Part 1: Peripherality
I am of an age…as I may have mentioned before. Let’s continue calling it ‘middle-old’ age. Mid-old. Actually the last couple of years have been a passage into this mid-old place and, now, at the tail end of the passage, it is time to create the happy-list that will make this phase of life ever so cheerful, joyful, ‘golden,’ rewarding…yeah, right.
First come to terms with whom and where you are in your life. Maybe you already have but, if not, it is definitely time to do so.
I, for example, am a Peripheral Introvert.
Peripheral is a place most of us experience from time to time but as we age we move there permanently—further and further to the edge of everything. It’s natural; we do less in the workplace, with the planning and fixing of things, with the cooking, the money-making, and the looking-good. At family gatherings we’re the sweet or cranky or confused shadowy figures on the edge of the action. While the boisterous ‘youngsters’ are …well, boisterous… and busy… and solicitous when they remember…we happily (I hope) sneak around the periphery.
Don’t fight it. Use the time previously taken up with gatherings and events and parties and performances, things that now largely bore you to tears, to write a book, paint a picture, take a class, become a faux-foodie.
Peripherality feels bad initially, until you realize you have reached an age where you can damn well do as you please—well, except for the basic stuff of life: work and getting your prescriptions renewed and going to the grocery store and vacuuming once in awhile and and and…
If you do show up occasionally for family holidays you can gracefully retreat from the festivities when you really want to finish that latest killer novel; you can only eat turkey stuffing and no one will complain; you really can just ease into apparitional status—in attendance-kind-of. If you think about it a minute it is the best of all realities in which to exist—especially if you are bored to death with the same old conversations and routines and tastes and smells and, let’s face it, people.
Let me hasten to say right here that I love my family, each and every one, but en masse they just meld together into a noisy blob called family, and the interesting individuality of each is lost to me. HOWEVER what better time to drink just a little too much wine, annoy everyone by taking endless photos of them with their mouths full and then go post to your blog about how you really feel about holidays. So please continue inviting me to holiday events…even if I don’t show up. Remember, a chosen one of you will inherit my books.
Synonyms for peripheral are outlying and outer. The state of peripherality will feel better to you if you’ve always been most comfortable on the outer edge, outer circle, outside of the center (except when emboldened with alcohol and cigarettes—ah, those were the days of sociability and togetherness weren’t they?). Sometimes I’ve liked that place, sometimes not, but now that I am permanently ‘outside of the center’, I embrace it. Mostly.
That about covers peripheral doesn’t it? Did I convince you it is a desired condition?
I’ll write Part 2 about Introversion as soon as I AM ALONE AND CAN THINK.