There was a Buzzfeed quiz I took recently that stated that by clicking on fashion trends you’ve followed, it could tell you how old you are. I, along with some other women around my age, took the quiz, and we all received the same result: We were under 17.
It could be because the trends that were popular when I was in high school have finally come full circle. It could be because Buzzfeed wrongly assumes women over 40 don’t take their quizzes any more. I didn’t know whether to be offended or flattered.
It baffles me that there are potentially 90s-themed parties being held, and that high schools might be throwing proms based around life back then. I know that when I was in college, we routinely held parties tied to decades. But the 90s? Those were just yesterday, right? The fact that people are binge-watching Friends on Netflix is hilarious.
That’s not an old-timey show. That’s not a throwback, any more than Gray’s Anatomy or Survivor is a throwback. Right? Just me? It’s WEIRD. People that I know, that I socialize with regularly, they’ve watched Friends recently, just like I used to watch Happy Days or Laverne and Shirley or any number of shows on TV Land or whatever channel it is.
Rest in Peace, Penny Marshall.
However, let’s be honest here. These days, age-related conversations with my friends deal with things like regular bowel movements, how much sleep we’re getting, and which joints are hurting the most. When we speak about our mental health, it’s about issues we’re already addressing with our therapists. It’s about vulnerability. It’s not complaining about feelings, it’s about saying them out loud - it’s about dragging them out into the light. It’s about some pretty heavy, existential stuff.
I’m not diminishing the mental health challenges facing younger people. They’re just as valid, and real, as the mental health issues being experienced by those of us in our thirties, forties, and fifties. They’re just…different.
I’m not bitter about aging. I think I’m getting better, peeling off the layers of who I thought I should be to uncover who I am. The older I get, it seems, the closer I move to finding that essence buried deep down in there. Sure, I have some issues with the outer parts getting softer, but I know my body better, and there’s a sense of quiet reverence that comes with that knowing.
That sounds dumb. True, but dumb. <— And here we see my inner critic being an asshole. Would I have seen that twenty years ago? Unlikely.
With age comes occasional awareness. It’s kind of a nice prize to earn in exchange for the transition lenses and paying taxes.