This should not have been a shock to me. I said goodbye to my twenties some time ago. I've always known that at some point I would have to go blond & stop using the word 'dude' lest I embarrass the children. And yet age blindsided me all the same.
So what happened? Where did all those years between Young & Not Young go? When did aging get so...abrupt? Wasn't it just yesterday that waiters were requesting ID whenever I ordered anything more interesting than soda? That my sisters were killing themselves laughing every time I got offered a child's admission or kiddie menu? When did young men start calling me ma'am & offering to carry my groceries?
I honestly couldn't say. But certain recent events have forced a reckoning. I will offer them now, for your consideration:
1. I recently discovered that the inside of my left forearm is sporting a permanent set of wrinkles from all the hundreds of hours I've spent with a diapered butt on it. Let me say that again: Permanent. Wrinkles. From carrying babies. I actually felt faint when I realized these lines weren't going away within a few minutes (hours, days, I checked) of putting said child down.
2. We were in a restaurant last week & a whole herd of teenagers walked in, sporting their prom finery. They looked so fiercely young & vulnerable & proud & hopeful that I seized up my five year old & said, "Oh, look at the prom kids! Aren't they beautiful?" And then I realized that that's how I think of high schoolers now--kids. Really, really young kids, too. Because they're, like, HALF my age. HALF, people.
3. I read a book in which a fourteen year old character & his girlfriend said they preferred email to IM for love letters because they liked the old school kick of really slowing down & considering each word. They actually called email old school. Okay, I didn't get an email account until I was a senior in college. Enough said.
4. This one isn't technically mine, but it speaks to the point, so I'm using it. A friend was at a meeting & somebody asked a question which was met by total & uncomfortable silence. My friend tried to break the tension by intoning, "Anybody? Bueller?" The silence then went from tense to puzzled because nobody got the reference. He looked around & realized his colleagues were all in their early to mid twenties & had never seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off. My pop culture references are no longer current. Gah.
5. This one is the killer. Totally clinched the deal. So I was on vacation with my folks recently & at some point we washed a load of underwear and socks. At which point I discovered that my mother & I wear identical underpants. Okay, how demoralizing is that? I wear the same underwear--right down to the brand, the style, even the freakin' colors--as a woman thirty years my senior. It could be argued, I suppose, that I have a really, really hip mom. And in many respects, that's true. But we should not be wearing matching undies. I draw the line at that, and am left with this inescapable conclusion:
So how about you? Have you ever had a moment that changed your definition of yourself? When did you discover you'd crossed over? Become Them rather than Us? Old rather than Young? The Man rather than the Rebel? Was it a moment, a series of events, or a slow, gradual slide? Share, because I'm feeling old & alone...