I’m too Old for this #@*&%!

It’s darkly amusing to me that the more screwed up my clients feel, the more likely they are to reference their chronological age. They say the number with a mix of bewilderment and disgust. I hear the Talking Heads singing, “…and you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

Most of us feel a certain amount of pressure to achieve and become and to determine just where the hell our soul mate is, all while racing against…well, not the clock…a calendar?

As a culture, we have some unwritten but seemingly agreed upon ages by which a person is supposed to “have their shit together.” I’m perplexed as to why so many of us are trying to “figure my shit out” and “deal with my shit.” What I do know is that as long as it’s “shit” and not a set of specific goals, we’re just fooling ourselves about anything changing.

Attaching meaning to age in our society is progressively nonsensical:

At 25, we’ll compliment you for being impressive for such a young person, yet at 30 we expect that you have some sort of plan for how the rest of your life will unfold. At 35, we’ll say that you should know better but there’s still plenty of time to get it right following your first divorce.

At 40 we start pretending that we’re not middle aged. (Um, do you expect to live to 100?)

At 45 you get to start new adventures while increasingly aware of the messes you’ve made to this point and at 50 you realize you’ve just checked out someone young enough to be your son or daughter. <shudder>

Then maybe you’re 60 and you’re wondering why you’re a member in good standing of AARP but still don’t feel like you know what you’re doing.

Most of us feel like little kids in overgrown bodies. That’s why we hide our true selves and make jokes about “adulting.” One of the folks I most enjoyed working with over the years would often remind me, “Jim, I’m sixty-two-fucking-years old. I don’t have time to mess around.” To which I’d say, “Great! So we can start making some changes then?”

Her response? “Don’t rush me! I need some time to figure my shit out!”

Break it down. Make it real. Whatever you have yet to achieve or become, as long as you’re vertical and breathing…congratulations! You’ve got another chance to get it right.

“It’s not over ’til we get it right.” – Starship

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.