Recently many of my senses have changed; smelling things more acutely, seeing things that might have escaped my notice in the past. I feel for others more than ever before too, and I have never been one to lack empathy.
One of the things I've noticed is how so many, especially men, age fifty and older seem to rapidly deteriorate physically and mentally. Getting old before their time, they don't seem to notice or care. Living their lives on autopilot, they go through the motions as though they have nothing much to live for.
Putting in time before the big last disappointment.
Don't get me wrong, I know people who defy this pattern and these wonderful people are vital and fun; some of them are transsexual, but I digress.
It may not be a coincidence that it was around the age of fifty-five that my careful examination of who I was and now who I have revealed began. Looking back, I might have become that sort of slowly dying person.
Going through the motions doesn't seem so terribly dangerous or awful when you are young. But it can be fatal for those without a reason to break free of it. It scares me so much to imagine myself like that; some sort of zombie apocalypse.
Almost a year ago, someone who I thought loved me dearly, asked me to please just go through the motions for a while longer:
"You won't be around so much longer.
Please, just pretend to be a man for the sake of all of those who love you."
When I was a child, not so long after World War II and the Korean War, there was a biblical quote that would get tossed out:
Greater love has no one than this,
that someone lay down his life for his friends.
It was just this past weekend that yet another 'loved one' asked the very same thing of me...
Just go through the motions for a while longer, please.
It was like someone trying to reach into my chest and rip out my heart. Would it really be so much better if I had died?
Not for me.
I will not go through the motions to make others comfortable ever again.