“When Did Motley Crue Become Classic Rock?”

Select your age range from the following:

  • 18-24
  • 25-31
  • 32-39
  • 40+

Really? 40+? I stop being a worthwhile demographic at 40?

Drop-down menus wield much power. I never really minded aging until I realized that I was gradually moving through the categories and that there weren’t many categories left beyond the one I was currently in. It was a rather humbling realization, and I came to dread filling out online forms.

And then I discovered this little nugget.

Select your birth year from the following:

  • 1900-1910
  • 1911-1920
  • 1921-1930
  • 1931-1940

And so it went, all the way to the new millennium. And finally, I was a youngster on a pull-down menu. There were 6 groups of people who were older than me!

I jest, of course. But it is worth noting that the most poignant reminders of the aging process often come in unexpected places. I expected the slower metabolism and the emerging aches and pains. What I wasn’t prepared for was the waitress who giggled the other day as she told me that she was born the year I graduated from high school. Or my children’s reaction to a rotary phone. “What kind of phone is that? And what kind of phone number has letters in it?” (Remember those? My grandmother’s phone number was CH7-3216.)

And while I’m on the subject, when did “Ma’am” begin to carry such meaning? As a 20-something, and even a 30-something, I appreciated the term as a show of respect. As a 40-something, it feels very different, because it usually comes from someone younger.

My personal space bubble is getting bigger. The text on medication bottles is getting smaller. And I’m in complete denial of the fact that reading glasses might help. I have an unexpected fondness for the “tip of the hat” greeting that I sometimes get in my small town. And the music of my youth is now “classic.” I’m encouraged by the fact that my son frequently helps older shoppers reach hard-to-get-at items, and I’m hopeful that someday, when I need it, a youngster will help me in much the same way.

Most importantly, I’ll enjoy the day with all its Facebook birthday greetings, cards and cake, and be thankful for another year. I will brandish my hard-won knowledge as a badge of honor. And  I will be thankful for the fact that I don’t ever have to go back and do my 20s and 30s again.

I will threaten my children with bodily harm if they ever giggle while uttering the phrase “I was born the year you graduated from high school.” Consider it my gift to all you who have graduated since 1998.


6 responses

  1. I’ve decided that turning 40 tomorrow isn’t going to bother me…you know, that whole “fake it til you make it” philosophy. I hope you have an outstanding birthday and you gotta know how incredibly loved you are! Thank you for being one of my closest friends for over 20 years.

  2. I will be 39 this year…I am actually looking forward to 40! I read an article the other say that life really begins at 50. I thought “Damn it, I thought it was 40, you mean I have to wait another 11 years!”

  3. My thoughts exactly on the aging process. Brought a tear and a laugh, plus a few giggles to this “old lady” today. Thanks

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