Sunday, December 12, 2010
Too Many Old People
As I walked into Starbucks one afternoon this week, I passed a conversation between two 20-something male employees who sat outside for their cigarette break. “There are too many old people,” the one with the darker hair said nonchalantly.
Since I had a birthday milestone this weekend, immediately the sentence hit home as I continued inside for my iced chai latte. I knew their conversation was not about me, but it made me wonder what they were talking about. Would I qualify as an old person to them?
Probably yes, I assumed. I am now in the un-cool age group. No matter what I do now, no matter how I dress or act or talk, no matter what I say, I’m someone who went to school in the Eighties. And to them, that is O-L-D.
The great thing is, I really don’t care what anyone thinks. That's the greatest gift that comes with age - confidence. But I never really cared about being “cool.” I wasn’t a big partier or drinker, wasn’t into staying out late or bar hopping. I preferred hanging out with my small group of theatre friends or having deep conversations about life or books or art. And I never really thought much of people’s ages. In theatre, I’ve always worked with people of all ages, as equals. We were co-workers, not age brackets. We were just people.
And to prove that I don’t care what people think, I walked outside Starbucks (perhaps to solidify my "weird old person" status) and asked the guys what they meant regarding the “old people” comment. They laughed at being caught, then they said they had been talking about the other employees all being older. It was nice to satisfy my curiosity for a change. Basically, in their definition, anyone over 30 is old.
Now I just have to make sure that I don’t go too far with the idea of not caring about others’ opinions of me. I don’t want to be one of those obnoxious old people who yell and fart and complain, saying “I’m 70 years old; I’ll do whatever the hell I want.” (I actually heard someone say that once, loudly.)
So I’m going to embrace my 40’s, look forward to the changes in my life - and in me - that are to come in this new decade. And I'll try to wear the label "old person" with pride.