Individuation is the process by which an individual becomes distinct. Individuation distinguishes you from everybody else.


A very good friend and I chatted recently about the  reality neither of us can tolerate noisy places.

Our list of grievances went on to include the seeming overnight loss of hearing and neck dropping.

We are sort of sick of information as a whole; “I don’t care about more apps!  I love my flip phone!  You say people no longer email but text instead?  TOO FUCKING BAD…my fingers don’t move the way yours do. I can’t swipe using my one good hand while holding the phone.”

“We’ve got to keep up” she says.

“What happens if we don’t?  I say.

There’s a palpable stigma if we don’t know how to use Pinterest or have a reasonably current version of smartphone

Let alone can’t hear if someone is walking away from us while speaking.

Or our nervous system frays beyond repair during happy hour joviality.

In my case, with the onset of MS when I was 40 the process of individuation (meaning re-claiming attributes, preferences, behaviors and beliefs personal to us outside the cultural co-dependency) has left me thrilled with the life I live complete with boatloads of silence, not driving a car which eliminates incessant errand doing, a VERY few grand and good friends; some of whom I see regularly and some not.

I haven’t the energy to go out much and am really very fine cogitating in my Lazy Boy lift chair in the sun.

How can petting a dog be so sublime?

Because I don’t really care (or have the energy to)  I’ve pretty much given up any shame I carried about not being a very participatory neighbor in my community.

I vote for myself most often when it comes to deciding what to do and how to be.  I’ll always keep the grace factor alive as well as exhibiting a connective friendliness steeped in civility.

I feel much more in-sync with my own soul and therefore others having turned in my “COOL NO MATTER WHAT COST” CARD.

Attending to individuation without a circumstance to blame unusual behavior (culturally outside the norm) on is darn nigh impossible it seems.

Illness and age facilitate becoming ones’ self nicely.

Eccentricity is somehow interesting where general aging is cutting too close to the bone for most and we turn away from the inevitable.

I keep a list of disability perks.  It helps me feel I’m still interesting.



3 Responses to “Individuation”

  1. Dennis Chamberlain on December 8th, 2016

    I suppose having a little computer in one’s hand that is 800 times more powerful than the one that guided Neil Armstrong in the moon landing is a bit, well, humorous, not to mention excessive. I just now found that fact on using my, um, iPhone 6 which is two years old and approaching obsolescence. So reading your column makes me think that perhaps you can knock some sense into us! Then again, it’s probably too late.

    But my favorite sentence from above is “illness and age facilitate becoming one’s self nicely”. Another little gem for us – your lucky readers.

  2. Alexandra Eldridge on December 8th, 2016

    A beautiful distillation. xxxA

  3. Joe on December 8th, 2016

    Hmm? How do you know I still have a FLIP PHONE? My kids are always breaking my chops over it. I text. I call. That’s all I want.

    AND going deaf so crowd noises (which I avoid religiously – crowds not just noise). gets damped right down.

    All my best.


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