This is not about me, although one day it could be from what I’ve witnessed.
Have you noticed how after a certain age, or more likely as my friend Anne-Françoise likes to say in jest, “un age certain,” (you get the not so subtle nuance I’m sure) one becomes invisible?
From my experience it tends to be mostly equal opportunity discrimination, though sometimes it skews slightly more toward women.
Very close to me I have seen someone almost ignored for, in this case, his opinions. Even his friends and family rarely engage him in conversation. Let me add that he is a brilliantly intelligent, funny, creative man who simply happens to be old. His mind is as alert as it was when he was young.
I don’t know where I’m going with this really, other than to say how terribly sad I’m finding the situation. Did everyone forget that his oral history — this is a man who lived through WWII in occupied France — could include fascinating first person experiences from his past and perhaps sage observations on the craziness that seems to surround our present?
All it would take is engagement: sitting down, asking a question, making a neglected individual feel respected, worth our time. Wouldn’t it be amazing (I’m beginning to hate that word, but it seems apt here) to think we might learn something? If only we could disengage from our tech feeds, our self absorption our busy-ness.
I always fear too that we could regret ignoring, writing off someone who could be physically fragile, but mentally agile. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we realized this too late?
Two distinct situations set me off on this subject:
First the less depressing, and probably for some of you this mildly controversial article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/seeking-to-be-visible-more-americans-65-and-older-are-getting-plastic-surgery/2016/11/01/e0c04ca4-9bad-11e6-9980-50913d68eacb_story.html
And second, in October, three friends of ours died, two on the same day. All men.
As I said, I don’t know where I’m going with this conversation beyond wondering whether I am sufficiently patient, considerate and kind. I never want to look back on my life one day when it would be too late to rectify any unintentional lack of compassion or understanding, particularly toward someone I love.