A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. “To live in regret and relief at the same time is a living paradox, just like what defines so many of us complicated types.” —Dr. Manju Day 41

2/29/20 41 days to 50


So a nice segue into today’s post is about a very irritating, to say the least, experience I had with calling a restaurant about a complaint.. Although they refunded the soup that they could not provide, generously paid for by my boyfriend as a loving gift, they did not get his permission before sending the order. So I called and complained. The guy at the other end accused me of having “White privilege”. That was the most ridiculous statement, given he had no idea what race I was over the phone and that I’m not White. He really shouldn’t have said that. “I’m NOT White!” I exclaimed. He had no idea about the intense racial-cultural processing and personal development in addition to clinical training I had as a psychologist! If only he knew. Then my boyfriend, who IS White and I discussed it. He was not happy with what happened, but admittedly, we do differ in perspective as to whether White privilege is an accusation or simply a fact in America. White America. Eminem. I love him. I love the song White America. Breaking taboo topics by one who owns his White privilege. Kudos to my friend Josephine who posted a pic of Eminem on her facebook page today! Okay enough of the digression related to Eminem.

Admittedly, I have hesitated to bring up and elaborate on such controversial and deep thoughts about race on my blog. But I do not believe in a manufactured polyanna presentation. Race matters. Race and its relationship with aging in America matter. Turning 50 is a real experience, life is not polyanna upon honest expression and dialogue. So, at (almost) 50, I see the transcending taboo topic of race and not seeing Whiteness as a race, dissipating. I appreciate that. I don’t appreciate being told that I have White privillege by a stranger over the phone as a South Asian woman, who has been invalidated by my race since birth in many ways, though. What an odd experience. I told the manager that I wanted to show up at the restaurant and tell the guy who told me that I have White privilege say the same to my face on video. As a manager, he knew that would open up a can of worms he would regret at his restaurant, deesclatated my fury by saying he would take the guy aside and talk to him. Had I had more energy, I would have probably gone there and fulfilled my wish anyway. Perhaps being almost 50 is having me guard my anger and save my resources even more. Wise? Cowardly? I don’t know.

Today a facebook friend, male and Nepalese, married with a child, posted a NY TImes article that read: Unmarried, Happily Ever After..https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/15/fashion/weddings/unmarried-happily-ever-after.html?fbclid=IwAR2H0O5KcTDKWfWKrRcPJvGgWhksSAoZT4–1mWz1NBvHQ8pvua55JLLV5E

Okay so I am in a stealth relationship, my boyfriend and I choose not to advertise our relationship for many reasons that work for the both of us. So I am not exactly single. But I am definitely unmarried, and we talk about simply being together without marriage, marriage, cohabitating, living separately but in close proximity, many options. It’s nice to have options. I am thinking, I wonder what it would have been like to be naturally more traditional as a woman and done the marriage and kiddie thing? (I specifically identify that I am an INTJ preference based on the MBTI because that is the most rare type for women worldwide.) I wanted a child. Just one. It didn’t happen. And yes, I am still working through that. Not having children is my biggest regret and relief to date. It’s a feeling I can’t explain beyond that.

My 88 year old foley catheter patient told me she dated a nice man but they never married. At 88, able to ambulate with a rollater, catastrophic and intrusive thoughts of being buried alive in a coffin, having to feel she is a bother to others to change her foley bag leaves her wondering whether she should have married and had children? It was hard for her to find a compatible partner, however. Coming from a conventional Catholic family, she often reassures herself and explains to me she was never promiscuous, despite only citing one or two men she has dated. Will I be reassuring myself that I tried to fit the conventional heterocis standard with a modern twist, just as so many of my friends and family members have successfully done? Will I find myself explaining my life choices to a psychologist at a nursing home? I doubt it.

Upon reflection on romantic relationships from the past, the topic of goodbyes without closure comes to mind. Door slam? At times. Circumstantial without intent? Sure, that happened too. But I think goodbyes without closure can be particularly peculiar for those who need it, (J for judgment, as opposed to judgmental on the MBTI preference scale tend to need closure). “Beauty is truth, truth is beauty…all that you know, and all that you need to know on this Earth” says Bono, quoting the poet John Keats as I listen to Bono’s prelude to the song “Bad” in a band performance in Rome. Another tangent tonight. That is all I need to know? Do I find beauty in the uncommunicated words, sentiments and feelings in the clearly marked or undefined goodbyes without closure moments? I am not speaking about the lifelong process of grief through expected loss of a loved one, but an abrupt goodbye that did not feel like they took a natural course, per se. They too, have been major regrets and reliefs of my time. Yes, there is beauty in what was communicated through non communication. I love paradoxes, too. I am a living paradox, in fact. And I am more accepting of that as I approach 50 years old. Even if truth, an abstract concept that I personally believe is subjective, dynamic and multiple, not objective alone, my ability to create meaning out of those goodbyes without closure is Divine. Perhaps more on goodbyes without closure later. I am drawing a blank right now.

Good night.

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