Thursday, March 7, 2013

Birth Year Bummer

There are many events – usually small incidents – that make us realize we are getting on in years. Aging. Entering senior citizenhood.

It might be physical changes. It could be milestones such as a 60th or 65th birthday. Maybe it is signing up for Medicare or Social Security.

Or it could be the act of filling out an online form with a dropdown box for your birth year.

For a long time I did not mind scrolling down – down – down until my year of birth eventually appeared.

But each year the list gets a little bit longer.

And the years roll by.

The 2000s. They went quickly, years of work, children’s marriages, and grandchildren.

Then we re-enter the 20th century, and the years scroll past quickly –

The 1990s. The kids graduated high school and college and went out on their own.

The 1980s. Job moves, raising two boys, volunteer activities, work. Busy decade!

The 1970s. Graduated college, married, had babies.

The 1960s. Tumultuous international, national, and personal times. My teen years. Junior high, high school, college, boy friends.

The 1950s – The beginning of my world.

I worry that someday the scrolling will end before reaching my mid-century birth year. The fact that I am finally reaching maturity cannot be overlooked or ignored.

I comfort myself thinking about all the years ahead of me and the many wonderful things I am going to do.

And I feel that way most of the time.

Except when I feel really, really tired after an exercise class.

Or when I try to keep up with younger folks walking, biking, snowshoeing, or doing anything.

Or look in the mirror (who is that woman with the gray roots, circles around her eyes and that neck?)

Or try to have a conversation with someone more than a decade younger on a whole range of subjects, including and especially pop culture (never heard of that person. A Grammy winner? Pop star? Married to whom? And he is…oh, never heard of him either.)

Or when I spend time with the grandchildren and wonder – how did I ever do it?!

And when I find myself scrolling down that long list of years.

Maybe that is why so many seniors plop themselves down in the middle of a retirement/active adult community. They know the topics of conversation. Can keep up with the pace of physical activity. Do not feel bad about their aging physiques. Go to bed long before midnight. They laugh, play and commiserate with others who understand. They all have a lot in common.

All of them have to scroll far, far down that dropdown box to find their birth year.