In truth, I don’t mind being older, wiser, experienced, more understanding about life and its vagaries.
What I do mind is how others react to my chronological age, which is evidenced in the gray hair, the lines around the eyes and on the brow, the brown skin spots.
The defining moment which triggered this diatribe was when my 25-year-old son, wife and I were discussing a phone upgrade for him. Yes, he’s still on the family plan because it’s cheaper, according to the family CFO.
What typically happens is that everyone else in the family uses my upgrade and I’m left with the oldest phone. In January, our daughter used my upgrade to get a 4G iPhone. I inherited her 3G smart phone because service for my analog flip phone was being shut down by our service provider.
My son had decided all he really needed was a cheap cell phone, a high-tech oxymoron, since he only really needed it for phone calls.
So I said, “Maybe I should use your upgrade and get an iPhone and you can have my hand-me-down 3G.”
“Dad,” he deadpanned, “no 68-year-old needs an iPhone.” Kids know exactly where the parents’ hot buttons are.
People tell me what a beautiful granddaughter I have. Excuse me. She’s my 16-year-old daughter.
I referee high school soccer. I wish I had a video of the looks in the players’ eyes the first time they see me on their pitch. It’s an old saying, but my legs are a year older each season. The players’ legs are always 18 or younger.
I’ve been a college professor for 25 years. Now the faculty position ads read, “To qualify, you must have finished a Ph.D. in the last 3 years or in the last 5 years with teaching experience.” Even my own department prefers new Ph.D.s over more senior applicants.
An anonymous eyewitness to aging once said, “Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.” My inner 26-year-old knows what happened and why, and is OK with it.
For those who don’t understand, constantly correcting people, reminding them that someone doesn’t get “old,” they get “older,” there’s another piece of anonymous sagacity which says, “As you are, I was. And as I am, you will be.”