I am not tired of being me, of being over 60, of being where I am in life. I am not tired of how I look (though, of course, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but that has been true of me for the last 40 years, really). I would not trade where I am now for youth.
What I am tired of is the condescension and patronizing attitudes of younger people, particularly younger men. My almost-MRU has put in a new "wellness center", including a state-of-the-art gym. With a Pool!. I have been using it. They have a "wellness portal" that we are encouraged to use, with the usual information, misinformation and buzz words for fitness. I did sports in high school and college, when it wasn't easy for girls/women. Up until an injury, I ran 10-30 miles a week. I was a lifeguard, and did local Master's Swimming (but not well). When I logged on to The Portal, I found my account tagged with a note:
Your personal data indicate that you are a high risk individual. We will need a doctor's clearance before you can use our facility.
WTF? What is the data? That I am old, and "slightly overweight for your height". (I hate BMI, because I am (slightly) muscular and have always been high, but that's another rant). Really? Fucking really?
There is a form to fill out for a health insurance co-payment reduction. It requires a doctors signature, and you guessed it, available through the Wellness Portal. I couldn't find the form online, the contact info was out of date, so I emailed the Wellness Portal Liason (I kidd thee not, that's the title). I explained that the only form was out of date (ie contact info), couldn't be read (a bad scan of a bad scan), and not particularly useful to give to my physician (too many irrelevant pages for her). The email I got back was awful. The email was full of implications that I couldn't use the website (everyone agrees its beautiful, but useless, kinda like the people who work there), that perhaps if I looked harder, or worked harder, it wouldn't be such a problem for me. Oh, and I should stop complaining and just use the damn form that they provide (which is buried in six layers of menus). All this said, of course, in the most business/polite language. If I spoke that way to students, I would be having a meeting with my chair and dean to answer a myriad of student complaints.
I am not in a good place to be told to work harder. I'm in the middle of challenging experiments (live large animals), and everybody, EVERYBODY in my group is exhausted. It's a new version of our model, we've learned a lot. This is the first day in about 10 that I've been able to sleep past 5:30 am. I (and others in the group) have come in to care for animals at 4:30a more than one day, and stayed till afternoon to work on the problems we're having. Let me add, though, that the group is incredible, working hard, and I am totally thankful for the marvelous people on this project. I'm not complaining about the work. It is my choice. But, I'm not in a good place to be told to work harder by anyone.
Older, not-glossy-magazine-pretty, women are invisible in our society. There are studies that show the intersection between age and gender (let alone race) is enough to sink course evaluations. The most frequent comment is that I am not sufficiently nurturing to be a good teacher. Indeed, I'm not nurturing. I'm pissed off and angry.