Stages of Oldness

Several friends have recently posted on Facebook that, because of some activity or achievement of their teenage kids, they are now officially “old.”

Of course I just chuckle, thinking how young these moms are and how old they make me feel. But it got me to thinking about when we become aware of this process called senescence.

Here are some of the milestones that made me aware of getting old:

  • When your child’s teachers seem to get younger every year.
  • When most of your healthcare providers are younger than you.
  • When the doctor who sews you up in the ER is younger than your own children
  • When the President of the United States is younger than you (for me, this was Bill Clinton, who is about a year younger than me, then George W. Bush, and now of course this whippersnapper we have in the White House, who was born when I was in high school.
he and I were both younger then (photo : Wikipedia)

he and I were both younger then (photo : Wikipedia)

  • the baby pres (photo: Wikipedia)

Clearly an older Bush (photo

Clearly an older Bush (photo


  • When the words coming out of your mouth sound exactly like your mother.
  • When your dentist retires and you have to get used to a new (young) dentist and a different culture, or find a new dentist. (I stayed and am happy with the young woman who took over the practice I had been with for 30 years.)
  • When you no longer have (a) teenage children. Then (b) when they are in their 30s. And (c), which I am rapidly approaching, when you have no kids under 40. My sons-in-law are both in their mid-40s, which used to sound old, but not any more.
  • When you go from thinking it seems a long time ago to say something happened 20 years ago, to saying “30 years”, and now I’m casually dropping “50 years” into conversations. My 50 year high school reunion is this year and I find that really hard to believe. High school reunions are sort of time-machine experiences anyway.
  • When you tell your grandkids about how things were “when I was your age.” And yes, I do talk about walking to school in the snow. Not uphill both ways (I lived in northern Ohio—it was a dead-flat walk, both ways), but wearing tennis shoes and hose in eight inches of snow because that was the fad.
  • When you play the Facebook game of identifying objects like dial phones, 45 rpm records, ice skate keys and the like and always know what they are. Speaking of dial phones, remember party lines?


  • Finally, when you get nostalgic for things like grandma’s outhouse and party lines. I prefer three toilets per the two people in our condo and my own private phone in my purse to keep my feeling young.

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