Do you ever wonder why older people go on and on about their ailments? I'll tell you why: Because it is new to them. They've never been through being old before. Everyone you know is experiencing every new phase of their life for the first time and you know what? EVERYONE IS FAKING IT. Anyone who tells you otherwise is kidding themselves.
There are things you have done hundreds of times in your life by this point. There are things you've done so many times that you are jaded and cynical about them. I'm not talking about those things. I'm talking about the really big, important things. I'm talking about LIFE CHANGING things. I'm talking about the fundamental, transitional phases that we all go through. When we watch others go through these times we often think "Why are they talking about that SO MUCH?" or "Why is he/she so WHINY?" Well, guess what? It's because to them it's all brand-spanking new.
- Your granny is droning on and on about her hip replacement. *Cool! She's never had THAT operation before!
- Your neighbor is talking on and on at length about losing his job. *New experience Alert! He can't believe this would happen to HIM.
- That lady at the coffee shop is talking way too loudly about her hemorrhoids. *Who actually believes they will ever get those? Until you pop out a couple of kids. Then tell me you won't want some sympathy.
- Your friend is repeating every gory detail of her traumatizing birth story again and again. *Talk about life changing! Nothing ever puts you in a state of “This REALLY happens to people???” quite like child birth.
- Your elderly parents are telling you every week about another funeral they have been to and you can't take it anymore. *Guess what? If you're lucky to live long enough, someday you'll get to go to all your friends' funerals too. Let that sink in for a minute.
Culturally we seem to have this expectation that our parents/elders should just suck it up because they know what the hell they are doing. I'm sure my kids think I know what I am doing. Well guess what? *Joke's on them!* I have no friggin' clue! (Sorry kids that you had to find out this way). On the inside we are all still awkward teenagers making our way through every "grown up" phase of our lives. Every part is new for every last one of us.
The next time you go through something big and new, take a moment to pause and think. I bet you’ll need someone to listen to your new experience. Before you know it, you'll be incredulously going on and on about this crazy new part of your life. Unbeknownst to you, the people around you will probably be thinking "Holy Cow! Can this person shut UP already?"
So the next time you find yourself rolling your eyes at Grandma's overly detailed sciatica story, take a breath and remember that on the inside she is still a freaked out 16 year old and can't believe that this stuff really happens to people. If you're fortunate, someday you can vent about your new hip and heart valve to the youngin's too. Just hope that they don't roll their eyes and walk away.
** And on that note, I'd like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to my entire family and a good portion of my friends for that time that I blathered on for over a year about the wonders of human breast milk. It was a new thing. I'm wiser now.
© 2016 Krysta Bernhardt. All Rights Reserved.