Of course I have known for a long time that I’m no longer young. I look in the mirror, I feel the aches and pains, and I have noticed that pretty much everything on my body that could possibly sag, does. But like most people who are middle aged and older, I still carry around an image in my head of my much younger self and I tend to think that I have the same youthful spirit that I’ve always had. I like to believe that my aging is limited to physical changes, and in many ways, it is. But every once in a while, something happens to make me realize that the gap between the way I look at things and the way actual young people look at things is also widening.
I watch a lot of HGTV, and I’ve noticed that most of the young couples who are either shopping for new houses or trying to renovate a house all want one thing: an “open concept” layout with “sight lines” between the living room, kitchen, and dining rooms. They want to be able to talk to their guests seated in the living room while they are cooking their dinner. Not me. I like old-fashioned houses with lots of walls and the privacy they provide, and I definitely don’t want to try to entertain my guests and cook at the same time. I burn enough food as it is without that added distraction. It’s not a true dinner party at my house unless the smoke alarm goes off at least once.
These days, I can rarely find dressy shoes I like at a regular shoe store, since they all have at least a three-inch heel. I’ve always been a bit too klutzy to walk well in high heels, but now they really hurt my feet and I just can’t tolerate them. I was shopping for for a pair of shoes to wear to my daughter’s wedding next month and came across a nice pair with heels that weren’t too high. Still, I asked the salesman if they came in an slightly smaller heel. “Yes, they do,” he answered. “They’re called flats.”
When I was young, I never minded buying makeup, and sometimes even enjoyed trying new products in the hopes that they would make me look attractive and sophisticated. Not any more. It’s embarrassing when I try to buy the foundation powder I prefer and the perky young clerk tells me that I should get a liquid foundation instead, “because the powder can settle into wrinkles and make them more obvious.” And I really hate it when they recommend products, such as pore minimizers and age-spot faders, that I didn’t even ask for.
A couple of weeks ago, I was flattered to be included in my daughter’s bachelorette party, and enjoyed spending an afternoon at the wineries with her friends. They had rented a bus for everyone to ride down on, but unfortunately it came equipped with a stereo system so that we could enjoy music during the trip. Really loud music with a driving bass beat. The young women were having a wonderful time, often singing along, but the music was giving me a headache and making it hard to hear what anyone was saying to me. On the trip back, I discovered I was sitting next to the volume button, and discreetly adjusted the decibel level. And then I remembered how when I was young, my friends and I made fun of our “old” parents for complaining that our music was too loud. And now I was the old person who was complaining….
I suppose a certain number of attitude adjustments are just a natural part of aging, but it is still a bit depressing at times. But I guess I just have to look at it as training for what’s to come, because I can only imagine how much fun it’s going to be when I have to start shopping for Depends.