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.)
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.
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?