I may not be eligible for an AARP membership yet, but my aching knees recently served as a reminder that I am perched at the top of the proverbial hill just waiting to make my descent down the other side.
My recent awareness of the nuances of getting older has me thinking about the interesting dichotomy of spending our early years desperately wishing to be older and the rest of it longing for time to stop moving so darn quickly.
As a kid, I thought turning 18 meant I was an adult. The reality, however, was that I was still dependent on my parents, didn’t know how to do my own laundry and had to sit at the kid table at Thanksgiving.
At 22, I graduated college and felt like I had the world at my fingertips…until I realized that having a degree doesn’t mean much unless you also have a job. I spent the next year reminding myself to have fun now because I would have the rest of my life to be pinned down to a demanding career. And when I did get that first job, I was referred to as “the young one” for several years before a new “young one” came on board and relieved me of the title.
I think the tide turned when I experienced a surprising wave of depression on my 25th birthday. After waiting so long to feel some connection to adulthood, I was caught off guard by an overwhelming sense that this was the end of my childhood. I hadn’t referred to myself as a child in many years and I was even married at this point, but I suddenly realized that I had taken my youth for granted and wanted it back. Ironically, the moment I embraced my young age as a great thing instead of a hindrance was the same moment I began to feel welcomed into the grown up club.
Nine years, two kids and a mortgage later, my defining moments of adulthood are mounting more and more quickly. Aside from crossing my fingers for the 2011 Sharper Image catalogue to feature a time machine, there’s not much I can do but give Father Time a big ole hug and poke a little fun at myself.
That said, I present to you 10 ways I know I’m getting old(er):
10. Nobody wants to see me dance. When I watch the Disney Channel with my daughter and start singing and dancing along to the songs, the look of horror on her face would make a passerby think she’d seen a ghost. And, in some ways, she has…..the ghost of my cool past!
9. The metamorphosis into my mother is nearly complete. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see her face or hands. I hear myself talking to my children using the very same words she used with me. It’s an odd transition, but I won’t complain because my mom is great (and she reads this). Just kidding, mom. If I have to turn into someone, there’s no better person to become.
8. I don’t do roller coasters. In fact, I wouldn’t ride one today if you paid me a lot of money to do so. While I’ve never been a huge dare devil, I used to enjoy amusement parks. Now, a trip to a park is simply a necessary evil of parenthood and I have to pop a Xanax just to make it through the day.
7. I choose my seat in the movie theater based on proximity to teenagers. Nothing is more annoying than having my cinematic experience ruined by gum popping, excessive talking, and phone calls. This rule applies to any movie EXCEPT those in the Twilight series because, let’s face it, anyone who goes to a Twilight movie is required to act like a teenager or they won’t let you in. Or at least that’s what I’ve heard……
6. I always have a new, crazy ailment. I’m not a hypochondriac, but it seems I always have some strange ache or pain that bothers me enough to complain about it to anyone who will listen. And did I just use the word ailment? That may just have sealed the deal on an invitation to eat dinner at IHOP at 4:00 p.m.
5. I can no longer justify eating Doritos and Dr. Pepper for lunch. I recently attended an event for college students and was surprised by their food choices. I’ve never seen so many calories being consumed at once! But, if I think hard enough, I can remember the days before calorie counting, daily exercise and discussions about when I should start getting yearly screenings for this or that.
4. I no longer consider my greatest achievement to be getting an A in that 8:00 a.m. class that I never attended. Although you have to admit that’s pretty impressive, right?!
3. I don’t know what to wear on the weekends. Big meeting? I have it covered. Business casual? Done. Work out at the gym? Sure. But if we get invited to a backyard barbecue, I’m at a loss. I just show up in heels anyway and tell myself that pain is a state of mind.
2. I’ve started complaining about “music these days.” The Black Eyed Peas recently sampled the chorus of one of the iconic songs of my generation which just seems, well, wrong. I guarantee most teenagers are walking around singing the lyrics and mistakenly attributing them to the BEPs just like I did when groundbreaking band Ugly Kid Joe (ha!) remade “Cat’s in the Cradle.” History does, indeed, repeat itself. I’m just crossing my fingers we don’t hear Justin Bieber singing “Love Bites” anytime soon or life might never be the same. And, in conclusion, the #1 indicator I’m getting old is:
1. I had to ask someone if the group’s name is Black Eyed Peas or Black Eye Peas!
What humorous or otherwise defining moments of adulthood would you add to the list?