They say age is just a number.
But then they also tell you – in a variety of ways – that no matter how young you feel, you are, in fact, OLD.
I remember the first time I was Ma’amed. I was awkwardly ordering at a Starbucks with their exclusive sizing language when the extremely young barista said, “Here’s your change, Ma’am.” The word rang in my ears. I silently repeated the word in different voices and tones in my head. I was far to young to be a Ma’am…wasn’t I?
Oh, but society is tricky! Just when you’re feeling good and young and NOT your age, whammo! It’s time for a medical test that “people your age” start to have. Or, if you’re a woman and you’re pregnant at age 35 or later, you are considered of “Advance Maternal Age” and quickly shuffled off to a “special” office with “expert” doctors and “personalized” care. You’re suddenly in a decade that is being called “[YOUR AGE] is the new [INSERT YOUNGER DECADE HERE]”.
Personally, while I know that time is passing, I still have a misconceived notion of how long ago things happened. This is me exactly:
I can’t be the only one who is time-challenged.
I have a headshot that I use that Mr. KK took of me over a decade ago that I still unabashedly use because 1. I love this photo of me and 2. In some weird way, I still think I look like this. (Sad, I know.) I feel like almost no time has passed, when in reality, a dozen years have gone by and our lives have changed so much (we had a kid, which contributed to me no longer looking as young and relaxed as I do in that photo), so perhaps I hang onto that photo because I wish I STILL looked like that. I also still have the blue scarf.
Interestingly, while my mind may still feel young(ish), my body hasn’t gotten the message because GOOD LORD why do so many things hurt? And when one thing starts to feel better (my back), something else starts to hurt (my shoulder). Speaking of shoulders, a few years back I was having so much shoulder pain I went to see a massage therapist who basically said, “You have frozen shoulder. It happens to women around your age.” Hmph!
Physical aging aside (eye sight, crawling out of bed every morning, constant nerve pain), I am aging out of “cool” social platforms. Case in point: TikTok. I just…can’t. I mean, I do, a bit, for my job. But personally, no thank you. I already have ZERO time in my life, and I imagine a constant stream of videos that never, ever stop would be such a time suck out of my life, that I would open TikTok on Tuesday, and before I knew it, it was Thursday afternoon and I haven’t slept or eaten, and Little Mister has lost 2 teeth.
I suppose in a few years, Little Mister will be my tie to all things social and cool. He’ll want to be on the latest social platform that is yet to be invented by some future 17 year old billionaire. I’ll have all the knowledge of cool parent phone spyware and be not only up on what he’s doing, but still somewhat cool. When we have dance parties now in our kitchen – and Little Mister asks me to “Please don’t sing” and “Do you have to dance like that?”, I like to tell him how much I’m looking forward to chaperoning his school dances and busting out with some signature moves while he and his friends look on. Fun fact: I will absolutely do this.
I will continue to use my out-of-date headshot (maybe even for my obituary?), and remain young mentally. Fashionably, I will age; I will wear what’s comfortable, even if everyone is hating on skinny jeans and I still have a pair I feel halfway decent in.
And I will still let myself think that 1980 was twenty years ago, and that me and millennials are “around the same age” because, well, why not?