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Have I Become a Cry Baby in My Senior Years?

By Tamera Layton Grieshaber September 01, 2023 Mindset

Today I cry at the drop of a hat. I never used to be a walking water works, but something has triggered this faucet and I cannot seem to control it.

I first noticed my unexpected tears at a performance of Ghost, the musical play, that I attended early this summer. There I sat in my audience cocoon watching a play I’d never seen. I had also never seen the Patrick Swayze movie. Crying so hard at times, I was certain the people around me were as embarrassed as I was. I was crying at a musical?

I NEVER cry. Honestly. I was one of those people who just did not shed tears. I felt sad many, many times over my 70+ years. I might get a lump in my throat during a sad movie or stressful time but no eye leakage. Some tears dropped when I initially learned of the death of someone close but to actually sit and weep? No, it just did not happen.

Growing Up, Tears Were a Sign of Weakness

I grew up believing that tears were a sign of weakness. Men did not cry, and I was as strong as any man. Ergo, I did not cry. I was Kathryn Hepburn and John Wayne rolled into one dry-eyed lady.

I remember girls sobbing in the restrooms at high school because some boy did not ask them to the prom. I had friends who would cry from frustration when they did not do well on exams. And there were those who cried at every movie, song or book that evoked some emotion.

There were the manipulative criers who used tears to get what they wanted. I exclude little children; though my theory is that crying worked so well with some kids, they never outgrew the habit.

Some people cried at all sad triggers, others included tears of joy. Just swallowing the lump in my throat, I moved on. Feeling great empathy with others who cried for whatever reason, no tears came from me unless I was chopping an onion.

Emotional Tears Now Flow So Easily

So why am I suddenly the Niagara Falls of emotions? Weeping with songs and movies from my past is not unusual. I did not cry publicly at my daughter’s wedding but shed many tears in private. Tears of joy for her future. Tears of sadness for the times that slipped away.

This week, back at the theatre, my tears flowed through most of Mama Mia! When I saw the movie in 2009, I came out a Dancing Queen. This time, sobbing with Dancing Queen, I went home, watched the movie and blubbered again!

Strength Expresses Itself in Deep and Emotional Ways

This is a new phase of my life. Single for six years after a long marriage, I am creating a new life. Apparently, that new life is much more emotional than my old life. Not only do I feel the sadness and happiness of the moment, I am expressing those feelings in surprising ways.

I am still as strong, emotionally, as any man or woman. But for some reason, not afraid to express deep emotions. There was no conscious decision to become a weeper; it just happened. I cry alone. I cry with my daughter. I cry with friends. Sometimes it’s cleansing. Sometimes it’s a shroud I carry. But the tears are real. It is me. And I’m ok with it.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

When do you cry? How does it make you feel? Are you embarrassed by your tears? Do your tears sometimes catch you by surprise? Please join the conversation.

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Judith Louise

In 2019 our home and property was destroyed by bush fire. Neither my husband or I cried. Instead and almost instantly, we had the determination to rebuild our life as fast as we could. Since moving into our newly built home, both of us have on occasions become teary when we reach for something and discover it was destroyed in the fire. The two of us had escaped the fire together. Immediately becoming aware that all would be destroyed. The fire hit the home on three fronts. Almost weekly, the loss of clothing, tools and utensils seems to be the issue which causes frustration and watery eyes.

Gerry

I’m a man who never cried. I learned to cry when my wife died, and now every little sad thing can make me cry, especially witnessing the grief of other people.

Beth

i love a good cry. it’s cleansing. refreshing, even. sadly (pun intended), i haven’t been able to cry when i’ve felt i needed to at times. i believe these feelings need to be cleared out. mostly when i’m relaxed (and in a space where i can cry unbridled by societal ‘norms’ — and i’m pretty private about crying, so …) i’ve cried when i was really tired over the credits for a Flinstones cartoon (i kid u not) – i was about 28 and working long outdoor hours in a very physical job, often nights. and i slept so good after.

so now? Modern Family episodes, a photo that hangs on my wall. whatever. yeah, i cry. in public? at a Chris Isaak concert with my memories, but it was an outside amphitheatre at night (i cry at beauty).

i welcome the ‘house-cleaning’ — i’m well aware that i’m not necessarily crying over what’s in front of me, so if i’m home, yeah, i clean house. and i sleep well for taking the time to clear things out emotionally, i think.

i don’t know how it all ‘works’, but there’re my impressions of how things are w/me.

Coleen

Hi I too have found the same thing as we age maybe it sets us free….but also we are more vulnerable then we were younger.

Cheryl N.

I teared up reading this article because I can so relate. I am usually pretty stoic, oldest child, go-to best friend, problem solver for many, fair but tough, no-nonsense boss, etc. etc. However in my later years, I am feeling it is OK to show my emotions through a few tears without feeling like a weakling. This was an excellent article, thank you!

The Author

Tamera Grieshaber is a retired gallery owner, photography enthusiast, addicted reader, mother, traveler of life and the world, and a lifelong learner. Join her meandering mind at http://MeanderingMind.us

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