good thirty years or so left on this planet, and I want to enjoy every last minute. Watching my body change so drastically exacerbates those constant feelings of not being good enough, and this sucks the joy right out of my life. I want to be confident, sassy and interesting, but society is not letting me.

Wah!

Okay, that’s enough, Jess—you’re being a big baby. It’s time to grow up and stop giving a shit about what you perceive others think (or don’t think) about you. It’s time to celebrate your middle-aged self; appreciate your life experiences, and be grateful for that still-functioning body.

It’s time for a sixtieth birthday road trip. Middle-aged women need only apply.

Wine and snacks included.

11 Responses to “The Three I’s”

  1. Betty Pierskalla February 17, 2022 at 12:18 pm #

    You are none of three i’s. You are the opposite of aging! Keep on keeping om my dear. Lots of years ahead!

  2. Elisabeth February 17, 2022 at 2:51 pm #

    I’m laughing out loud! Love you.

  3. Corrine February 17, 2022 at 4:47 pm #

    Love this…oh, and I want to apply for the road trip!

    Sent from Corrine’s iPhone

    >

  4. Deborah Mele February 17, 2022 at 10:48 pm #

    When I wake up (or later in the day) I feel so blessed to be alive. My brother who was 18 months younger, died of a blot clot after surgery. My aunt, the one relative I was close to, was murdered in her early fifties. When I see my hair turning gray, I am thankful,
    When I look at my face, every wrinkle is precious. My little sister, taller than me, has cancer. I wish I could trade some of my years so she could have more. She hasn’t told us what king of cancer she has. We will find out February 27th. I pray for her recovery.

  5. Cindy Billings February 19, 2022 at 3:46 pm #

    Wonderful post, Jessica- 60 isn’t that bad, really!

  6. r.Douglas February 19, 2022 at 5:53 pm #

    Attitude and confidence….lead with ’em. Make those youngins, hell make everybody reckon with you. Luck with that…and try some lofi music mixes… nice post

  7. Melanie Jacobson February 21, 2022 at 5:30 pm #

    I’m with you, sister! Teens – the ones I live with – have a special way of dotting those i’s for us so they feel like gut punches. Right for the jugular, so as not to be relegated to the 3 i’s themselves, I suppose. God love ’em.

  8. Janinr February 25, 2022 at 12:33 pm #

    Love this Jesse 💝

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