The Optimist: Abdication

The Optimist: Abdication

When I see people put people down, being dismissive without understanding- it’s abdication in reverse.

The Optimist: Abdication

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For the record, I am not one of those going gently into the good night. Hell no, grace is reserved for the nuns at my old Convent.  They can glide towards wisdom and acceptance.  I plan the Battlefield kind of giving in. Death by passion.

Life is hard enough when the body decides it wants to look like the ‘tannie’ with the jam puffs at the church bazaar.  Words like ‘muffin’ no longer refer to food.  Which had me thinking of this abdication thing.  The releasing of power or responsibility.  The Queen of the Netherlands abdicated, the Queen of England pretends not to know what the word means.  Who is doing the right thing?

I choose not to abdicate.  Not as a Queen of a country, although I do have allusions of grandeur, possibly Queen of Drama? My dearest ‘un’s seem to think it’s time.  They no longer listen to my rantings, but have taken charge, silently but with those ‘smiles’ that would melt an iceberg.  Sell-by date smiles. Others in the industry think that anyone over a certain age no longer has a contribution to make — people around you make you feel small; I am not alone.

We tend to spend our lives trying to please others.  Work too hard, love too much and reach for those elusive stars in the hope of making a difference.  When I see people put people down, being dismissive without understanding- it’s abdication in reverse.  We are being abdicated, if that is possible.  Rather than thrust our talents into the arena, we allow the lions to eat us up.  Not until we are quite dead, but just chopped enough to skulk into a corner and stuff our last shreds of confidence into a back pocket.

My reunion last week was more than poignant.  Friends were trying to justify being at home moms, or defensive about broken marriages or businesses.  Some were in financial situations too terrifying to contemplate — and old age is so unsexy when you live in fear of not being able to afford it.  All brilliant people, but battered by life, asking for nothing but a bit of understanding.  What they neglected to mention was some had managed to raise normal and healthy children.  Had been the backbone of their partner’s business, always in the shadows but always there.  Successful. Surviving change is the biggest Noddy badge in my opinion.  But there was the sadness of giving up, of making one’s bed without the Egyptian cotton sheets.  Life and some pretty tough people had abdicated them before they had the chance to make the call.

I recommended music.  Pick a theme song, one that makes you feel brave and immortal.  Remember life is not measured by your eventual bank balance (although it helps) and the balls you broke.  As Elinor Roosevelt said ‘ No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’ Life is measured by the love you gave.  Maybe my body no longer likes me, my peers may go, love may put me on a desert island  – I am still performing, and Phil Collin’s keeps telling me that I will be in his heart.

They will have to drag me to the guillotine — not ready for a haircut or abdication.

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