I enjoyed Dominique Browning’s August 8 essay in the New York Times entitled I’m Too Old for This. You’ve probably read it; it’s making the rounds on social media. If not, go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.
Well, I needed a break from writing query letters, and I couldn’t resist piggy-backing on this fun topic. This blog is (more or less) devoted to exploring this new (for me), mature phase of life. Being too old for some things might actually be a blessing.
Let’s see: I’m too old for…
1. Waiting in line. OK, to be fair, I’ve always hated waiting in long lines, like a baffled cow in a cattle chute. In fact, while waiting recently in the passenger chute for the Seattle ferry, I found it hard to resist the urge to moo. (Guess I’m not too old for sophomoric humor.)
It’s a good thing that my daughter grew up in Germany, where queue-up events for children are less common than here. Had she grown up in the U.S., she’d have felt deprived by the paucity of trips to Wally World—ain’t no way Mama’s going to wait sixty minutes in line to ride Thunder Mountain, or what have you. If I can’t get an assigned seat in advance, I’m not going.
“But that’s just how it’s done,” I hear someone say. “That’s part of the fun, waiting in line for hours and hours to get your concert tickets, or a tasty snack from a food truck.” Pish tosh on that; I’m too old. My poor old ankles might swell, my back might pain me, and my coffee would certainly get cold.
2. Uncomfortable shoes. I love to stroll around a city, or along the shore, or in the park, but you will not see me doing so in “cute” shoes that rub or pinch. I do my best to look “cute” from the ankles up, but comfortable shoes are non-negotiable. I’m too old to hurt myself in order to look snazzy.
I had the most wonderful teacher in the fourth grade. Christina Graham, a kind and elegant lady of about sixty, wore tweed suits and silk blouses to work, but she wore ugly orthopedic shoes. She said, “You can have a teacher with pretty feet and an ugly disposition, or ugly feet and a pretty disposition.” We chose the latter, of course—not that she would have been foolish enough to let a bunch of kids determine her footwear. She was, after all, too old for such foolishness.
3. Children’s television shows. I hate shrieky, shrill voices. Hate, hate, hate ‘em. This may be a problem if/when my grandchildren arrive, but I will not subject myself to shrill, shrieky cartoon characters, no matter what. I’m too old for that.
4. Unflattering clothing. Boyfriend jeans make me look like a lumpy boy—not the look I’m aiming for. Baby doll dresses make me look like a lampshade. Neon colors make me look green. Gladiator sandals only look good on Russell Crowe. But hey, those styles are mostly marketed to younger women. I’m off the hook—too old to wear such silly things.
5. Junky food. Doritos, frozen burritos, Popeye’s chicken, fast-food burgers…I ate this stuff when I was younger, and I knew that it was bad for me. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, my army roommate and I would celebrate Friday nights by sharing a jug of Lambrusco and a big ol’ bag of Doritos. (Are you out there, Cindy?) Well, today my touchy tummy gives me a sharp kick in the gut if I try to eat such things. A recent lapse reminded me that I’m never, never hungry enough to eat Doritos. They’re darn tasty, but just—no. I’m too old for that.
6. Caring about what snooty people think of me. I have enough life experience to know my worth: I’m well-read, a quick thinker, educated, and pretty cute. I know a quite a bit about art, literature, wine, fancy cooking, history, and other topics that help me score well in most trivia games. But I’m also quite bad at most sports, higher math, mechanical repairs, remembering which actor was in which movie…and that’s perfectly OK. I’m old enough to know that one can’t be good at everything, and that trying is foolish.
And as for snooty people who look down their noses because my attire isn’t as expensive as theirs—well, as long as I’m satisfied that I’m dressed appropriately for the occasion, why should I concern myself with such foolishness? I’m too old for that.
7. Staying up later than I want to just to prove I’m not a lightweight. Actually, I’ve always had a hard time staying up until the wee hours, but now that I’m older, I have an excuse to go to bed whenever I damn well feel like it. We old folks need naps.
8. Trying to enlighten the unenlightened. It’s hard to resist the urge to set people straight when they’re just so, so…so wrong! But people will believe some silly shit, such as the death-dealing properties of bananas, or that driving a huge pickup truck is patriotic, or that reality TV is real, or celebrity gossip is important. But I’m finally old enough to just chuckle and let that stuff go. It took years of banging my head against walls of willful stupidity before I realized how foolish that was. I’m too old for self-administered headaches.
You know, it feels like I should be able to come up with a #9 and #10, just because lists of ten items have become traditional on blogs. But I’m too old to worry about silly rules. Wow, this being too old can be wonderfully freeing.
How about you? What are you too old for?