Age, getting old, Life, NaBloPoMo

You’re Only As Old As You Feel…Until They Tell You Otherwise.

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?

Boomers, Generations, getting old, Life, NaBloPoMo

How the Boomers are Different from Gens X, Y, Z

If this pandemic has showed me anything, it’s the generational gap between younger generations and the Boomers.

First off, raise your hand if at the beginning of the pandemic you had trouble keeping your parents home. I thought I was going to have to put homing devices on everyone in my life over 70. I found myself saying things like, “How imperative is it that you have hot dog buns right now?” Finally, and thankfully, it clicked. And all of my Boomers finally took my (not so subtle) hints and stayed under house arrest home.

Second, TV coverage. My parents and in laws had their TVs on 24/7 following COVID coverage. The actual television is on. And sometimes, multiple TVs are on in different rooms, all on the same station. CNN has viewers for life with that crew.

But the dedication to physically watching news on television isn’t the only difference between me and the “older generation”. In fact, last year I wrote this post about how our generations do things differently.

But the differences don’t end there!

A few months ago, Mr. KK and I were at his parents house. His mother was showing us things she found after cleaning out an armoire, when she held up a large bag of metal.

“Look at all these belt buckles I found!” she said.

And there, in the bag, must’ve been about 20 belt buckles of varying shapes and sizes. Yes, I said belt buckles. Personally, I don’t own a belt (short, pear-shaped women should never wear a belt!). Mr. KK own two belts (one black and one brown). But the buckles are attached to the belt. There’s no switching up the buckle depending on his mood (“I’m feeling feisty, let’s bust out the turquoise studded silver!”).

Epsom salt. I recently was reading a book about a twenty-something who needed an epsom salt bath to help blisters that she had on her feet. (This book was obviously a book about millennials written by someone much, much older). Honestly, until I looked it up just now, I had no idea what epsom salt was even used for (it has 20 surprising uses! Who knew it could help with constipation and acne!). I do, however, distinctly remember it being in our linen closet growing up.

Over the summer – in an effort to complete at least ONE project during all of our time home together – Mr. KK needed to measure something. “I wish we had a yardstick,” he said, “that would be perfect right now.” There are three types of people who likely own a yardstick: mothers over 70, their mothers, and seamstresses. And I am none of the above. My mother had (has?) a yardstick. It was kept in the hallway closet, standing up in the corner (where and how else do you store something that’s 3 feet long?). I think we used it to measure how much snow we got during one of the blizzards.

The ye old address book. If you’re under 20, you likely don’t even know what an address book is. If you’re Gen X, you likely had one in your childhood for all those “pen pals” you might have corresponded with from summer vacations or camp. This is also the reason why you might still have stamps, because you’ve physically mailed a piece of parcel in your lifetime. Boomers live and die by the address book. Not only does it hold addresses and phone numbers (to LAND LINES), it usually is adorned with a variety of paper clips and scrap pieces of paper, the likes of which are not limited to: business cards for painters, exterminators or carpenters; reminder cards for doctor appointments; and a funny comic ripped from the newspaper.

Boomers have check books and they know how (and still do!) use them. I am the first person to tell you that I have a checkbook. I remember the day I got it with my Big Girl checking account. However, just because I HAVE a check book, doesn’t mean I USE a check book. I have had the same set of checks for years and years and years (and probably will until I die, frozen in time on the same check number from 2005 when I was issued checks with my new married name! If you owe me money and you want to pay me by check, just hold onto it…until you can pay me electronically.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel the generational gap between me (Gen X) and millennials. And I’m sure they could name a million things that I do – or own – that is completely foreign to them. Things such as: I enjoy flipping through magazines (PRINTED magazines), I always have a book of stamps, and I handwrite my to do list every day (so that I can physically cross things off!).

And I’m comfortable with my Gen X-ness. I’m sure Gen Z has never felt the little thrill of opening the mailbox and seeing the latest issue of their favorite glossy magazine just sitting there, begging for a creased spine and leisurely read. And honestly, I feel bad for them.

Boston, getting old, NaBloPoMo, Restaurants

I’m too old to stand in line at a bar.

Once a year, my friend J and I arrange a girls’ weekend in Boston where we spend the weekend eating, drinking, catching up and shopping.

The weather Gods were in our favor this year, as we had gorgeous fall weather, low 50’s and sunny – perfect poncho weather.

Lunch was at Coppa Boston, where we sipped wine and enjoyed a gorgeous charcuterie platter of fennel salami, duck prosciutto and spicy soppressata, paired with nutty pecorino, creamy robiola and and sola cheeses; and meatballs and a celery caesar salad that was so crunchy and fresh, I have to try and recreate this dish at home.

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When J and I lived in Boston (15 years ago!) we both lived in South Boston (Southie, to those in the know). J lived on the nicely gentrified East Side, right on K Street near the famous L Street Tavern where Matt Damon and the Good Will Hunting gang used to hang out. I lived on the gritty west side off of West 5th Street, next to the park where Matt, Ben and others fought those kids on the basketball court.

Even though we lived on different sides of town, we both left before Southie became the trendy, up-and-coming area teeming with hipsters and millennials that it is today. So in an effort to relive our time living in the greatest city of all time, we decided to go to dinner in our old neighborhood.

“Wait until you see how Southie had changed,” I told her. “You won’t even recognize it.”

As our Uber driver, Wellington – whom we fondly referred to as Beef Wellington – took a left onto Albany Street, we both pressed our noses to the glass. What used to be dilapidated buildings and abandoned doorways, was now trendy gastro pubs, fromageries, and wine shops.

Whitey Bulger’s old haunt Triple O’s Lounge was now a rustic Italian cafe. Hole in the wall pizza joints were now chic taverns. And the old Mexican haunt with tabletops sticky from spilled margaritas was now a loud and hip sushi restaurant – and our destination for dinner.

Maybe it was eating at a restaurant where we the scene matched the food, or the hoards of youth on the sidewalks, but after dinner these two now-suburban moms were not ready to call it a night.

“Let’s go back to Broadway and go for a drink!” we thought who we were. And then we saw the lines at the bars. And then we realized who were weren’t.

We weren’t waiting in a line at a bar. Because we are OLD.

Both bars had lines so long, that it was doubtful that the kids – and they did look like kids – would ever see the inside of the place before dawn. And, not to go all MOM on the young ladies, but it was under 40 degrees, and the girls wore halter tops and mini skirts and no coats!

Don’t get me wrong, I still wait in lines. I’m just selective about the types of lines I’ll wait in.

I’ll wait in line to get into my favorite pizza place.

I’ll wait in line to get the latest beer released at a brewery.

But I won’t wait in line to get into a bar and pay inflated prices for cocktails and scream to be heard.

When we saw those lines, we looked at each other and a look passed between us, and in that brief moment we silently said to each other, “We have pajamas waiting for us in a hotel, with no spouses or kids and an entire bed to ourselves where we can lie down and watch HGTV uninterrupted until we fall asleep. So let’s leave these kids standing in line and high tail it back to our room.”

So we abandoned the line, hopped in an Uber and were in our jammies faster than you could say “millennial”.

To the young ones out there, waiting in lines at bars, enjoy it while you can.

And, for the love of God, WEAR A COAT!