We all know the standard stages of grief:
I didn't know aging would be like that.
During the lead-up to one of my many naps last week it occurred to me that this is exactly what I've been going through. Each stage has been so obvious. (I must tell you that I am still in Stage 4.)
The denial stage for us baby boomers has kept the cosmetics industry in business. Think of the names of the products: Regenerist, Lifting Creme, New Skin, Wrinkle Resist, Hydrate, Age Defying... and the descriptions are even more enticing. For me, as previously discussed, it was Botox.
The anger about aging is expressed any number of ways, most frequently in the common complaints about "young folks today." All those inefficient employees in the service sector, the hairdos, the nose rings, whatever the current generation is up to. "Well, back in my day..." that sort of thing.
And bargaining. I just had an experience with that one, and it probably helped me to understand this process more than the others.
I decided I could open a business. Economic times being what they are, I thought I could go back to work for another five years or so, and did a great deal of research on the kind of thing that interests me. I looked at franchises, read books, subscribed to trade magazines, contacted all the right people. But thanks to Hurricane Ike, I had to take a time out and my momentum was stymied. And coming out of that experience, I looked around and f0und the country in a major economic downturn that screams at me to save my money. I can see I really don't have the energy to get up day after 16-hour day, as I know a new business demands. I believe now I was hoping to have the business regenerate the old me, if Botox didn't.
The depression stage has to be the worst. This is the one just prior to acceptance, when you just can't quite get there, but you know it's almost over. Gone are the days of believing that anything is possible, and the future stretched long, long years ahead. No, this is it. There is still the unknown of what lies ahead but it's hard to put a positive spin on any of that. I think it's why we're so entranced with our grandchildren.
I wonder what acceptance feels like. I still fight it, because when I think of acceptance I think of the hopeless faces in the nursing home I visited so often before my mother died, and I think of her. I remember how she fought to have her way in little things precisely because she was so powerless in the big things.
This is why we fight aging, we fight being dragged off the stage before we're done. Acceptance must be believing you're done. I can't yet imagine it except in the most dreadful way.