Do the younger generations ignore the presence of their elders, or are we making ourselves unseeable to them?
A squeak to the right of the bell curve is a modest little dot. That’s me — the minuscule spec of a flawed perfectionist dangling her feet over a mid-life crisis. The date on my birth certificate pronounces me as a Baby Boomer, just barely. The end of a generational classification. Not the very end. I was born in February, not on December 31, 1964, at 11:59 p.m. Somewhere “out there” in the universe, an interesting person holds the honor of being the very last Boomer ever born. Not me. I am an average, run-of-the-mill Baby Boomer.
— Excerpt from Walking Old Roads — A Memoir of Kindness Rediscovered
I am a play-by-the-rules gal who does not strive to be the life of a party. I’m fine over here enjoying the entertainment provided by those who shine much louder than me. Performers need an audience, and I am happy to oblige. I’ve considered my life in the shadows of others to be my choice. As my generation peaks the hill and heads down the other side, I begin to question whether my choice to live in the comfortable peacefulness of quiet obscurity is good for me, or good for the generations that follow.
The pharmacy staff call her Miss Mary. “How are you today, Miss Mary, and what can we do for you?”
Their happiness to see her, and their sincerity to help her, is legit. They connect to this woman in a way foreign to me. I tend to stay in my solitary bubble, avoiding eye contact and conversation unless necessary.
Miss Mary begins joking with them about her aches and pains, and they tell her she is due for some vaccinations. She pretends to scold the pharmacist for experiencing too much enjoyment from the task of sticking her with needles. Everyone behind the counter is smiling and laughing as they enjoy a moment of fun together.
Once the business of medication and vaccines is complete, they say their goodbyes, and Miss Mary and I head to the checkout. I love how everyone at this little pharmacy looks out for my mom. I use the same pharmacy, but they don’t know me unless I’m with Miss Mary. I have not cultivated a relationship with them the way she has. I have not made myself visible to them like she has. I would…