Old Maid

29 Jan

My husband and I had a conversation the other night, and I swear, I’ve never felt so old in my life.

We were talking about how difficult we find it to relate to 99% of the people we meet, and how much easier it is when younger, how you’ll put up with more. (It’s true. I’m much pickier today than I was at 16, when my criteria likely revolved around easy access to good hash.) I want ready made friends, who have read books, and who are curious in new music, new ideas. I want people who get me. We both do.

In having this discussion, my husband started talking (ranting really) about how “kids today do have any sense of where their favorite bands come from-they have no desire to know the bands who influenced their favorites”. I do believe he actually used the phrase “kids today”.

I sighed, and said ‘We’re old. It’s official.”

We never planned on children, and so we had plotted out a life that revolved, roughly, around music and books, tea and cats. The life of blissful childfree people. We sat as many young people did, awaiting life. But we were aimless, and drifting, neither inclinded to do much more than stare out the window, wondering what to do with ourselves. We were those “kids”.

Now we aren’t. Now we silently tut tut the very people we once were, wondering where the activist spirit has gone, wondering why they all seem so closed up and swallowed by their PS3’s and Wii’s. We feel superior in our memories of when we were “with it”, when we knew what was going on.

But I really don’t care that much. I’ve grown out of it, beyond it, turned into that one thing I was loath to become.

An Adult.

I say ‘Pardon Me” when I sneeze. I thank people for giving me space on the sidewalk. I tell my children to watch their mouths. I’m beginning to understand what my parents meant when they said ‘Life isn’t fair.”

But why has this taken so long? I’m 30 this year. I thought that adulthood was something that fell upon you sooner than this, like down from the sky while you slept. That you’d wake up, and suddenly be an adult, without any of the silliness from your youth. You would do fun things like travel, you’d volunteer for important causes, you’d make cupcakes. You’d find meaning, and realize it’s not to be found in a magazine or a CD. Adults made their own fun, told jokes kids don’t get, stayed up late.

Funny. Now that I’m old, I realize how NOT late 11pm is. It’s just half way to morning.

Am I halfway to old age? Am I on the first steps? Realizing that I just don’t get many of the people I run into made me stop and consider that yes, I am aging. But I don’t begrudge it. I accept it, and in some ways enjoy it. Those little panics younger people have over what to do with their lives-I don’t have those anymore, not that I ever did. I have a family now, something that has brought me meaning, and I didn’t even know I was searching for them. Am I halfway to another plateau of meaning? Will I find it when the kids leave home?

Will I find it when the cross into the school yard, forever separate from me in some ways? Will I find it at the first heartbreak, when I have to warn them/remind them, that love is fickle, and many colored? Will I never find it, and lie on my deathbed, wishing for more? What if I never find my halfway there?

Will I really sit on my porch, in a dirty rocking chair, sharing a BB gun with my husband as we shoot the “youngins” walking by?

11 Responses to “Old Maid”

  1. puddlejumper January 29, 2007 at 5:54 pm #

    I was sent this recently in an email.

    > 1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can’t smoke any of them.
    > 2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.
    > 3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
    > 4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
    > 5. You hear your favourite song in an elevator.
    > 6. You watch the Weather Channel.
    > 7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of “get together” and “break up.”
    > 8. You go from 130 days of holiday time to 14.
    > 9. Jeans and a t-shirt no longer qualify as “dressed up.”
    > 10. You’re the one calling the police because those %&@# kids next door
    > won’t turn down the stereo.
    > 11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
    > 12. You don’t know what time the local nightclub closes anymore.
    > 13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
    > 14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald’s leftovers.
    > 15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
    > 16. You take naps.
    > 17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.
    > 18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather
    > than settle, your stomach.
    > 19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and
    > pregnancy
    > tests.
    > 20. A £4 bottle of wine is no longer “pretty good shit.”
    > 21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
    > 22. “I just can’t drink the way I used to” replaces “I’m never going to
    > drink
    > that much again.”
    > 23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
    > 24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.
    > 25. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them
    > instead
    > of asking “Oh shit, what the hell happened?”
    > Bonus:
    > 26. You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that
    > doesn’t
    > apply to you and can’t find one to save your sorry old ass.

    I discovered I can relate to all of them.

    I think it happens incrementally from 30 onwards.

    But I would disagree with the dorff about kids and music. I KNOW I’m old because my kids now raid my CD collection looking for the early influences of their favourite bands.

  2. thordora January 29, 2007 at 6:09 pm #

    ok this: Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you. is the WORST! I HATE THAT!

  3. Estella January 29, 2007 at 6:45 pm #

    Getting older is so weird. I find myself loathing teenagers. Can’t. Stand. Them. Every time I see a group of them acting all snotty and arrogant I want to hit them over the head with a shovel.

  4. liprap January 29, 2007 at 8:07 pm #

    Oh, the older relative sex joke antidote? :

    An older gentleman is talking to his daughter and telling her how much better things have been for him since he began taking that Vigoro. “I’m just so full of energy these days! I feel more spring in my step, I feel so much stronger – like I can take on the world!”

    “Uhhh, Dad?” the daughter says. “You must mean Viagra, because Vigoro…uh…Vigoro’s a fertilizer.”

    “Oh,” the gentleman says.

    He pauses to think a moment.

    “I guess that explains the berries…”

  5. lindsay casey January 29, 2007 at 11:41 pm #

    i’m only 26 and i actually snorted the word “teenagers!” the other day. i can’t imagine how grumpy i’ll be at 45!

  6. jkdufair January 30, 2007 at 1:03 am #

    I like my late 30s because I still remember what it was like to be in my 20s and have the wisdom of my 30s to draw on. I work with teenagers at my church and really enjoy them, actually. Sure, they have some growing up to do, but their energy and vitality and creativity and hope are infectuous.

    At some point I’d better stop listening to Justin Timberlake and Panic! at the Disco, but for now, I just like it. And knowing where it all comes from helps, I suppose. I’d hate to be a teenager now. When I was a teenager, you only had to assimilate about 20 years of rock and roll. That’s do-able. Now it’s 40 and there’s not really a rock monoculture anymore. It’s all disintermediated now.

    Thankfully, I don’t watch the Weather Channel yet, so there’s hope for me.

  7. misspudding January 30, 2007 at 2:06 am #

    I’ve been watching the Weather Channel religiously for about ten years.

    Yeah, I’m a total loser.

    I do, however, agree with you on the “not relating to 99% of the population” bit. We always have that conversation.

  8. thordora January 30, 2007 at 8:09 am #

    I sadly, have always watched the Weather Network. I used to do that stoned. That and the house selling channel.

    Sad, but true.

    We actually find most of the teenagers around here to be quite well behaved and well mannered. It’s just a different world for them. I understand it-I just don’t live it-hence the disconnect.

  9. Queen Minx January 30, 2007 at 10:02 am #

    The worst thing for me about getting old(er) is losing my memory, and my teeth. I have lost one tooth, at least I think I have as … erm … I can’t remember losing anymore … and erm … the other worst thing about getting old(er) is … erm … sorry, I forget!!


  10. Kind of Crunchy Mama January 30, 2007 at 12:09 pm #

    My husband keeps making comments about things we do saying “We are so old”. I want to scream at him “SO WHAT!”. Sitting at the bar 3 nights a week got boring a long time before we had kids. He wouldn’t even want to do that kind of stuff anymore anyway. Yet he is obsessed with saying “We are so old”. Get over it! If you think you are old at 30, you’re really going to hate 50.

  11. thordora January 30, 2007 at 12:25 pm #

    That’s so true. I hated doing the stuff my peers did when I was younger.

    I don’t hate the age. I think for me, it’s more about feeling old since I was a kid, and wondering when that “cheating” feeling will go away. It’s starting to now, and I’m not sure I like it.

    I like where I am, I just find it amusing on some level that I’m finally the adult.

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