I always wanted to do what my older brothers and sisters were doing; I couldn’t wait to reach the next milestone. Not any more. Here are just 10 of the many facets of my rude awakening:
- My mid-life crisis began at the same time as the financial crisis in 2008, but only one of them has ended.
- I’m no longer prematurely gray. It’s just gray. All of it.
- I used to explain pop culture references to my kids; now they explain them to me.
- I have two kinds of contact lenses – one bifocal, one regular – but I usually just wear my glasses and squint a lot.
- I use scissors to open everything. Everything.
- I now like grapefruit juice and black coffee.
- At the school play many people assume that I am there as a grandparent.
- I would rather watch Downton Abbey than Breaking Bad.
- I fall asleep during the first musical guest on SNL, regardless of who the host is.
- The sweaters I brought home as keepsakes from my 80-year-old mother in 2003 are starting to look good on me.
Oh, yes, there are wonderful things: children old enough to help out and talk about everything with, decades-old friends and memories, a whole lot of perspective about what matters, not getting carded. While I can’t say the same about myself, I think my mother was at her most beautiful when she was the age I am now. Her life was completely crazy then, I know now, but all I remember from that period was her confidence and style though my nine-year old eyes. And as the years went on she never shrank back, never gave up, always stayed current and engaged with the world.
If she were here today she would be glued to the TV, doing her own analysis and pontificating on the Papal conclave. One of my last memories of her, ten years ago, is of her watching the unfolding scandals in the Church and declaring that a new reformation was afoot – even in hospice she was doing color commentary. She wasn’t always right about everything, of course, but she was always interesting. In practically the same breath as she spoke of the Catholic crisis, she confessed to having a crush on Donald Rumsfeld. I hope I’m saying things like that when I’m eighty.