This has not been the best week.

I passed out at home on Monday morning. I woke up enough when my face hit the floor to call B, my husband. The ER staff informed us my fainting and discomfort were due to having passed a kidney stone the size of a lemon pit. I know this because I peed it out while still at the hospital and got to take it home.

The fun continued on Tuesday. My doctor determined the cause of my chills, fever, nausea, and headache was a bladder infection. I returned and remained home, foggy-brained and bedridden for days.

The week’s low point came Friday afternoon. I felt well enough to shower, put on clean clothes, even take the elevator to my building’s main floor to check the mail. There was a white envelope, stamped “Card enclosed. Do not bend.” I hadn’t received any notice from my bank or credit card company. I saw it wasn’t that kind of card when I arrived back to my unit and opened the envelope. The card was an invitation to Join Now! and Get a FREE gift — a weekend tote! It had been sent by AARP.

That’s right. The American Association of Retired Persons. The organization that’s for people aged 50 and over. Fifty-years-old. Five zero. At 44, I’m still more pulling forty than pushing fifty. I was pissed. Halle Berry is 49 — pushing fifty! — and I bet she hasn’t been invited. People think of Halle and they think “hot” not “old”. Even JLo is older (46) and … hotter than me. That’s when things got complicated.

I had welcomed forty as the chance to start getting over never having been the “hot” girl. I was always (always) the smart girl; as a kid that marked me with a big ol’  loser “L” on my forehead and bull’s eye on my back. I was the funny girl, the nice girl, quiet, responsible, nervous, creative, artistic, resourceful, relentless. The list goes on and when I turned forty, I valued those qualities more. Who needed to be the hot girl? That invitation was a reminder that the answer was me.

I have achieved so much because I am smart, funny, responsible, creative, relentless. Those successes and my personal qualities are most valuable and won’t fade like “hotness”. And I know, I know, the people who can’t appreciate my inner amazingness are not worth my time. Who cares, right? That’s the thing: I realized I still do. Old = not hot = not relevant. That card from AARP was an invitation to be retired, decommissioned, taken out of the equation.

I didn’t realize what a complicated, knotty mess I’d find once I started exploring why I was so angry. It makes me angry that as women, even with all our fabulousness, there’s still the message that “not hot = not relevant”. It makes me mad that we women are always aware of how people see us and how that sometimes counts more than what’s inside. It makes me mad that all this junk still takes up space in my brain and makes me feel shallow and vain.

Here’s an invite from me to you, dear reader: Does old = not hot = not relevant? How does this equation affect you men out there? As always, comment (really), share, and thanks for reading.

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6 thoughts on “Decommissioned.

  1. Nancy,

    Please send me the names of those mutts who put the L on your lovely forehead and the target on your back and they will be summarily dealt with.
    You will always be hot to me.

    1. The list is long and I should be over all that, right? I will keep you in mind for future offenders! Thank you so much for being a loyal reader and friend.

  2. Ouch! For the kidney stone, thank goodness it came out .i sympathize on the UTI, not fun either. Hopefully you are back to yourself now.

    .not really understanding the old=not hot = not revelent thing will need to query Halle Berry about her feelings on receiving her AARP card. Even though I am of a certain age, I can remember being young like you.the old adage that age is relevant is very true! I also was one of the smart ones, never a hottie. Then again, I never put the work and time into trying for the body and look required , not that into it I think.when I qualified for AARP, I was excited that I would be getting some discounts and not paying full price for some things. My cheapness overrode any false vanity I may have secretly harbored.
    When I am out and about I will often see some woman ,my age or more, who looks great. Nice hair, makeup , the right clothes and jewelry , but while I can admire them, I know that’s not me, and no longer feel bad that I don’t have that look. I don’t think I would be comfortable in that skin.and probably no one would recognize me! Or they may wonder what’s up?
    At any rate, for me , getting older is A ok, I’ve outlived my mom by 13 years already and don’t mind the years keep on coming. Of course, I don’t hear, see or remember as well either – perhaps that helps! Pat W

    1. Your wisdom and wit is going to get you invited as a guest blogger. Better watch out! I am sooo with you on the discounts as “frugal” is one quality I forgot to note on my list. Love to you and Bob, my fellow cookie fiend.

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