You know how you go through life, and you’re the Young Person–maybe the youngest of your friends or coworkers or whatever. And you say obnoxious things like, “Wow, I was in second grade when you (graduated college/got married/etc.).”
You are Young and Hip and yeah, you know you’re going to age but not really, would somebody please pass the tanning oil?
But then one day…something changes. It happens very slowly, kind of sneaks up on you. You start recognizing fewer songs on the radio, you’re a good two years behind on fashion trends, and you have no clue who those 20-something celebrities are on the cover of “US Weekly.”
Real time example: MTV.com is telling me right now, “For Christmas, Nick Young gave Iggy Azalea his heart.” What WHAT? WHO IN THE WORLD ARE THESE PEOPLE?
And then you’re driving in your minivan with four carseats in the back, and you’re listening to NPR while thinking how you must stop by that one grocery because they’re having a sale on rump roasts, and I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE.
Further evidence of my waning youth: my little brother’s recent wedding. I was a good decade older than the other bridesmaids, and I found myself saying at the reception, “My, this music is loud!” while my grandmother nodded in agreement. (Or maybe she was just nodding politely. I doubt she could hear me because: loud music.) The wedding party were all out on the dance floor doing some sort of weeble-wobble dance thing, meanwhile the DJ was ignoring my request to play Wilson Phillips. I’m just saying, and without (much) irony, that Wilson Phillips is a really good band, man. That said, to my brother and his new wife: I’m sorry I tried to ruin your reception with Wilson Phillips.
I was recently shopping for an outfit for a rare night out, and I found myself baffled by the choices. I kept coming out of the dressing room and asking the 19-year-old salesgirl, “OK, so how am I supposed to wear these paisley pants?” And, “Does this shirt fit this way on purpose?”
I called my best friend afterward so we could evaluate my purchases together.
“So we’re supposed to be tucking shirts in now…?” I asked.
“Wait, we’re tucking in shirts again? When did this happen?”
“I don’t know, but I bought this shirt, and I think we’re tucking now. But only some shirts, and maybe only the front of the shirt? How do I wear this?”
“I don’t want to tuck in my shirt,” she said.
It’s like I’m writing a eulogy for my youth.
“The Breakfast Club” and “Weird Science” are part of a “Retro Cinema” lineup at a local theater–“Classic Films on the Big Screen.” This is freaking me out, big time. Classic = “Ben Hur.” “The Breakfast Club” = awesome movie that came out only…holy geez, it was 30 years ago. I can’t even. I just. I can’t.
See, one second I was in college, and the next second I have four kids and “Weird Science” is considered a movie classic. And the mirror is telling me–hey, late 30s, IT’S ON. This is HAPPENING. Shoulda worn more sunscreen.
Also, this: it’s 2015, the year Marty McFly arrived when he traveled to the future in “Back to the Future Part II.” I know. I KNOW. NO HOVER BOARDS. How are there no hover boards? It’s 2015, I’m approaching middle age, and I was expecting hover boards.
Happy New Year. Here’s to the privilege of getting older, and to the promise of a future with hover boards. As Wilson Phillips would say, “The Dream Is Still Alive.”
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)