When I was 16, my mom and I were window shopping at an outdoor mall (the only kind they had in those days) and as we stood side by side gazing into one of the big JC Penney windows, the sun briefly went behind a cloud and in the relative darkness we could clearly see our reflections staring back at us. She gazed steadily at hers for a minute, leaned a little closer, turned her head slightly to the left. Finally she said, "Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and wonder who that old person is. Inside I still feel like I am 19." I remember mentally rolling my eyes and thinking "Seriously? 19?" Many years down the road, I realized that my mom was all of 39 when she and I gazed into that window...hardly old by anyone's yardstick. Yet for some reason, she felt old.
Remembering that day makes me wonder...what makes you feel old? Is it a number thing...the big 4-0, 5-0, 6-0...7-0? Is it a physical thing when you try to do something you used to do with ease only to find you can no longer do it? Or is it a random moment like my mom's when you gaze into a window and the person gazing back is not someone you recognize? I suspect it is different for each one of us and maybe even different from day to day.
Here are some random things that make me feel my age:
Thinking back on something that happened 40 years ago and realizing it was 40 YEARS AGO!
Watching an NFL game and remarking to my son, that guy looks younger than you...then having my son respond, they are all younger than me
Knowing what a party line was because your family had one
Seeing a friend I haven't seen in awhile and thinking...wow, she looks old
Seeing a screen shot of David Cassidy's DUI booking photo and thinking, wow, he looks old
Seeing a current picture of Madonna and thinking...see above
Getting down on my hands and knees to fish something out from under the couch, then wondering how to get up
Having a friend old enough for Medicare...and then realizing it won't be long....
My mom and I share a passion for old black and white movies...Bette Davis, Rosalind Russell, Lana Turner. We used to snicker at the way the director would shoot the no-longer-in-their-30's leading ladies...with flattering light and a soft, slightly out of focus lens...wondering who they thought they were fooling. I don't know who my mom sees when she catches random glimpses of herself in store windows these days. If she still sees a woman who is older than she expects, I have the answer for her. Take off your glasses...your image will be softly blurred, just like a closeup of Lana Turner.