I’ve been thinking a lot about aging lately.
Part of it is closing in on the halfway mark to my birthday. (It’s September the 13th, in case you want to mark your calendar now).
But a lot of it is all these metaphoric Post-It Notes that have been popping up on the metaphoric mirrors of my life lately.
Delightful reminders like the sponge cake around my middle (which, on the bright side, has qualified me as a blood donor for the first time ever, free OJ & cookies!!).
Or the ten minutes I spent in my Toastmasters meeting a couple of weeks back trying desperately to pull the word “malapropism” from my ganky-ass RAM after hearing “exacerbate” get swapped out for “exasperate” for the third time.
Or the fact that my college roommate has a son who is going to be a third-generation legacy when he enters college…next year.
And a lot of clothes that I swear to you were perfectly fine even six months ago?
There’s a window of about 20 years where you look like a total tool if you wear ironic tees, and I seem to have been defenestrated in my sleep. Which concerns me, because I will not be 70 for another 23 years, and SXSW is next week. What am I supposed to do, go to the UX panels naked? My sponge cake will show!
It is weird, having this age thing happen seemingly overnight. I realize that everyone has this moment in front of the mirror (except the lucky few who have a portrait stashed in the closet, let me know how that plays out for you). I just got to put mine off for an unreasonably long time.
I never had kids, for one. I live in the land of No Seasons with Which to Mark One’s Death March to Invisibility. Hell, I live in L.A. and I’m not hot or rich, I’ve been invisible since I got here, 16 years ago.
And mostly, I don’t mind being old any more than I mind being invisible (although I’d quite like to be rich, as I’ve heard it affords one a great deal of freedom.) Like my pal, precocious codger Jim Garner, I kind of enjoy being an elder, or, in codger-speak, an old coot. I have always rounded up, claiming the next birthday’s age shortly after the new calendar year begins. It makes things incredibly confusing on my actual birthday, as I am bad at math and my parents, bad at planning. I mean, would it have been that hard to meet a year earlier and have me in 1960?
No, I don’t exactly mind the idea of being old, I am just not crazy about the getting there.
I would like to skip ahead to the part where I have a full head of snowy white hair like Mom. To the part where I’ve already done 20 years of yoga and am this lithe, inspiring, elder-model type who takes a lover 15 years her junior. And maybe female. You know, just because.
Basically, to the part where the young part of me is long gone rather than slipping away by degrees, and the old me is this fabulous, rock-’em-sock-’em me unimaginable to me now, much less actualizable.
I am not young anymore, except to old people. I am not old yet, except to young people. Just like being born into this crazy non-Boomer, not-quite-Gen-X cohort, I cannot quite parse myself yet, and I gotta tell you, it’s a little irksome. Like that deep, phantom itch I get in the library that won’t disappear no matter how hard I rub my shoulderblades across a corner of the stacks.
On the other hand, this is a perfect frame of mind in which to sail into the aforementioned SXSW: not quite sure, a little on the wobbly side, with lots of cracks for old stuff to leak out of and new stuff to sneak into. Last time I went, I was wobbly because it was new to me and I was new to the internets and on top of everything else, as it turned out, I was sliding into a Crohn’s flare. This time, it will just be wacky, wobbly me, seeing a few familiar faces, meeting a few People Behind the Handles, sucking down some of that SCD-legal Tito’s, having my head cracked open.
As long as I remember my vitamins, I think it should be fine.
Provided I can get my hands on a few plain t-shirts…