Friday, August 17, 2007

You're (only) as old as you feel

I'm blogging from the top-secret conference location where I've been for the past few days. This is a conference that I've never attended before, but it's similar to my usual fare in this respect: although the gender balance is close to 50/50 (slight edge for the men), there is exactly one person of color and the median age is probably at least 55 (and I think it's only that low on account of a handful of rather young graduate students). So: very old, very straight, and very white.

I mention this not to imply that it hasn't been fun--because it has--but rather to assure you, if you needed any reassuring, that what I work on is So Not Hot. I don't have a problem with the lack of hotness of my field(s), and we wouldn't be together if I didn't think that it had a totally amazing personality. . . but sexy it's not.

Sometimes I think that I am, secretly, a 63-year-old man.

When Lulu and I were first living in New York, we used to joke that we were "young old people," because we kept finding ourselves in ridiculously uncool places like the bar at "21" or the Carlyle, where we were younger than everyone else by at least 30 years. (Well, it was either that, or it was Limelight or Twilo at 5 a.m., and I'm not sure that we fit in there any more readily.)

And just last month, at Victoria's wedding, I wound up seated at a table next to one of her cousins, a woman whom I'd initially assumed to be my own age. We were talking about her job--interesting but probably not a career--and her love-life--frustratingly nonexistent. After I ascertained that she'd graduated from college just two or three years ago, I said, "You know what? I wouldn't be twenty-five again if you paid me."

"Really?" She said. "Why?"

I explained that I'd had a lot of fun in my 20s, but that it had been frustrating, even at the time, because everything felt so aimless and so undecided. No one I knew had any real idea of what he or she wanted to do, or where to live, or who to be with. The apartments we lived in were awful. The parties were awful--or at least hot and crowded and filled with the awful friends of one's friends' awful roommates. And the men (blanket apology here to all current and former 20-something males), they were definitely awful. We didn't know, honestly, who we were--and it was a different kind of not-knowing than it had been in college. In college, having unlimited opportunities was exciting. Post-college, it seemed dilettantish and like we were already failing at life.

Now, though, I finally feel like an adult, and I like that. I like having friends who are also adults. The parties are better. The people are worth talking to--or if they're not, they're not one's friends.

(As for being 63, that will probably come eventually. Being male, not so much.)


Hilaire said...

I think I am a bit like you. I was always, in spirit, way older than my age. And now that I am older, I am pleased as punch! (To use a very *old* expression!) I have none of the anxiety that so many people have about milestone birthdays, etc. Bring them on!

Anonymous said...

Funny, just made me think of Avenue Q. Which I just saw last night, incidentally. So maybe not such a coincidence.


life_of_a_fool said...

I definitely agree with you that being 25 again is *not* appealing at all.

At the time, I always felt older than my age. In some ways that may have been true, but in other ways I was very very much my age, if not younger.

I wouldn't mind staying my current age for awhile though.

Dorabella said...

I think it's a matter of surrounding yourself with compatible people, no matter what age you are. In high school a friend and I regularly referred to ourselves as Statler and Waldorf, the pair of old man Muppet curmudgeons. Tonight, about five years later, I had a good-humored exchange with one of my roommates about how lame we are as evidenced by our present lack of desire to do anything Saturday-night-ish. I live with, hang out with, and keep in regular contact with enough early-twentysomethings who gravitate toward "elderly" lifestyle preferences (honestly, we're a bunch of dorks) such that I don't feel like a freak myself, heh. And life is quite nice.

But I'll probably need to think about this again, once I've been out of undergrad for more than three months--perhaps we've all just not reached that "bad" sort of not-knowing and aimlessness yet. I can see how the joke about failing at life could become much, MUCH less funny with time.

(Though it's nice to hear that if the men suck now, that that's likely to get better on its own!)

Anonymous said...

If you think you're young then you're young even in 60's, If you feel that you're old then you're old even in your 20's. Most of us, in our teenage period want to get old, at least for the eligibility of get marry someone. But when we nearing the old ages we want our youth back. If this is a case we never enjoy our life. We should accept the reality, and enjoy every moment.
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