Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Perceptions of age

As a child, all adults seemed, well, OLD! Parents of my friends were all ancient and teachers were probably nearing retirement or at least that is how I perceived it. As I am advancing in age towards my (gulp!) fifties this year, a couple of things have made me realize how very far off my perceptions were.

I just received news that the secretary to the high school principal of my local high school passed away on Sunday. At the first telling, it didn't really surprise me. I mean, I graduated more than 30 years ago and, while I never really thought about her age, I was positive that she must be older. I figured she had retired from her job years ago. Imagine my surprise when I read a post from a former high school teacher that mentioned how strange it would be for her to go to school on Monday and not see Mrs. Curtis there. Huh?!? Was the poor woman still working? How could that be? I followed the link to her obit and discovered that she was only 65! That means she was in her early thirties when I was in high school! How could that be? She was old! At least that is the way I remembered her.

I have also become a facebook friend with the woman who lived directly behind me when I was growing up. In our small rural town, no one was particularly well off but this family had less than most of us. However, it was always a joy to visit their home because it was always full of fun and full of love. It makes me smile to remember their teeny tiny little house with the crank washing machine. She wore her hair up in a very old fashioned bun and wore cotton house dresses .She dressed like my grandmother! My mother dressed much more modern and had an up-to-date haircut. I knew that she wasn't as old as my mother but I had no idea until recently at how very young she really was. Her children posted birthday congratulations on her facebook page and I figured out that she was in her twenties and early thirties in my youth. I could hardly believe it. The cool thing, however, is that from my conversations with her and from all of the photos posted on her page, her home is still full of fun and still full of love. No surprises there!

I didn't become a mother until I was in my thirties. However, I don't consider myself old even though I have lots of white hairs. I just wonder what my son's friends think of me. Do they think I am old? Tell me it ain't so!

Here's to not being old!


  1. When I was 15, and my oldest brother turned 30, I figured his life was over. Kaput. I mean, he was so OLD.

    This year, he'll be 68, which doesn't sound old at all anymore...ok, maybe a little.

    The older I get, the older OLD gets. Maybe I'll feel old when I'm 80...maybe not.

  2. your not old! But i do so get this post and the whole perception thing in regard to K-2nd grade I went to a small school it only went up to 5th grade but man those 5th graders were like giants and seemed so old to me...i have other instances that is just one that stuck out...

    as for when we start school so we seem to get out early-it is typically around Aug 12th give or take 3 days, then we have 5 snow days built in...i know most of the country starts after labor day....we still get almost 3 months for break but it is sure HOT when school starts back in the fall....

  3. my husband is 22 years older than dad is 10 years older than my stepmom. we laugh together that as the boys get older we'll ALWAYS be young when compared to them!!! (yes, do the husband is older than my stepmom (she's only 18 years older than me) gotta love it!!) most all of my friends both in real life and online are around 40-50. even those I didn't know their age when meeting. go figure.

    I think all age is relative. I've seen 90+ women who are "younger" than I am and 20+ women who are old as the hills.

  4. Isn't that funny?? I was just talking about this tonight; I remember when 30 seemed ancient.