They just don’t make them like they used to. That pertains to just about everything doesn’t it? And in some ways it’s probably better that they don’t make 8-track tapes anymore.
But, if I’m listening to Van Morrison, Levon Helm or old Eric Clapton I can almost taste the blue raspberry Lip Smackers on my lips and I can see my painter’s pants topped by a pastel-colored oxford button shirt with the fruit loop in the back, much much narrower hips swaying to the easy beat. That was a different time, a different life. Much simpler that’s “for sure,” as we all used to say.
Sometimes I can’t believe that my biggest worry most days circa 1980 was either A) Would someone take pity on me and take me to the cashew chicken place for dinner; or B) Would the check for $150 that my parents sent at the end of every month while I was in my sophomore year of college arrive in time for me to pitch in for that keg of beer we planned to have Friday night, and how much would that leave me for my part of the rent?
The time, oh, it does fly.
Now I can listen to all of the above through my television and I’m at the age where I’m apt to be wearing my husband’s shirt while I sway my big, old lady hips clad in his pajama pants. But, hey, I’m still swaying ‘em.
Even though my worries are likely to be more significant these days - thankfully Suze Orman doesn’t know where I am - as I get older most things become much easier to navigate. Or they just don’t take on that catastrophic urgency they embodied when I was 20. It must be that we gain perspective year by year. Thank you, Yahweh.
And, nowadays, even if I know something is completely screwed up, I also know there are about four million other things to be thankful for. The difference is that now I know it’s good to stop and be grateful, even when you’re in the middle of a proverbial shitstorm, because as anyone who is quoted in brainyquote.com can tell you, this too will pass.
I’m discovering there are important benefits in having gray hair, not the least of which is the fact that I don’t care that my hair is the same color as my grandmother’s was when I thought she was really old. There’s a very real freedom that comes with aging. Thank God I’m around to notice.
You quit worrying about how your thighs rub together when you walk. You become grateful that you can walk. You don’t care if your shirt doesn’t match your pants. You’re just glad your eyes work well enough so that you can see your shirt is pink and your pants are yellow. You don’t worry about that all-important first line you have to feed that really cute guy you hope talks to you someday. You just grab your partner’s hand – opposite sex, same sex, both sexes – and you are grateful for him or her because you are now old enough to realize how important it is that they are kind and love you unconditionally. You don’t care that all your friends are buying new cars with the money they earned from their first job. You know the best thing is that you can save cash from not buying name-brand taco sauce so that someday you can buy a dented, faded old station wagon that can haul you, your grandchildren and your dog around without a monthly payment.
Do you see? Things are infinitely better when you’re older just because you’re older. All that wisdom you thought you would have by the time you’re 50 isn’t really wisdom at all. It’s just perspective and the passing of time. And, P.S., we really don’t grow up. We just grow.