I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, on the phone, and she mentioned to me how she was starting to feel old. I can relate. Really. Now, for the record, I’m only 45. I don’t think that’s “old.” Hell, I don’t even think 60 is old these days, but I certainly don’t feel as young as I used to. I remember the days when I used to play with board games and ride my bike around my neighborhood. I find myself not really interested in too much new music, and more and more prefer to listen to the “classic” stations. Yeah, classic as in songs from the 80’s and 90’s! Brother, if you had ever said to me that U2 would ever be considered a classic band, I’d have laughed in your face and told you to take your Geritol grandpa. See, I’m dating myself because I don’t even think they make Geritol anymore! Do they?
The reason for these thoughts began couple of days right before Thanksgiving Day this year. My niece was born on November 22, 1990. Christ, in 1990 I was 23 years old myself and living with a total loser, out of work and wondering how much worse my life could get. Fun times right there.
As my friend and I kept talking we remembered the times when we rode in the back of stations wagons with the windows down, and rode in the front seat of cars standing up with little thought of seat belts. My father actually ripped the seat belts out of one car we had because the noise that went off when the seat belts weren’t worn was driving him nuts. I mean, hey heaven forbid we actually buckled up! You see, back then we didn’t have the mass exodus of information coming from every possible outlet today. We weren’t worried about being thrown out of car windows in accidents or being impaled by lawn darts. Today, between cell-phones, tablets, laptops, radios and television, we’ve got news coming out of our pours. It’s virtually impossible to NOT be informed about something!
At the risk of sounding like a naive child, there are days when I wish I could be back in grade-school, not really knowing what the rest of the world is going through. Too much information comes with it’s risks. For someone like me who already has anxiety issues and tends to be slightly OCD, having all of this information at my fingertips can make a person just want to stock up on Diet Dr. Pepper and Ramen noodles and just shut the world out! However, that would irresponsible and frankly a bit ignorant. You just can’t live that way no matter how difficult the world around us and everything going on gets. Me? I have medication, and I AM NOT afraid to use it!
It’s not all bad though. With the passage of time, and growing older we begin to really find ourselves. We become something a little different than what we were in our youth. I find myself a little more mindful of others feelings, and realize it’s not just about me. This world isn’t just for me! This world is about WE and US. Being kinder to others and going out of your way to help and do something good. Not because you’re getting anything out of it other than a good feeling. I’ve become more active in social issues than I was as a young adult. The environment is more important to me than it was when I was 15 or 18 or even 25! I advocate for animal rights, and am a militant animal lover! I’m a vegetarian working hard on being a vegan. I’m more interested in politics and feel this ever growing need to inform others as I myself become informed. Self-awareness is pretty awesome, and I was nowhere near this aware of myself and the world around me 20 years ago.
I look around many times and think, I’m not where I thought I’d be when I would think of my future at 23. I thought I would be married with a couple of kids at this point. I’m not, and it’s taken me a long time to realize that maybe I never really wanted to have kids. I saw my cousins getting married and having kids and thought, that’s what I was supposed to do. It’s just never happened for me, and really, at 45 I am not about to start having children. As for the getting married part, I’m still open to that, but admittedly, I’m a hard pill to swallow. I have my issues and I’m very settled into the way my life is now. Still, I do think I’m in a better place than I was back in my younger days. There are times when I wonder how I got here, but I guess where we are at this point in our lives is where we are supposed to be in the grand scheme of things. In my case, the loser boyfriend has been long gone for many years, and while I do have a job, I am desperately looking for something better. I have a small dog sleeping next to me, and 5 cats sunning themselves next to the window. At this moment in time, I’m where I am supposed to be, ready for what life, God and my guiding spirits have in store. Yep, getting older is not so bad.