My generation. I am not a millennial, and I am not generation X. Us late 70’s and early 80’s babies did not grow up with social media keeping tabs on everything we did. We played Oregon Trails, and watched Mary die of dysentery. We climbed trees. We took candy from kind neighbors. We rode our bikes. We yelled over the tall trees to our other friends to come out to play. We threw down our bikes where we pleased. We played time machine in the closet. We paid a nickel for a lollipop at the corner market. We would go swimming, play telephone, and dress up. Do dance routines, croon overs to pop stars played at level 13 on the boombox, and swoon over Johnny Depp’s Cry Baby poster in the corner.
Our parents were products of growing up in the 50’s and 60’s and partly 70’s for some. They lived through a lot of change, the Vietnam War, voices of liberation, breaking freedom, and the ever emerging music scene surrounding rock n roll. Their parents lived through the Great Depression, and World War II. The evolution of rock n roll, blues, country kept spinning into some of the best music our little world has ever seen in my humble opinion. Mom and Dad would run off to an AC/DC concert. Grandma would sing along to the Supremes, and teach me the hand signs to the music. What about Great Grandma? Did anyone ever notice those older older generations didn’t act the same as the rest? They were more reserved. They acted “old”. Maybe it is because they were kind of old?
What is it to act old or older anyways?
Q-tips as my Grandfather called them. You know…that couple who walks about with white hair and white trainers. Those are Q-tips. My grandfather who I like to think is pretty cool told me that little definition. Were the Q-tips acting “old”? Maybe? It is hard to say without talking to one from the Q-tip tribe. My grandfather still acts young…actually no… he acts like himself! This is probably the most important thing to do, right? When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see the wrinkles, and the whole life you have led? All of the stress, and challenging lessons you have endured? Do you see the happiness, joy, and love you have experienced? Do you think about all of that at just a glance? Chances are you do not reminisce every time you look at your face in the mirror. Do you see the twenty something? The thirty something? The forty something? So on, and so forth? Or do you just see, “YOU”.
I met a man recently who was close to 90 years old. He looked like he was in his 60’s. I asked him what his trick was. He said that he supposed he didn’t “act his age”. He asked me, “What is it to act your age anyways?”, and I said I didn’t really know? He said he remembered his parents, and how they were cranky, depressed, and serious all the time. Is that old? Is that acting your age? When an adult is acting like a child, and we say act your age what do we really even mean? I guess to act more responsible. He went on to say he just does what he wants, and what he feels like. He doesn’t really think about his age. He just does what makes him happy. Maybe that is why he looked so young. He didn’t act old and serious like his parents who both later died of cancer.
I talked to another woman today about aging. What is it to age, and act our age. Are we actually ever done developing? When is a person done learning everything they can? The truth is that no one is ever done developing. We are all half baked. We are never really done learning things in this world. You can fight against learning new lessons. You can think your mind is done developing, and wait around to die. But what quality does that give to your life? I have seen first hand the people who we think are toast, burnt ends, overcooked so to speak, and they still are the last to accept impending death. Again, the mind is ever evolving, and ever developing. Some of us accept death, and some do not. It happens to everyone though. All we can do is try to enjoy this ride whether is be incredibly messy, or with the grace of a butterfly balancing on a blade of grass. If we did what we wanted all along would it make dying easier? Who knows! But it honestly couldn’t hurt in most circumstances.
So we all do the best we can. We are the Fool card in the tarot deck with the innocence of children. We are lucky that we are from previous generations that want to be themselves, listen to the music they want, wear the clothes they want, and be the people who they want to be. THIS is what makes people appear younger than they really are as we age. We have fought for these freedoms in the past which had lead us to this very spot. Todays grandparents can be hippies, rockers, artists, eclectics, and whatever they damn well please. That is something that is pretty fucking great to me. Also how about freedom of speech! (wink, wink). It is great that our previous generations have set us up to live our best lives. Just remember, we all are a work in progress, and we are all just half baked. So… keep on cooking good looking. You got this thing called life. Don’t waste it. It’s your own recipe.
-K. K. Powell