Been thinking about “age” lately. And just yesterday, I read Jess’ post that her mother turned 52 in December! YIKES! I’ll be 52 in May. I cannot conceive of having a daughter that’s as “grown up” as Jess. Maybe because my own daughter (just turned 26), has yet to completely cut the apron strings. Even though my daughter is now married and has 2 kids and 2 step-kids, I guess I don’t think of her as “grown up” yet. Maybe that’s just how is is with your own child.
However, this morning, I was thinking in the shower (I do that a lot), and as my mind wandered under the water, I started thinking towards my college reunion this spring which will be my 30th. Yes, dears, I graduated COLLEGE in 1979. And THAT got me thinking of one of my high school English teachers, who actually went to the same college I did, only SHE graduated in 1944! And THAT made me realize that when I was in her class in 1974, that was HER 30th reunion year, and at that time, SHE would have been 52 or thereabouts. And, remembering her, I just thought about how OLD she seemed at that time.
Of course, when you’re in high school, everyone who’s old enough to have gotten OUT of high school seems old. But even thinking back now, with a little bit of perspective, I remember her as old. A big part was the way she dressed, her 40’s-type pencil skirts, sweaters, and of course the cat glasses (which are now retro). Her “done” hair, etc., etc. But, I think a lot of it was her attitude. Of course, a teacher has be removed from the students, but there was an air of tiredness about her, maybe of dreams unfulfilled or even unpursued. In a strange twist, one of MY classmates married her son, so I have kept up with her via this woman; sadly, she is far gone in Alzheimer’s and her husband, who was my high school principal, passed away several years ago.
Thinking of Mrs. W., led me, naturally, to thinking about my parents. I remember looking at my mother’s high school year books when I was a kid, then later when I was in high school. She graduated in 1950. Her senior class looked OLD. At 18, they looked “done”. Grown up and ready to head out into the world, the girls to find Mr. Right, the boys to find The Right Job, work hard and settle down into a pension 30 years later. Even looking at those year books in my 30s and 40s, those kids STILL looked OLD at 18. Now, I look at yearbooks and think, these kids don’t even look dry from the womb yet!
It seems to me there’s been a huge perspective shift on age. I know part of it has to do with the Baby Boomers, of which I am one, though just barely. Part of it has do to with technology. After all, who cares how old someone is on the other end of an e-mail or a cell phone, as long as they get you the information you want or do what needs to be done?
And although I admit to complete bafflement when my grandson wants to talk about Pokemon, I can’t really attribute that to age, because Pokemon baffled me when it was new and I was a lot younger! Honestly, I just don’t get the whole anime thing.
I think it all comes down to attitude and expectations. I don’t EXPECT to be old or limited as time slides forward. I don’t FEEL old, or even old-ER. I still have tons of enthusiasm for learning and doing new things. There are so many things I want to do and places I want to see. I’m so looking forward to being older as a time of great simplicity, not needing very much, and even better, not WANTING much. I know I have said this before, but there are so few THINGS that I want, and so many experiences that I crave. If I died with an empty bank account and a head and heart full of memories, I’d be a happy camper.
So, maybe that’s the trick. Celebrate your age instead of hiding it. And take care of yourself. I always think of my mother in this regard. She LOVED celebrating her birthdays and was always proud to say how old she was, but when it came to taking truly good care of herself, she couldn’t follow through. Again, I think a big part of it was her generation, who was raised to put everyone else ahead of themselves. Obviously, a certain amount of care and consideration for others is a good thing, but giving over your health and well-being isn’t. There IS time for yourself. I am learning this every day. It’s important for me to do that kind of self care, because if I feel tired and rotten, I’m not good for myself or for G. And that’s no fun.
So, this about-to-be 52-year old grandmother is going to continue to celebrate her age, take care of herself, and hopefully be hoppin’ and bee-boppin’ for my 60th reunion!
Ya’ll take care, you whippersnappers!
PS: My college graduation pic (spring 1979):
Me in Spain last year (fall 2007, age 50)–along with everything else, my hat got bigger, too!