I don't usually feel my age. I don't mean that I'm full of energy and a zest for life, or whatever it is that makes younger people seem younger. I just don't feel like someone in their late thirties. I guess part of it is that I'm one of the youngest people in my department at work, and I spend a lot of time around women complaining about hot flashes. It also seems that the people I spend time with who are my age just look and act older then me. The men are going bald, the women have streaks of gray in their hair. They all look a bit haggard. Most of them have settled into their lives. I know people my age who have kids in college. I know people my age with grandchildren.
I still don't "feel" my age. But I was reminded of how "old" I actually am this week.
For the past year I have been taking classes at the local community college. Most of the classes I took were online with 0-nil interaction with my classmates, but this semester I am taking an Anatomy and Physiology class in person. Going into this I knew I would be one of the older people in class. There were maybe two students who were older than me at the beginning of the semester. Now, I'm the oldest person left. No big deal. I'm doing fine. I certainly don't feel as if my "age" is holding me back.
My lab partners were aware that I'm older than them, but they didn't have any idea of how much older until just this past Monday when they were discussing their ACT scores. I let it be known that my ACT scores were 20 years old. The look on these kids' faces. It was like I'd told them I rode a dinosaur to school; ten miles, uphill both ways.
And here's the thing. I know exactly what they were thinking. They were thinking I was OLD. I know they thought that because when I was 19 or 20, I thought anyone over 30 was old, 40 was ancient, and 50? Might as well start making funeral arrangements.
That was literally the first time I had ever actually been self-conscious about my age.
I have plenty of things to be self-conscious about. Dissecting a cow eye with people technically young enough to be my children should not be one of them.
(FYI and of topic: Eyes are gross on the inside.)
This really got me thinking: It boggles my mind that the nineties ended nearly fifteen years ago. I'm appalled when I realize that someone born in 1987 has accomplished much more than I have. A person born in 1996 is old enough to vote, and my own son is completely comfortable with all manner of technological doo-dads. In my day, only rich, fancy people had a PC in their home, and everyone else used the computer at the public library to play Oregon Trail. I learned to type on a typewriter. A few years ago, I was at the zoo with my son, and there was a "safari" display that included a typewriter. My son banged on the keys a couple of times and then asked, "Mom, what is this thing?" I had to explain what a typewriter was. I've never told anyone to get off my lawn, but that's only because nobody ever goes no my lawn except me.
In the end I have to admit that I am...older. But it sucks to have it nailed home in such a tiny, inconsequential way.