Jottings: The Joys of Invisibility
I was sitting musing to myself, trying to keep out of my wife's way, in case I get a job. This is my normal behavior, as a rapidly aging, retired geriatric male. I was reflecting on my life and my need to conform, be good, nice, polite, impressive, etc.
I realize that it was because I needed to find my place in the world and learn to be successful. I was young, busy, involved, responsible and felt the need to impress everyone! Now, responsibilities have narrowed to not annoying my children, or getting in trouble with the police. My family no longer depend on me, they have their own families and are naturally preoccupied with their own affairs.
I have arrived at the age when I have earned the right to be paid for doing nothing, commonly known as retirement. Responsibilities kept my nose to the grindstone, including doing jobs that I did not like for, oh so many reasons. It was the period of my life when responsibility at home and work dominated my existence. Then, you blink, and 40 years have passed.
Suddenly I am not having to offer solutions to problems or being asked any potentially life changing questions by my kids, who are now busy making their own major decisions. I have no work life, and so, no one wants my opinion, I am now invisible. Brilliant! I'm retired, I am not busy unless I want to be. I do not have to interact with anybody unless I want to. All of this freedom of choice! Obviously to my wife I am not invisible no matter how hard I try. However, to the world in general I am.
We do our best in life, and fortune decides the outcome. Now our children shoulder that burden of family bills, expectations calamities! I look at my kids and see that long-suffering expression that I used to see in the mirror. If they ask me for advice, I know that they already know the answer and I am there just to confirm it.
Our generation, born in the 1940s, lived in a different world, that formed who we are. Fast forward to today and the world has been transformed beyond what the wildest science fiction authors could have imagined. I am not weeping for the past. I believe that we have progressed into a technological age that our children and grandchildren can deal with much better than I can and that's all right. My livelihood does not depend on it. My comfort zone "speed of living" would drive the kids of today crazy. Technology has revolutionized our lives. The opportunity to have free uninterrupted time, ever, has imploded. We are all "connected" 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So many of my generation try to advise their children how to fulfill their parental role based on their own experience. We fail to realize that the environment today is totally different. Our children are dealing with a world that is infinitely more complex than ours was, as indeed was ours compared with our parents. We know it as the generation gap.
We are not required to make pronouncements where we "feel" that their future would be better if they……….. So if like me you remain invisible, observing the world deal with your family as it will. We love our kids unconditionally, knowing that they will ultimately pay the price for their decisions. They will have to bear the consequences of their choices long after we are gone. I love my family and want everything good that is possible in the world for them but understand that they will have to live with the results for their decisions, not me. I will, I hope, be remembered by my grandkids, who will no doubt remember the embarrassing things that I did. I tend to be good with that, and whatever it was I am sure that I did it. What makes my joy of being invisible possible? I have complete faith in my children's ability to navigate life's challenge's, and they will, better than me. I love being invisible.
Roy Houston is a member of the Jottings Group at The Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.
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