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I had a pony at my birthday when I was younger: getting older
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Jan 11th 2007 edited

For a while, I've been fascinated with the concept of getting older. It started a few months after I turned 30; I remember sitting at the bar at Chili's (I'm not making this up) with my husband, and on the TV news was a blurb about residents of a retirement home. They were doing exercises with these flowy ribbon things, gently swaying them to music, and I remember literally crying at the bar (sorry, Daoust) and saying, "Oh, my God, they look so happy about doing that, but it looks so sad. Is that all I have to look forward to?". My husband just ordered me another beer (and one for himself, because he looked alarmed at my reaction to the news) and let me ramble, thank God. But ever since then, I've been a little obsessed with getting older. I think part of it is because in my mind, I'm still 16 years old; part of me really thought I'd always be in my 20s, "young" by anyone's standards, and it's a real shock to know that's not the case.

That being said, growing older is a good gig. For one, it means you're not dead. Plus, if you're lucky, you're wiser, and you feel less of a need to put on a show for people and less of a need to pretend to be someone you're not. Other good things about getting older:

  1. Not having to watch MTV (which I've not done in years) and thinking, on the rare occasion that I do tune in and they actually play a video, that the music on there is crap, anyway, so I don't feel bad that I don't recognize any of it.
  2. I don't feel at all bad about those nights when I feel like going to bed at 9 PM.
  3. I don't drink cheap and disgusting wine anymore, because I know more about what's good and what's not.
  4. I feel completely worthy to judge the antics of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and their ever-changing posse.

So, what else is good about getting older? Or what don't you like about getting older? Or what is a not-so-pleasant reminder that you are getting older? C'mon. Group hug. Let's share. We're all getting older. Let's make the best of it!

Jan 11th 2007

My wife once made a comment that I think applies to just about everyone.

She said that when she was a kid she thought the best thing about growing up would be getting to eat ice cream and candy for dinner whenever you wanted. Now that we're adults we really don't want to. Every once in a while we'll succumb to our cravings and have nothing but popcorn and olives for dinner but we feel bad about it afterwards.

I guess that is really more about growing up than growing old.

Another good thing about getting older: Cheaper auto insurance. A tip to those of you under 25, especially if you're male: If you're thinking of shopping for new auto insurance, set up your policy so that it renews on or shortly after your quasquintennial (25th birthday). You get a big rate decrease at that age. If your policy renews even a few days before you turn 25, a lot of insurance companies will stick you with the youthful operator rate for the entire policy period.

Jan 11th 2007

I posted in the B-day thread back in Nov. about how I was feeling coming up my 21st. A lot of those feelings resurface once in a while, but now I pretty much appreciate where I am in life. I might not have boyfriend or be living in New York City or some other exotic place, but I am gaining work experience and working towards educational goals.

Jan 11th 2007

I see nothing wrong with popcorn and olives for dinner, ever. It's two vegetables and fiber, right?

The seat ribbon dancing is depressing. I got the continuing ed catalog from the local community college district last night and was flipping through it. Seated ribbon dancing was offered as a class for older adults, as were all the good ones I might have been interested in, like piano improvisation, literature survey, and musical theater. I guess they couldn't technically keep me out of the ribbon dancing class, but I probably wouldn't enjoy it. Then I'm thinking that the artier classes are geared towards "older adults" because they are the most likely to have time to take them and perhaps aren't so bad, but on the last page of the catalog was an explanation of how the classes are designed to support the learning needs of older adults with creativity, mental stimulation, and other kinds of enrichment. It was like some Head Start brochure. Kind of condescending, but revealing, too. Certainly lets the whippersnappers know what the classes are going to be like without having to say so.

Not to be a youth snob or anything, but if I find myself at age seventy doing seated ribbon dancing, I think I'll be pretty depressed about it. Or hope that other people are depressed on my behalf. My grandmother is in her seventies and she doesn't have time for that kind of thing. I just hope I age with the presence of mind to want to do other things. It's fine to attend physical ed classes aimed at frailer bodies (even Arnold Palmer on TV admits he can't do what he used to, and is sort of frustrated by that), but for frailer minds? I hope that I'll always take classes because of what they offer, not because other people my age also go.

I'm pretty happy in my thirties, but you know what they say: 35 is the new 17. Right? That makes me just 16! I only get depressed about it when I think of what other people my age have accomplished professionally, but then I remind myself that I don't actually like work and never wanted to get there. Besides, if I'm going to be working into my seventies, I guess I have plenty of time to advance.

Jan 11th 2007

On January 6th I turned 28 years of age. I was quite happy to get rid of 27 because I felt it wasn't overly kind to me. I started writing a blog just before I turned 27, and it was just supposed to be me rambling on about nothing or whatever I felt like talking about...What suprised me was the number of entries I had that were themed on my getting older. My getting hairier. Getting lazier. Getting spongier. It seemed that much of what I was writing was stemming from my subconscious. I don't know why, but turning 27 really turned on a switch in me that said "You can't pretend you're young anymore."

I know, some of you out there are thinking I'm crazy, that 28 still is young. And I agree with you, in part. The thing is, I'm 28, but I'm married for four years now, I have 2 kids, a mortgage, a car payment, I've been teaching for four years... I think there's nothing wrong with having gotten to this point at this age. Lots of people my age are at the same stage as I am. Right? This is what I'm trying to convince myself of. That even though 28 is the new 18, there are lots of people out there, traditionalists, perhaps, who are getting married young, like I did, and being a 'grown up'. The bottom line is, I am what I am because I chose this path, and now I need to stop complaining about all the great things I have in my life and learn to enjoy it more. I think I'm learning to do this. The maturity that comes with turning 28 is helping me in this regard. Contentment. That is the secret of aging. The grass might seem greener on the other side, but there's nothing wrong with the grass on my side, if I'd just get down there and roll around in it once in a while. I might even enjoy myself.

/end rant.

Jan 11th 2007

Karen -

I'm pretty happy in my thirties, but you know what they say: 35 is the new 17. Right? That makes me just 16!

Daoust-

That even though 28 is the new 18.

Isn't it funny that we both wrote this within 10 mins. of each other??

So who is right??

Jan 11th 2007

The grass might seem greener on the other side, but there's nothing wrong with the grass on my side, if I'd just get down there and roll around in it once in a while.

Better copyright this quick, Daoust, if it's yours. If not I'm stealing it.

Jan 11th 2007

I'm taking credit for being right, because clearly you didn't read my post carefully enough before writing yours and I am miffed.

Jan 11th 2007

Your post was there after I posted mine. I was still writing mine when you posted yours.

Jan 11th 2007

The grass might seem greener on the other side, but there's nothing wrong with the grass on my side, if I'd just get down there and roll around in it once in a while.

Unfortunately, this would give me hives. That's why the grass on my side of the fence is actually a rock garden.

I just keep thinking about the fact that I was supposed to be catching for the Boston Red Sox by now -- and if I was, I would be in my prime years as a ballplayer. I would have debuted like, three years ago now. I almost always go to sleep daydreaming about being the greatest baseball player ever -- but these days I have to imagine a scenario in which I've already started playing major league baseball, meaning it's completely out of the question that it's ever going to happen. Used to be that I half expected to be discovered and thrust into the spotlight at any moment, even though I haven't played baseball since high school.

And then there's my profound obsession with death, which comes mostly from the fact that the first sixteen years of my life took forever, and the last ten years have lasted like, ten seconds.

Jan 11th 2007

My main revelation about growing up is that I am now the boss of my life.

If I don't get the dishes done? They're mine to do. Now, this is bad because it means I have dishes to do. But it also means no one yells about my dishes because they're MY dishes in MY kitchen and frankly, I don't have people over that often anyway.

This was the best thing about 2006 for me. I took the huge leap to change my residence and career path. I always wanted to be a novelist by 25. I think that finishing a novel by 27 (book contract or no) is still pretty damn good. My apartment looks the way I want it to look. I have pets.

The funniest thing I've found is that whenever I get mad about people trying to tell me what to do I announce "I'm 26! I'm a grown woman! I do what I want!"

It took a long time to happen, but it's true. I would never, ever go back to any age younger than my current one. Even if I still feel maybe 22, tops, being 26 and getting to say "I do what I want!" is irreplaceable.

I take a lot less BS from other people, too, which is good. It took a long time for me to learn to speak up, but I'm 26, I call it as I see it. I do what I want! I'm a grown woman!

And I have the dirty dishes to prove it.

Jan 11th 2007

I would never, ever go back to any age younger than my current one.

This is exactly how I feel. A lot of people idealize childhood, and as far as childhoods go, mine was pretty idyllic. But I much prefer being a grownup. I spent so much of my time feeling oppressed or aggrieved over the things I was made to do (like go to school, clean my room, or go to bed at a reasonable hour) that I gained a real appreciation of, as Pan said, being the boss of me. (Of course, Mrs FromtheFuture is actually the boss of me, but since she's not here I'm feeling free.) Yeah, there are bills to pay, and yeah, I had figure out a way to make the money to pay those bills, and yeah, there are taxes due every three months -- adulthood seems to be a series of obligations and decisions, to me -- but if I want to stay up until six in the morning, I can damned well stay up till six in the morning, and ain't nobody older than me (except the aforementioned Mrs FromtheFuture) who can tell me to go to bed when I don't want.

(stomps foot)

Jan 11th 2007

I like knowing that if I mess it all up, it's nobody's problem but my own.

It's my credit rating, it's my lease, it's my...whatever. Which makes me not WANT to mess things up. And it's true that there are many, many things I do wrong or insufficiently as I am but one woman and the world is large, expensive and complicated. But at least I don't have my mom task-tsking away because if I was late on my cell phone bill, she doesn't know about it.

Huge downside: I'm young and healthy, thank goodness and knock wood, but I've been in the position for the last couple years that my parents' health has been failing. They now both have chronic medical problems that will drastically curtail their options in life. And in a healthy lull between crises, I moved 3,000 miles away.

I have two siblings closer than I am, but ... I'm so used to being the go-to child, the helper. It's really hard to be so far away. But my love for my parents has increased even more because I know they won't ask me to move back unless there is no other option. They want me to have my shot at having the life I want, the same way they got to have the chance to make the life they wanted. I'm deeply appreciative of that.

Jan 11th 2007

But....I so feel for Pam Beesly this season. We've been enjoying similar trajectories in life. (If only I had a Jim!)

Jan 11th 2007

My parents are still in their forties, just like they were when I was a kid. I refuse to believe otherwise. This explains their relative good health and excuses the fact that I moved away.

I'm the oldest of four boys, and by the time I got to high school, I had become a sort of auxiliary parent -- I kept the schedule and made sure everybody got to school & crap on time, mostly because the youngest was much younger than I and sickly, so he required a lot of attention. My brothers used to call me "The Capo" and other such rude things. Of course, I used to hit them and stuff, so maybe I deserved it.

One of the advantages of growing up is that I get along much better with my brothers than I used to do.

Jan 11th 2007

My sister's eight years older than I am. It took her going back to grad school and becoming best friends with a woman my age (22 at the time) to realize that I might be an adult.

We're good friends now.

Jan 11th 2007

Things that make me feel old:

  • Realizing you are listening to almost no new music.
  • Football and baseball players you remember following in your teens and early 20s being elected to the Hall of Fame. That means they got too old to play, then have been retired for at least five years. Yeesh.
  • Your parents are both retired and have been for a couple years.
  • Your younger sister has a baby.
  • The high school kid at the gym says, "Sir? Are you done with this machine?"
  • The rapidly increasing number of white side hairs.

Despite all that, I'm with everyone else in that I'm very satisfied to be my current age and I like being an adult and would never want to go back.

Jan 11th 2007

Yeah, being called "sir" always makes me a little sad.

The rapidly increasing number of white side hairs.

My hair has been greying since college, but it's gotten much more noticable just in the last year. As a result, I look a lot older than I am. My wife looks really young, so people often assume we're in some kind of cradle-robbing relationship, and look at me askance. The truth is she's three years older than I am!

Jan 11th 2007

No wonder she enforces bedtime!

Jan 11th 2007

My sister is 8 years younger than I am and is a freshman in college. I still feel young (27). I've been married for 2 years and my only child is a 6 month old chocolate lab. Growing up (in high school/college primarily), I always thought that 27 would be the best year of my life. I would have money, no kids and complete independence. If you disregard the mortage and puppy, that is true.

I think back and have fond memories of elementary school and college (especially now that my sister is there), but I do not miss middle school and high school at all. I thought it was great at the time (being a popular cheerleader and all...A-W-E-S-O-M-E), but looking back, I was miserable. All of the girls were evil and I was constantly worried about how I looked and what people thought of me (I even had a "fashion calendar" to prevent me from wearing the same outfit twice in one month). Thank God, I now have the life experience to realize how completely neurotic that is.

I miss only having 4 hours of class/work a day in college and being able to do absolutely nothing most weekends, but as shallow as this may sound, I love having money. I love being able to travel, go to nice restaurants with great wine (as opposed to Zima & Boones Farm), and being able to buy whatever clothes/shoes that I want. I am old enough to realize how little I know, and am happier now than I have ever been, and the best part is, I now feel that I will continue to be happier every year than I was the year before.

Jan 11th 2007

My hair has been greying since college, but it's gotten much more noticable just in the last year. As a result, I look a lot older than I am.

Two words: Anderson Cooper.

My wife looks really young, so people often assume we're in some kind of cradle-robbing relationship, and look at me askance.

One time on my desk at work I had a picture of me and my husband. A woman talking to me commented on it and said, "Oh, is that your dad?" He doesn't look that old, but older than I do.

Jan 11th 2007

I'm pretty happy in my thirties, but you know what they say: 35 is the new 17. Right? That makes me just 16! I only get depressed about it when I think of what other people my age have accomplished professionally, but then I remind myself that I don't actually like work and never wanted to get there. Besides, if I'm going to be working into my seventies, I guess I have plenty of time to advance.

Me, exactly.

Sincerely,
17-Year-Old Teapot

Jan 11th 2007

Oooh, Anderson Cooper.

I so have a thing for reporter-types. It made working in a newsroom very distracting.

Jan 11th 2007

meaning it's completely out of the question that it's ever going to happen.

One word, two syllables: Knuckleball. That's gonna be my ticket.

Jan 11th 2007 edited

Your post was there after I posted mine. I was still writing mine when you posted yours.

Daoust, I grudgingly accept this explanation.

My senior year of high school and the year after college were pretty good years. Probably the two standout years of my life. Would I want to relive either? No. I don't think I could handle the extreme drama (good and bad), nor do I want to have all-night chat sessions or go to nightclubs every weekend or wear sequins (wink, wink) anymore.

I leave it to you to decide which of those events happened during which year.

Jan 12th 2007 edited

i think this really needs to be part of this discussion.

Jan 12th 2007

See? Billy Idol gets it.

Jan 12th 2007 edited

See? Billy Idol gets it.

No, he doesn't! I've heard the CD - he croons over the lamest Casio keyboard instrumental tracks without a hint of irony.

Anyway, I just turned 41, and don't feel old at all, except when cashiers at the supermarket call me "sir." I still get carded occasionally, so that's nice. I think 40 is the new 25 or 30, at least it seems that way in Austin. Its quite funny to see all the other parents dropping their kids off at the neighborhood elementary school - I've heard it referred to as a "tattooed mom" school - and know that we're all in the same boat. We're not fighting the notion of getting old and growing up, we're just tweaking the definition of what that really means.

Jan 12th 2007

Holy god. My eyes. They burn!

Jan 12th 2007

Austin sounds like my kinda town.

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