Publication: The Times
I first noticed it at my nieces 25th birthday party. I even made a comment to my sister-in-law sitting next to me. And then again about a month later while attending a wedding shower for the daughter of a longtime friend, I noticed it again. There I was, sitting in the back row of the group, not among the young or even middle-aged, but in the mezzanine of matriarchs. Let's be clear, this was not assigned seating, I chose my place among the oldsters.
It's hard when the reality of time thumps you on the head with the reminder that you have become a member of a group that well-mannered youngsters give up their seats for. I wasn't the oldest in attendance at the party, that was a sweet lady up front so she could see and hear what was going on.
A few weeks ago on the local news, the anchor mentioned that an elderly (one year younger than me) woman was in an accident and passed away. My condolences to the family but what age constitutes elderly? I'm not middle-aged, the oldest person on earth has not lived to what that would make me, so what am I? A whisker away from full retirement, am I post middle-age, pre-elderly or almost-olderly?
Hey, all you up front youngsters, if you were wondering, (and I know you were not), what the women in the back, who politely drank punch and ordered decaf with cake were talking about, let me tell you.
While you were celebrating by saving ribbons and slicing the half-sheet covered in butter-cream frosting, we were talking about you. About what a joy you were when you were little, about whether you gave your parents gray hair, or about how smart, beautiful and noble you have become. And it's not just you we were discussing.
At family events we look lovingly at all the kids who have grown up, some having kids of their own. When they were little, who knew which hellions would turn out to be cops, farmers, teachers or doctors or which perfect child would drop out, for a life of dead-end jobs, while continuing to live in the childhood bedroom they refuse to leave.
Some of the athletic ones have become couch potatoes. The ones once most in need of a make-over, because of video games and soda with sugar, have become health nuts. One kid, I am most in awe of, went from being a substance-abuse horror show, every parent has nightmares about, to graduating college, being married with children and living a squeaky clean life while pulling down a job with a six figure salary.
Of course when examining the outcomes of the younger set it is with trepidation we examine and put into perspective, our own humble beginnings - for about 30 seconds. Looking back at my own indiscretions does nothing but feed the regret of, if I knew then what I know now, I would have had a heck of a lot more fun then.
I like being a member of the experienced set because that means I can enjoy myself and not worry about all the stuff young people have to worry about these days like, global warming, student loans, apps and whether my iPhone is charged. All I have to worry about is whether I can figure out how to program my GPS so I can find my way back home. I'll take another slice of cake and another cup of coffee, decaf please. Enough said.