Saturday, September 27, 2014

Aging in 2014: Fitting In with the Kids

Note: Feeling old? You have to read or reread this blog post called Don't Act Old. I even laughed at it and I wrote it.

When I received a comment from Mary on yesterday's post about the Peter Pan Syndrome and the need to remain young forever, I stopped in my tracks. Here is what she said:
If you are going to be a dino
at least be scarey!
This was a great post. I just retired last year, but I am just the opposite of the retiree who wants to stay forever young. It was actually retirement that brought me to the point where I could face the aging process head on and become who I really wanted to be. It was while I was still working that I did 'all the right things' to stay young. I can sit back now and see how hard it was on me. My oldest co-worker was 20 years my junior. I was of another generation than everyone else, and I worked so hard to fit in that I forgot about who I am. Today I am comfortable with me. 
She took me back to a blog post I wrote back in 2009 referencing an article in More magazine regarding fitting in the work place. In that blog post I talked about several things the writer thought made an older worker appear to be well... very not cool. Here were some of the things she mentioned in her rave against acting old that I thought I was guilty of:
We all tend to do this once in a while, rave that is...even those of us that are guilty of some of the sins she described. We don't "keep going" at the grocery store and tend to block the aisles while we try to find the right hair dye color, we don't text with our thumbs and well, we probably all still leave voice mails. Most of us wear watches and if we leave it at home, aren't smart enough to just check our cell phones for the time. Many of us are walking office or cocktail hour "archives", spouting more information than anyone ever wants. The author from More was just plain irritated by all these things and thought that, if you were still working, you should avoid doing these things...especially in front of your co-workers. In her mind, they just made you appear older than you really were. (Or could it be it made them appear the age you really are.)
Note: When I wrote this post I had not broke myself of the habit of double spacing after the end of a sentence. My posts had many uneven margins as a result...another hint that I am not as young as I could be. 
Have things changed in the last almost 6 years? Do workers like Mary have a whole new list of "fitting-in" requirements? I know it must be very hard to fit in with workers that are 20 years younger. We all can remember when we were 20 or 35 or 42 and it really wasn't THAT long ago. When I see comments like Mary's, I become very grateful for retirement and even for being old. I think she is like me in that she is very lucky to not have to worry about fitting into a world that disregards your knowledge or experience. Being young must be such a burden...all those old people around and everything.

On the other side of the coin I am also aware that we older people really do need to be aware of our public demeanor...even though I sometimes just don't want to think about it. People don't treat me right when I let myself go for example. I don't want to dress younger, I just want to look like a person a younger person would treat with respect. Here is another balancing act. After my blog post yesterday I thought I would tip over because I knew there was much more to that story on no worrying about aging anymore.

Let go back to a post I wrote back in 2011 called 7 Restaurant Behaviors. I suppose it was a bit of a rant that was prompted by something that had happened to me. As I reread it today, I saw that I seem to keep coming back to the subjects mentioned in that post. Evidently I am still bothered by people that complain about the price of a meal when we are in a restaurant, share a meal at a five star establishment, don't tip enough and spend the whole meal talking about their ailments.

I saw this in Mexico when we were there last week. A group of 8 expat retirees came into a 5 star restaurant, sat in the main dining area and ordered 3 appetizers or desserts to share. I thought the waiters were going to fall over laughing. It was kinda cute but it also was kind of silly. Remember, there was a bar with seating that served small bites and that is where they should have been. I wanted to go home, dye my hair black and pretend I was 55.

I think the point here is that the social part of our lives does not change that much as we age. While we may not be chasing the evil wrinkles away or putting on makeup just in case someone sees us, when we are in public, our life is not all about us. It never has been and it never will be.

Any thought?



  1. You might have to get used to that business of sharing plates at 5 star restaurants. It still surprises me, but I'm seeing it more and more. It doesn't seem to be about saving money, but more about sampling a variety of items, and adjusting the portion to ones appetite. It may look silly, but it's sensible!

  2. Yes you are probably right. I suspect it is all about how you do it. In the end the costumer is the boss. I think it may have to do with pride

    But it seems to me that good manners never go out of style. we often share a meal or appetizer but there are lines we should not cross. I for one don't want to act like I am in over my head. If I cannot afford it I should go someplace else.

  3. Life will always be the way that we perceive it, which in most cases may not prove to be the truth. My girlfriends and I, ever since our college days have always split appetizers and desserts. We do it for our constant desire to watch our calories. Never once did it enter our minds about costs. We just want a 'taste' of something. Not the whole enchilada (no pun intended). Guys do the very same thing: they just want a taste of something. Has nothing to do with costs.
    I inherited my father's early grey hair at age 21. And I had been dying it ever since then a pale blonde to cover it up. I got my first senior citizen discount when I was only 48, simply because I was wearing a wool hat and my grey hair was peeping out from under it. Rather than get upset, I've been happily enjoying all those thousands and thousands of dollars I've come to enjoy several years earlier in my lifetime thanks to my gorgeous grey hair! (I no longer dye it, but I do have it cut in a youthful pixie hairstyle)
    I never waited till I got older to enjoy my life. I did it as soon as possible! I'm the same person today that I was at 14, 21, 35 or 58. I've had arthritis in my fingers since I was 40. I don't think about my age at all. I just do it! If I'm with a bunch of toxic people, I move or leave the premises. I did the same thing in high school, college or on the job.
    The only give-a-way to age, IMHO, is the stealth weight gain. My fault. Not mother nature. And that's why, even to this day, when I'm dining with my buddies, we share appetizers and desserts. And if a waiter snickers, there's always that tipping thing. Just chuck it off to old people not tipping much, eh?
    Just because I am in my sixties is absolutely no excuse for me to give up my daily yoga stretches (since 1975) multible weekly walks/hikes, stay up with current events, watch my money and my calories. I still can be found wearing college jeans and a tee shirt.
    One night, when my youngest was in college, she and I were riding the elevator up to her dorm room, when a fellow student friend of hers got on on one of the floors. Snidely, he said to me and my daughter "Whadya doing? Baking cookies tonight?" No, I said. I'm here to erase DD2's hard drive and I'm loading in a new operating system. The stunned look on his face was priceless.
    His bad. Certainly NOT mine.
    I still do all of the uploading/upgrading into everyone's computer, laptop, iPhones, iPads yada, yada yada. Why wouldn't i?
    I don't believe that we get older. The world around us does. And that is their prob. Not mine.

    1. You said it girl...thank you for for comments. Sometimes I do these things to see if anyone is actually listening.

      It is a balancing act I think though. I have just seen too many old people behaving badly and giving everyone a black eye.

      Thank you again.


    2. I wanted to add something here...isn't it true that it is not what you do but who you are or how old you are? Couldn't it be that behaviors by a younger person would not have been acceptable when they were older or even younger?

      It is a thought!


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