Next month I’ll attend my 40th high school reunion. That’s got me thinking about age and aging.
How can that be?! The calendar proves that it’s been 40 years since I walked across that stage and received my diploma. In my mind, however, I think a 40th high school reunion is for old people. And I’m not old!
There have been defining moments over the years when my age made me stop and take notice. Like when the waiters began replacing “miss” with “ma’am.” (Today if I’m called “miss” I cynically think the waiter is hoping for a big tip!) Or when AARP literature appeared in my mailbox, and offers of senior discounts were made. When the upper age in the check-off list for a form moved into the 60s. There’s no denying it, I’m aging, but so what? Consider the alternative.
My co-workers range from their 30s to just into their 60s.
Sometimes we play a little game in the office. One of us will mention a significant event and the others (usually younger) tell us what they were doing when that event occurred. This game really puts recent history into perspective.
[bctt tweet=”There’s no denying it, I’m aging, but so what?” username=”womenoftheelca”]
Like recently when Terri Lackey noted on Facebook that on August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned as U.S. president. I commented, remembering where I was and what I was doing at that moment, just a few weeks short of starting my sophomore year of high school.
Sarah Carson then commented, letting us know that as of that day in 1974, she wouldn’t be born for another 10 and a half years! How different our generational experiences and the events that have shaped who we are today.
Madeleine L’Engle, in her 1971 book A Circle of Quiet, said it best. “I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be … Far too many people misunderstand what ‘putting away childish things’ means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. … [I]f I can retain a child’s awareness and joy and *be* fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.”
So, when I go to that reunion next month, I think I’ll be all grownup.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA.