Despite the actual numbers, I’ve never felt old. I always think I’m just a few years past being a teenager. My parents? Old. Their whole generation? Ancient.
But that’s been my thinking since I was ten. At that point, thirty seemed near the end of life. Now I don’t consider someone much older until they hit seventy. And even then, most don’t seem old until eighty or so.
When did I become the person who thinks seventy is only “kind of” old?
Yesterday, in the dentist’s office, I laughed to hear a vaguely familiar song playing. It took a minute to locate the memory way, way, way back in the early ’70s.
I started thinking: wait a minute. There’s a chance this was playing the day of my first dental appointment. When I was four. This is just weird.
The next song was Sonny and Cher. The one after that was Earth, Wind, and Fire.
And I knew both without asking. That made me laugh. The hygienist looked puzzled and I said, “I think these songs were playing when I had my kindergarten dental cleaning.”
She considered that and said, “This? It’s the oldies station. They’ve stopped playing stuff from the ’50s and ’60s and moved to the ’70s and ’80s.”
They what, now? They’ve identified the people in midlife, labeled our childhood OLD and made money from that asshattery?
Then it dawned on me. The hygienist was younger than me. By about ten years. So, come to think of it, are most of the professionals I know. Heck, OutlawMama can’t get anyone to corroborate that Flo was not being criminally insubordinate when she told Mel to kiss her grits.
What good are you if you don’t remember Alice?
Regardless of the number, I’m beginning to feel old. Or at least grownup. My peers do not work at grocery stores or bars or in postdoc positions. My peers are managers and COOs and first authors.
When the hell did that happen?