Is Being Older Irrelevant?

23917309952_de5cbd4619_kI miss being young. I don’t miss everything about it, but I long for the time when my entire future was out in front of me. When I had every possibility in the palm of my hand like the first snowflake of the season.

There are certainly plenty of years still ahead of me and every day my eyes open is another opportunity to accomplish all I’ve wanted to. But those years of being young were simpler times. I miss the ease in which the days passed only bombarded by the trivial mishaps being a teen brings. Of course, there isn’t a teen on the planet that will tell you their lives are easy and I was no different. It is only with the filter of age and time that we can look back at the rough edges of teen life and see only the soft smooth picture that remains.

Things that were important then no longer matter now. I suppose what matters to me today will not matter five years from now either. Or perhaps matter less. The present moment leaves its sting like no other.

If I knew then, walking the halls of my small high school the smell of wax, cooked food and sweat in my nose, what I know now, I would have made different decisions. Not all the decisions. Some were good ones, but others I wouldn’t do again. Even armed with knowledge I’d be bound to make mistakes. We can’t eliminate risk all together though I’ve certainly tried often enough.

There is a level of fun associated with being young that no other time in our lives allows for. Somewhere along the path while I wasn’t paying attention fun slipped away. It wanted to play hide and seek and I was too busy to join in. Shooing it away, telling it to come back later. Fun has found a younger person to play with now.

I may miss being young because our society reveres youth. We disregard the older generation as passe; a burden to contend with. Their stories are thread bare and time wasters. Their skin folded and creased with years of living and not smooth and firm and dewy. They are easily manipulated, not adept with technology. They walk too slowly, drive badly, can’t hear or see you. We are told to fight getting older as if years of wisdom is a war to battle instead an honor to bestow. Society has decided an air brush yields more power than knowledge.

My class reunion is next year. I’m looking forward to it. Many people aren’t interested in returning to the place where they had pimples on their skin, awkward words stuck in their mouths, and two left feet. I think I want to go just to be near the people who knew me when I was young. It was with these people I grew up. We hear music that transports us back to football games on Friday nights, we remember parties on the beach, we wore clothes in neon colors and jeans washed in acid, we read books about children locked in attics and scary clowns. We went to movies on Monday nights with a date.

These were the people in my life long before I had teenagers of my own. My classmates don’t think I’m wrong because I’m old and out dated. Won’t tell me I don’t understand them because they know I was once that age. They won’t roll their eyes at me when I share my memories because those memories are theirs too. My stories aren’t boring and tired because they played a roll in them.

I am not young. That burden is for someone else to carry now. I need to read with glasses when the light is dim, I have eliminated cheese fries from my diet, I hung up my baton a long time ago. I am older, wiser in some ways. I have done some living and have plenty more to do. I have a lot to learn because the older we get we realize we don’t know everything. But I will tell you this:

I am not irrelevant.

 

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6 thoughts on “Is Being Older Irrelevant?

  1. You most certainly are not irrelevant and, taking it from someone who is further along life’s path than you are, believe me when I tell you fun is not hiding far or playing with someone else. It’s in your grasp.

  2. I refuse to consider myself “old”, but I really related to the “years ahead” being fewer than in my teens. (Not sure I want to go back that far either 😉.)

    But: I do have fun. A lot, especially now, that my kids are older. I’ve learned to really play with my students. I play tennis. I walk. I’ve been blessed to be able to go to my cottage, stay the weekend with Hubby and spend time with friends in our small community. (The boys either can’t or don’t want to go.)

    Find the fun, girl. It’s there for the taking. I’m thinking it’s less discriminating at this age, too!

  3. What a lovely reflection, Stacey. As someone who recently turned forty, I long for the simplicity of bygone times, as well — with full acknowledgment that the “good old days” had their share of hardships, too — but I try to appreciate the perspective and wisdom I’ve gained in exchange for youth. We’re the only ones who can consign ourselves to irrelevance; cheese fries may sadly be a thing of the past now (oh, how I know), but we’re still here and, I should hope, making the most of that opportunity every day. Aging is simply a truth of existence, but existence itself is a pretty miraculous thing — a lottery win, really.

    1. Sean, I can’t agree more. Existence is a miraculous thing and a lottery win. I know too many people who have had their lives end far too soon. Every day is a gift and every year older is a blessing. Even if I can’t eat cheese fries anymore. I still have chocolate. Thanks for the response. I always enjoy your well thought out responses.

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