Youth is wasted on the young.

A woman holding a Silky Terrier puppy at the beach.
This is what Henry and I looked like 9 years ago. 
A woman holding a Silky Terrier puppy at the beach.
And this is us now.
“Youth is wasted on the Young.”
I’m starting to better understand this catchphrase the older I get. This thought has been creeping up on me slowly over the last few years; I’m not a kid any more. I know, surprising, right? I feel young (well, except for the arthritis I suspect I’m getting in my thumbs) and look fairly youthful (except for the gray hairs that I just can’t seem to keep at bay any longer) but this morning when I happened to catch a few photos of my 16 year old cousin and his friends on Facebook I felt old. Period. These kids are so young, dewy, nubile and fresh. Their skin is to die for! They can eat whatever they want and not gain weight! Oh, if only I knew what a luxury that was back then. Well, I kind of suspected it and ate a lot of crap but I digress…
And then one of my students looked at me point black last week and said plain as day, “You’re old.” She wasn’t trying to be mean, it was like she was just stating a fact. And yes, I guess to a 5 year old I AM old,  but I don’t need to be reminded kid!
As I was having brunch with my aunt yesterday somehow it came up that she was twice my age… she’s almost 80 and when I look at her I thank my stars for my genes because this woman looks fabulous. You’d easily guess her to be at least 10 years younger than she is.  My dad too. Then there’s my moms side of the family. My mom looks amazing as well and I think she and I share the same secret to looking young… it’s the sweating! I’ve inherited my mothers HOT gene, and I really do think that it keeps the skin nice and moist and not as prone to wrinkles… I’m just trying to find the bright side to being constantly over heated here. And my mom’s aunt (my great aunt Rose) is 90 something and is more able bodied than most people half her age. I swear she could lift her own body weight, still lives on her own,  drives her shiny red pick up truck and can drink most men under the table. She is one of a kind. 
Age is all relative though because I work with someone who is half MY age, and (even though she probably notices it) I really don’t feel all that much older than her, and she doesn’t seem so young that she could in actual fact be my daughter if I’d had a kid at 20 years old. But then little things creep in like the generation gap of pop culture. I’ll mention someone like Carol Burnett. Who’s that? Well, she’s kind of like Lucille Ball. Who? Oh god, it’s happening. I’m old! We got my mom tickets to see Boz Scaggs, the main guy from the Doobie Brothers and the main guy from Steely Dan in concert for her birthday. Pretty cool, right? When I told my co-workers about it, they hadn’t heard of any of them! Boz Scaggs, OK. He’s a bit obscure, but the Doobie’s? Steely Dan? Weren’t they uber popular? yeah they were. In the 1970’s! ACK! 
So, fast forward to this evening. My mom, dad, sister, aunt and I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Really sweet movie, but what was even sweeter? Being the youngest people there! It was a sea of white hair, and the movie itself is about this group of retirees who are trying to find something in their lives that is missing by going to India to try and find it. When the movie was over my sister dubbed it “senior citizen porn.” Totally. And Dame Judi…. ahh she is my hero. So, having started my day feeling a little old and dried up, my day ends feeling wiser, maybe a bit older but proud of my years and teensy little wrinkles and laugh lines that tell the story of a life being enjoyed and not taken for granted. And now I want to go to India even more desperately than I did before! I’ll keep you posted on that one, I think that’s going to be the next big trip!

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2 Responses to Youth is wasted on the young.

  1. Michele June 3, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Great post, Andrea!! I turn 50 (OMG!) this year and have been thinking a lot about age and aging, so this post is very timely for me. I thank you for your wonderful perspective—makes me feel better.

    A few additional things: 1) I also saw TBEMH at the movies recently, loved it, and had the same reaction as you—life is to be lived, not “saved up.” And, yes! Dame Judi—she’s my hero, too. 2) Awesome B-day present for Phyllis! I hope she enjoys the show. Ian and I saw Boz many years ago and still remember the show—he’s AMAZING. 3) You totally do not look any older than you did 9 years ago! Seriously, girl, you’re beautiful and lucky to have such great genes. (Henry looks bigger and just as cute.) 4) I *so* want to meet your Aunt Rose.

    • My name is Andrea June 4, 2012 at 6:07 am #

      Michele, I can’t believe you turn 50 this year! You are one of the most young at heart almost 50 year olds I’ve ever met (and don’t look it to boot!)
      You would LOVE my Auntie Rose! She is a gem, and did I mention also know how to use a shotgun? Oh yes!

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