I have read about this happening. I have known other people it has happened to. I guess I always knew that it would happen to me one day. But when it does, it is devastating. I was crushed. OMG! I have been ma’am ed!
Recently I was going into a shop, intent on buying something inconsequential, when I was approached. What happened next changed me for the rest of my life. An attractive young man walked up to me, wide eyed and smiling. He said ”Can I help you ma’am?” Ma’am. Ma’am? MA’AM?
Evidently I have reached an age where I am no longer a ‘miss’ I am a ‘ma’am’. I know the young man was being respectful but it is difficult when that word hits your ears for the first time. I can no longer give credence to the image I have in my head of a sweet young thing. I have aged. I am old. Wait! I am so not there yet!
Okay, okay. Perhaps I’m being a little ridiculous. But women everywhere understand what it’s like to be greeted with that honorific for the first time. Yes, It is a sign of respect. But to the individual it is so much more. I guess I have reached the age when my mere presence is grounds for respectfulness. I still think of myself as a silly young woman when in reality I have reached Junior-Senior status.
When we are born we form an opinion of ourselves that is rudimentary. We eat, we sleep, we evacuate. There is no nice way to say we poop! It is the cycle of life. We are born, we live, we die. It is the living part that gets messy.
As we grow up our opinion of ourselves changes. We start to accept others’ opinions. We often give more weight to the opinion of strangers even though they do not know us. I have reached an age where I am able to dispense with a lot of the baggage that I grew up with. I look inwards for validation instead of outwards. And that doesn’t mean I don’t welcome the opinions of others. It just means that I don’t only rely on others to feel good about myself. I like who I am. Some days I am drop-dead gorgeous! I refuse to give credence to the reflection in a mirror when I’m in such a good mood!
Okay I have also noticed that I have slowed down a little bit. Part of that of course is because I have multiple sclerosis and I’m in a wheelchair. But yes I have to admit that perhaps part of that is because I am getting, cough, cough, cough, older.
We live in a world of fast cars, fast food and fast computes. Hurry up, faster, faster. Deadlines. Time is money, early bird catches the worm. Is it any wonder we seem to be programmed from infancy to see the world at 100 kms an hour?
I guess a little more rethinking has to be done as to my place in this world. My time here may be finite but I ain’t done yet! Maybe I’ll just slow down a wee bit.