Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back in my day...

Hello? Hello?? Is this thing on?...

I can't shake the feeling that something's different.

These bones aren't as agile as they used to be, as evidenced last night when I slid to the passenger side of our car to let J drive home and nearly took out the lower vertebrae in my back. (Thanks goes to either the gear shift or the e-brake for being the culprit, I'm not sure.) Either way, not long ago I could perform such a maneuver with masterful ease, gliding my lithe figure over the center console like a svelte ballerina in a Balanchine production of "The Nutcracker." Mind you, I'm not obese now or remotely close to it, but for some reason these endeavors are harder. More dangerous. Now I can't even hop on the kitchen counter with one knee to reach a top shelf without losing my balance and knocking my (later badly bruised) shin into the dishwasher, nearly taking down the lower two shelves with me.

As much as I joke about being Blanche Devereaux am I, in fact, becoming Blanche Devereaux? I'm only 27. (Insert exasperation.)

Okay, so maybe I still have a few years till I'll need to be researching (subtle) face-lifts and reserving tables for early-bird specials, but the consciousness of my age and my place in the world has become much more palpable. Maybe it's a by-product of hitting your late-20s, I don't know. All I know is birthdays aren't as fun as they used to be and kids these days -- they're listening to the dangdest things. (In my time we listened to Dr. Dre's The Chronic, blissfully unaware of any offense in the lyrical artistry. This was back when Snoop Dogg was actually known for his musical prowess -- "Gin and juice," anyone? -- not for parodying himself on some Mtv dating show.)

Also back in my day: We used the phone to make actual -- gasp! -- phone calls when we wanted to chat with friends, *143 meant "I love you," and the entire world didn't:
  • know about your relationship status (Single and over 30? Do not pass go, do not collect $200.)
  • see those last five parties you acted stupid at (Single, over 30, and still playing beer pong? Game over.)
  • know who you were friends with
  • measure how many "friends" you had
  • automatically got to know what you did for a living
  • know where you lived
  • send you those annoying app invites ("NO!!!! I do not want to play some weird bastardized variant of Scrabble called Frabble with you," my brother says.)
  • try to act like your mother ("With the feeds on the right saying 'you haven't spoken with so and so in a while....why don't you send them a message and make their day?' It actually has the audacity to suggest new friends for me," my brother adds again.)
All because there was. no. Facebook. Or Perez Hilton. (Imagine how different our view of Marilyn Monroe would be had twitter/blogging been around back in the day.)

I started thinking about all this after a conversation I had with my good friend yesterday ...

Me: How was your thanksgiving?
Friend: Good, the fam part was a bit blah, but overall the whole weekend was really good. How was your Thanksgiving.
Me: I had a little too much to drink and ended up passed out snoring on the couch after my third glass of rum w/ lime, how was yours? I ate wayyy too much food. Why was the fam part blah?
Friend: I dunno. It just didn't feel the same this year. It's weird, nothing feels as it should this year.
Me: How come?
Friend: It just doesn't. You don't feel that way?
Me: Kind of, but only around my birthday. For some reason it's really palpable then.
Friend: Yeah especially on my birthday but also this whole year. I dunno, I feel kinda numb in a way.
Me: It's the whole getting older probably. I feel like aging is an ailment, like arthritis, or diabetes.
Friend: Haha, I hope that's not the case.

Me neither, "Friend," me neither...

So what is that numb feeling? Is it an ailment? Or is it just disillusionment with how we perceived our ripe years before 30 were going to be? And what did we expect? Because I've got no regrets -- I've had lots of fun and embarked on many fun and sometimes wild adventures. Is it a lack of money, perhaps, to partake and dabble properly in the wide swathe of what "today" has to offer? Maybe. It's no secret living on a budget sucks and I'm sorry but anyone who says they're okay with being poor is just lying to themselves and trying to make the best out of their situation (which is commendable at best).

I know that age is just a number, and growing old is largely a state of mind (that is, if your arthritis doesn't get the best of you), so what gives? I don't have arthritis ... yet *stops mid-crack of knuckles*. Is it the canyon of a disparity between our generation and the one before us, what with all Facebooking and Myspacing and twittering and blogging that has by and large changed the way we consume/date/interact/stalk? I miss the days when only Wall Street Gordon Gecko-types had cell phones (massive ones, at that), and those phones were actually used for calling, not texting. The only computers we had were the ones where the screens doubled as boat anchors and had only one font/picture color: green, which made playing Oregon Trail that much cooler. There were no apps tipping off your whereabouts to the general public that is your current 567-friend list and privacy was a right, not a privilege.

Don't get me wrong. I love technology; heck, I love Google. I ask myself everyday what people did before it was invented -- then I remind myself that I was one of those people. It's no doubt an exciting time in our history as a people: in the last 20 years alone the innovative boom in gadgets and science has been amazing.

I blog, I twitter, I facebook. So I'm connected and just as guilty as the rest (though I refuse to get a blackberry or touchscreen or anything other than a normal cell phone for normal calls.) But is it possible with all this connectivity that we're actually more unconnected now? More jaded, more cynical? Or is this feeling simply what growing older is all about?


Stephanie said...

Your feelings are totally normal. Welcome to aging! No really, you are at a fantastic age. Enjoy the next 13 years. I just hit 40 and I swear I hurt, have no balance, and fear things like changing ceiling fan light bulbs because i have too take two steps up a ladder or a chair or something. But saying all that, it's not really that bad. I love getting older and gaining more common sense through life experience.

Tania Asnes said...

I think that we are just not accustomed to the 24-hour online availability that is so natural to kids a generation or two younger.

My gripe with it is that it inflates people's sense of self importance (it is *so* important for everyone to know what I ate today) and doesn't force them to cultivate real social skills.

I agree with your sentiment that online "connectivity" is not always a good thing. It is great for keeping in touch with people far away and with groups, but when everything is virtual, one has to assume that reality suffers.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

Mandy said...

First, I again profess my love for you. I really enjoyed this post.

Second, your thoughts are so valid and true, some that I've pondered over recently myself.

Like your friend, I feel distance from some friends and relatives of mine but I also realize that it's because I haven't picked up that normal phone to make a normal phone call in quite a long time. I was just wondering why my SIL hadn't given an update on if she heard back from the job she interviewed for. DUH!? .... Why don't I call her to find out instead of facebook stalking her?! Idiot (banging my head against keyboard).

Lastly, it's good to step away from the technology from time to time when we do find ourselves becoming too jaded or cynical. I am doing that more often these days. And while I realize that the gadgets, gizmos and the Google gods are great, if it all crashed tomorrow, I would survive. We all would. Shocking I know but we would. We may even thrive. And besides, we'd just find another way to communicate and connect. It's in our blood.

But in the mean time, I hope you and your friend feel connected (and youthful like you are) again soon, both to yourselves and to your family and friends. Because really, that's all we got in this world! :-)

me in millions said...

Times they are achangin'...

I find myself scared to use the phone sometimes. I'd rather just shoot out an email. I'm lame though. And I refuse to twitter.

Chloe (Naturally Fruagl) said...

Oh how I feel the same way. My twitter and facebook addiction is absolutely out of control - but then I look at those people who I "follow" and they are more badly off than I am.
I'm thinking about quitting facebook.
Really, truly I am.
I just need to friend Susie Q to see how many babies she's popped out since high school....

Anonymous said...

Great post. As much as I frequently play the part of the optimist, part of me also feels that "this is it?" - especially around my birthday, and holidays. I think its a little bit of disillusionment and also the due to technology. I rely far too much on text messages, email, and facebook to catch up with friends. When I do find myself on the phone, I'm anxious to get off after a minute or two. The only person I really have the patience to gab with is my grandmother...

Tracy said...

You are feeling the same things I have been feeling ever since my 25th birthday, after that one they just didn't seem fun anymore. This year was my 30th, and while I am not depressed about it or anything it has definitely been a little difficult to think of myself as being in my thirties now.

Another reminder of my age was the difference in my pregnancies; the first one at 25 was SO much easier physically than the next one at 28.

I have actually started using some "wrinkle" creams too, which just freaks me out if I stop and think about it.

Some of the things that have made growing older so worth it though are: myself maturing along with my husband and friends, my two beautiful daughters, my relationship with my mom has gotten better and better...there are more I'm sure but you get the picture. Remember to enjoy everyday no matter what your age!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

I do think we are slightly more unconnected- don't know how that's possible but it is true.

Thank you for your comments on my blog- I really appreciate it xo

Revanche said...

*snap, crackle, pop!*

Aside from simply not being as spry as we used to be, life doesn't seem as fresh anymore now that we've been adults for almost ten years. The shine will come back in other ways, I think, more of a burnish from our experiences and knowledge than the sparkly wonders we once saw in life, but it'll be back.

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