Sunday, November 07, 2010

At What Point Are We Considered Older?

"Everything old becomes new again."

I'd like to think that about myself, but I don't think it'll be happening anytime soon...unless I get Botox and color my hair and drop quite a number of pounds to get me looking like my teenage daughter does...which is how I once looked.

But this season, when I saw the fashions, I wondered exactly how many times/cycles I'd seen these same fads: faux fur; leopard prints; wedgie-heeled boots, etc. I didn't like those styles then -- whenever then was, whatever decades these styles appeared -- and I certainly don't like them now.

Am I old?

There was a time that I used to love getting the Toys 'r Us flyer to peruse through... once upon a time, I liked seeing what kinds of toys I'd have enjoyed having as a kid. Later on, I would look what I could buy my own three children. These days, I skip to the high tech toys in the flyer, gawk at the price, then recycle the flyer.

Am I old?

I couldn't understand when my dad retired and kept busy  in his later years by going grocery shopping with my mom. They'd examine the supermarket flyers, make lists, and then make an expedition of it, going from store to store to pick up the necessities. I'd always hear of the friends and acquaintances they met in these stores and caught up with. Was that the new social life for them? I'd wonder.

These days, I can't wait for my weekly flyers so that I can peruse the different deals at the stores, assemble my stock of coupons and head out -- usually with no cash, save some coinage, but lots of store credit cards.
I average about 2-3 hours on my multi-supermarket getaways, walking up and down the aisles, looking at the displays, discovering new sales...and basically frittering away valuable time that could be used for household chores. I often run into people I know, stand there catching up while my refrigerated and frozen goods start to thaw. (How many times have I had to go back to the frozen gefilte fish display and exchange a slowly-but-surely defrosting couple of loaves, for newly frozen ones?!)

Am I old?

I was thinking about it the other day and decided I've always been a bit of an "older soul." My nurturing and mothering instincts were evident when I was still quite young, always looking out for other people and worrying about them if they were hurting.

When I was around eight years old and again when I was twelve and thirteen, my family went to Jewish resorts, both in Southern Ontario and in the Catskills. What did I really enjoy doing? Playing shuffleboard! And in the Catskills, I'd go both to teen club and also to adult sing-a-longs that featured American standards geared to a middle-aged and aging population.

From the time I graduated university until about six years ago, I volunteered with a cataloging committee for Ontario Jewish Archives. I brought the average age down by a good thirty-five years. Always the youngest, enjoying doing this volunteer work with seniors.

I was gathered with friends today for a close and longtime girlfriend's 49th birthday. Talk quickly touched on our birthdays next year: our 50th. One friend who turned 50 this year assured us: "It's okay. It's really okay."

No, I have no problems with turning 50; I'm still young looking and think very young. It's just the energy levels and body that ain't what they used to be. But I'm ready to meet that half-century mark -- when I can look both back and ahead.

Will I still ask: Am I old? Or will I  state: "I'm not old. I'm simply....older! ....And lovin' it!"