The other day I was at the Art Institute (as mentioned in 3A below) and had a flashbulb, “I’m old!” moment. For this 32 year old, it wasn’t my first, and certainly won’t be my last but I thought of a few other similar flashbulb moments I’ve had.
1. I used to think of alcohol as party juice, now I I’m more likely to think of it as that stuff that screws up my sleep. It all started when I was 25 and lost my ability to sleep in late after a night of drinking.
2. When I learned Jesus died at age 33. So if I live another year I’ll officially be older than a God.
3. Chicks from old-timey movies are starting to look hot to me.
If Helen of Troy herself were an actress in a black and white movie and the middle-school version of me saw that movie, I wouldn’t even notice her good looks. You may as well ask me if an alligator was attractive. To me back then, black and white movie chicks were old, and old meant weird. But now I can totally appreciate babes from all eras, for some reason. When I discovered this I remember feeling like quite the cultured sexual sophisticate.
Maybe I should get a bumper sticker for my remote that says, “I brake for Ava Gardner movies”.
3A. While at the outstanding new photography exhibit at the Art Institute, Photographs from the Robert A. Taub Collection, I saw a few prints of the famous dust bowl mom. When I learned that the women depicted in the iconic photographs was my age- 32, when that photo was taken. Upon hearing that I felt downright geriatric because for years I encoded that picture in my memory as, “that sad old lady from the famous black and white dust bowl photo”. So now I realized I was the same age as that sad old lady.
Then after standing about 18″ from a large print the first thought I had was, “Wow, she’s really pretty! I can’t believe I never noticed that before, but I bet when she wasn’t looking like consternation personified, she was alarmingly attractive in person.”
Immediately after finishing that idea, I next thought, “The middle-school version of me would point and laugh at me right now and call me and old creepy bastard. And he’d be right.”.
4. When I started wanting to tell a cashier, “I look like a kid to you? Really?”, when I was carded buying alcohol.
5. I caught myself referring to people in their early 20s as, “kids”.
Calling early-20-somethings, “kids” was probably the first flashbulb moment for me as an adult that told me I wasn’t a kid anymore. “Wow, there are a lot of kids at this party”, was maybe my first foray into geezerdom at age 26.
6. When I was 12 years old, I remember wondering why my parents still displayed pictures of me up from when I was a toddler. Since I was 12 I could ride a bike, read (at a 13 year old’s level, byatch!), and feign acting like a grown up upon request- but the toddler me couldn’t do any of those things. That version of me was just a less sophisticated version of the current, more modern me. At the time, my parents decision to display old pictures of me seemed about as logical as someone who owns an iPod, yet adorns their home with pictures of walkmen and juke boxes.
Upon explaining this theory to my mother, she smiled and did her best to not laugh at me. I remember her politely saying something to the effect that she understood my logic, but to her as a parent, it was the exact same me in the photo. She saw me in the photo, not the toddler version of me.
As with most child/parent discussions, I couldn’t wrap my head around their shifty adult logic, so I just assumed my mother was wrong/weird, but now that I’m an uncle and my friends have kids I totally get it.
When this occurred to me I felt really grown up.
7. Now when I see someone break-dancing or doing gymnastics, instead of thinking, “Cool! That looks fun!”, I think, “Oh my goodness, can you imagine the abdominal strength that would require? Even if I could do that, I can’t even imagine how sore I’d be afterward. Wow, good for them. ”
8. I may go a year without playing a certain sport.
Putting together a game of tackle football with married 30-somethings is more difficult than eating spaghetti with a spoon, but not quite as difficult as finding a leprechaun then convincing him to karaoke The Backstreet Boys.