Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Business of Aging

I saw a movie last night that was pretty "eh" to me but did make me think a little.

It was called While We're Young and told the story of a couple in their early 40s whose friends are all having babies (RELATABLE), so they kind of have this midlife crisis and start hanging out with young hipsters. Anyway, the movie had some great moments and then some really "wha?" parts and didn't really leave me with a clear message or point. So don't take this as a recommendation lest you get bored and blame me.

But the parts of the movie I did like were all the parts about coming to grips with aging. This is something I've thought about in daydreamy moments lately. 

I'm only 28. I hardly feel old, as a whole -- it's more like I'm recognizing that every year gets me closer to being "old" (whatever number that is) and it just kind of bleeds in subtly, unannounced, when you aren't looking. I feel too old for some things, here and there. Like when I want to go home early from parties to sleep or curl up with a book/TV show. (See: Veronica Mars DVDs these days. Any fans out there? I'm a first-timer and it's totally my speed so far.) And also, the last time I went to a rock concert, in October (the fact that it's been that long is an aging sign in and of itself for me) it took me like 24 hrs to recover from a night of standing/dancing in a sweaty crowd until a very late hour. Am I losing my edge?

And there's all the good parts of aging, like losing my tolerance for dead-end situations or relationships that I so easily gave too much time/emotional energy to when I was a little younger. The good parts like learning to take care of myself and recognizing dysfunction when I see it. And learning to not add dysfunction or unwarranted criticism/ego to other people's lives, myself, when it's better that I just bite my tongue and let someone else be right or learn things on their own instead of trying to insert my opinions. Always working on that one. Maybe I'll officially declare myself old and wise if I ever fully get there.

Or there was also the time recently, when in a fit of "I need to meet new people and I hate online dating so so so much every time I try it," I checked out local meetup.com groups.....and ended up joining a local Scrabble group. From the looks of things, the age difference between me and most other attendees can be measured in decades. It's not unappealing, but will likely do nada for my entropic dating life. Never say never? Shrug. We'll see if I go. I do own my own Scrabble board that I found at Goodwill.

Those meetup.com groups might go better for my dating life if my hobbies weren't Scrabble, crossword puzzles, thrift store shopping, cross stitching and the occasional bout of knitting. I also really like watching Antiques Roadshow? And croquet? 

I'm not special-unicorn-brained enough to think I'm the ONLY person my age who's into these sorts of traditionally geriatric things. And I'm also not silly-brained enough to think that I have to have the exact same things in common with people to want to hang out with them.

I think my point is that there is a certain....slowing down....to growing up, and that I can feel it more and more here and there these days. It just kind of strikes me in quiet moments now and again.

For my 28th birthday, I wished for steadiness. So far so good, with the new stable job I just started. Things feel very calm in a lot of my life arenas. And it is delicious, in a lazy front porch, warm summer evening kind of way. Which is one of my favorite kinds of ways. Toss in a little tank-top wearing and roof-sitting with stars to look at, fireflies and a little humidity in the air and I'm golden.

Tangents. Anyway.

I think while I was watching that lukewarm movie last night, it just reminded me of my own moments lately where I can feel the calming, even current of growing up. And sometimes that hits me with a side dish of panic that "time is running out; am I doing everything I want to be doing??" Because yeah, I feel that like anyone else. I know that biological clocks are ticking and bodies only stay in youthful condition so long, and that the dating pool does in fact get thinner and more difficult the older you get. That's no joke. And sometimes that makes me antsy and I worry I'm going to look back one day and realize I ran out of time to do important things that I should have done while the opportunities were still ripe for the picking. Because there's just one life, you know? Just one chance at it. Just one story to write. No going back and redoing any of it.

But then again, life is joy. And I'm human enough to have those life crisis moments sometimes, but also "me" enough to ultimately just settle back on that emotional rooftop and keep on soaking in the contentedness of a warm summer night firefly season of life. The kind of season where things aren't exactly perfect if you think too hard, but they're not bad by any means either if you can just tune out some of the buzzing. And as long as life will let me keep taking it one workday, lazy weekend morning and/or adventure at a time, I'll just keep moseying along with it for now. Because like I said, no more fighting. Unless it's the good kind of fighting for the good kind of things. Not now. Just that steadiness. And maybe a crossword puzzle or Scrabble game or two. You know.


emi said...

well said ... and love this picture!

Carmen Varner said...

Aging has been good for me. I know so much more than I did when I was a silly 18-year-old. For that I'm thankful otherwise I'd keep making those same mistakes. :]

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