Becoming O.L.D

by on December 8th, 2010
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“Derrick, can you show me how to …” This sentence can be completed with a number of things I frequently go to my 23 year old son on for help. As I have gotten older, I find myself seeking his advice more often. It all seemed to unravel when I turned 50.

Never a Cute Kid

To put it bluntly, I was a tomboy. I didn’t care about pretty dresses, or bows in my hair. I rode my bike endlessly, climbed trees, played kickball in the street. I was so much of a tomboy, my mother sent me to modeling school to teach me how to “walk like a lady”. There I learned to wear a dress, apply make-up without putting my eye out, and ultimately, how to walk like a lady. In heels. But because I never felt “pretty” on the outside, I haven’t mourned the changes occurring to my face as I got older. As far as I was concerned, I could “create pretty” at any given time with hair and makeup. It was all an illusion.

No Longer Growing Up

Just like the cornea of the eye can start to cloud as we age, brain flexibility also starts to change. Speaking Spanish, which came so easy to me when I was 18, has slipped away. How many of my same age friends and co-workers admit to entering a room and not remembering why we were there? My issue? Telephones and TV remote controls.

I find myself increasingly agitated over dropped telephone calls. I don’t mean cell phone calls. These dropped calls can happen when I am on a landline, talking to another person on a landline. So, when these dropped calls happen, I can’t stop myself from telling the person I am talking to that I remember the time when the phone always worked. When there were no dropped calls. Heck, I remember when there was only one Ma Bell.

The remote controls in my house have also become a challenge. We don’t have a universal remote. There are different controls for each component. If I want to use the home theater system with the DVR, that transaction requires three different controls. AND the sequence of events has to be in a certain order for them to work! REALLY?

When I was younger, I could have been a professional student. I loved learning and trying new things. Now it just seems that learning something new has become a chore. This is one of the reasons why I am desperately holding onto my old cell phone. There is nothing new to learn. Just answer the phone when it rings.

Becoming O.L.D.

More disturbing than any physical changes were the signs that, without my knowledge or consent, I was becoming O.L.D. Allow me to explain.

“O” stands for outdated. My all time favorite professional outfit (look, I used the word “outfit”) is a navy blue suit – with pearls. Ok, in the ’80s I worked for law firms. I haven’t updated my wardrobe since then. It’s sad, I tell you. I still have clothes from high school. Wait. I still WEAR clothes from high school. I am woefully outdated.

“L” stands for lost. So, not only am I outdated, I am not sure how to get up-to-date. I flip through fashion magazines, but I have to tell you, I don’t connect with them. I don’t want to be young, I just don’t want to look or feel like a dinosaur.

“D” is for disconnected. There is a whole generation of people I don’t understand. There are whole genres of movies and music for which I don’t get the attraction. For example, I don’t get the whole Twilight series. To me, Edward was a creepy stalker, not a romantic vampire. But I do understand that every generation has their clothes, their movies and music. Perhaps I am not supposed to understand because I am not a part of that group. My group is scouting out AARP discounts.

Pedaling My Bike Uphill

Somehow I thought that as I got older, things would be easier. Yes, I can load the dishwasher in 30 seconds flat. But things that are important to me have become … a bit more of a challenge. Staying connected to those I care about is hard when the world is moving that the speed of light. Older folks get set in their ways, I believe, because it is easier. You do what you know. But when you stop growing, you die. I, however, can’t go without understanding the new Facebook timeline. “Derrick, can you help me with my Facebook page? Wait. Never mind. I can figure it out.”


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