Friday, June 28, 2013

But I Don't FEEL Old

When I was in college, there was a woman who lived down the hall and became a dear friend. With most of my college buddies, I would have said there was a "girl" who lived down the hall and became a dear friend, but this woman was a non-traditional learner who had been out in the world and had a real job but was returning to complete her degree. Although her name was Carol we called her "Mom" because she was old. Old, old, old. Plus she was wise, gave great advice, and cut our hair, just like our own moms did.

When I was in the Peace Corps, there was a woman who was in my training group and became a dear friend. Sixteen of the 17-person group were new college graduates but Solema was a grandmother and she was old. Old, old, old. Never mind that when she threw her back out it was because she fell off the mule she was riding to reach a school the bus couldn't reach.

Know how old Carol was when I met her? 28 years old.

Know how old Solema was when I met her? 52.

I introduce you to these women because when the seven of us leave on our trip tomorrow our ages will be 13, 17, 24, 25, 51, 52, and 58. Why, yes! That would be me bringing up the rear, the caboose on the age train.

But I don't feel old. I don't feel as mature as I thought Carol was when we were in college, or anywhere near as venerable as Solema was in the Peace Corps. Inside, I'm still the doofus I was at 13, albeit now with a driver's license. I'm surprised when a skillet full of scrambled eggs is now too heavy for me to lift with one hand, and when that crepey neck in the mirror is mine.

I need to remember, in the coming week, in the seven days of cramped quarters and unfamiliar conditions with co-travelers, that all of us feel like we're the same age inside and there wisdoms in each age. The younger ones have agility (both physical and mental) and those of us on the other end of the time spectrum have experience.

Then, in spite of the "old woman doing aerobics" graphic my free clip art source kept insisting I should use, I will let the kids help me with my luggage.


  1. I realized the other day that I'm now as old as my high school boyfriend's mom was. I mention her specifically because I thought of her as quite old, and as "trying to be cool" when she talked to us matter-of-factly about things, and yet I don't feel ANYWHERE NEAR as old as I thought of her as being. (Plus, I really am cool when I talk matter-of-factly.) (Right?) It's odd.

  2. Just go shopping for a swim suit - THAT will remind you exactly how "old" you are! It will also cause you to wonder what age they are hiring tasking consultants at now. :)