"You know you're getting older when you find yourself attracted to men you see at Target and it does not deter you that they are with a teen-aged offspring."
So started a stream of comments on Facebook with the above posting....This fall, I'll journey back to rural East Tennessee and reunite with the alums of 1982 for our 30th college reunion. (I'll do the math so that, if you're like me, you won't have to singe any brain cells: we/I are/am 52.) So aging is on the minds of more than just me. Last summer, I dialogued with some of these fun alums via Facebook. Their responses:
"Age? Old? Maybe it should be age-old thinking!"
"What is the phenomenon of feeling young? I mean, I AM young. Until you compare me to a colleague half my age. I believe old is 80. But not everybody feels young at 40-50-60, right? Is it about how you treat your body (and definitely your attitude)? You know those people our age who look old? Do they feel old?"
[Referencing an alum who birthed her children, now elementary school-aged, as she sped into her 40s]: "Does this make her somehow younger than us since she's at that end of child rearing and we are at the other end? Or, does it make her feel older? I know it's all a state of mind and I'm in the young state of mind until I...round the corner and see...Wait! I'm supposed to feel grown up! I've got a late teen. I just read a friend's comment about helping her daughter move her NYC apt. My mother did that for me. I'm not as old as she was. Or, am I?"
Me: "That whole babysitter thing. You realize what you may look like to your sitters and you flashback to what parents looked like to you when you were a sitter for hire. I recall, clearly, being in the back seat of some boat-like car driven by the husband. His bouffant-haired wife rode shot gun in the front seat in front of me, their kidlets beside me in the back. I didn't drive yet and they'd pick me up before embarking on their evening out, leaving their children in my charge. Fact is they were probably much younger than I was when I began hiring sitters. And, I still hire sitters! Now, I'm the age of many of their parents. Ack.Most of my sitters are graduate students in their 20s." [End quote]
"Age is multi-dimensional! If you unduly focus on the passage of time then you definitely perceive yourself as old and life changes accordingly. If you balance the chronological dimension with the dimension of attitude then staying young is a mental existence that is sustainable. Staying healthy and active (like running for me,) makes it easier to maintain the balance by keeping more options open I, for one, refuse to get "old" but only because I try to find that balance."
Then, don't tell anybody because we went to a Baptist college and last I checked they still don't allow drinking on campus:
"Yes, you may quote me...As Gladys Hardy once said, "I love Jesus....but I drink a little."
And capping it, said another:
"Aging is good, especially for scotch."
Photo: Winding Carolina Road, taken on one of eight sojourns since spring. Coming soon more pictures in a new series, "Friday Forays."