Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Satchel Paige, on age and dumb kids

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?"
Satchel Paige

This question cracked me up. Because I really can't answer it.

As I was growing up, when I'd ask my mom how old she was, she always said "19" (note that she was 32 when I was born). It's pretty sad to admit how long it took me to realize that couldn't possibly be true. So when I told her she couldn't be 19, she admitted I was right, that she actually was 29. Again, a woefully long amount of time went by before I did the math. Once I cornered her on it, she said she feels like 19 on the inside, that the body changes but the way you feel doesn't. Oh. Too deep for a child.

Now that I've hit 40, I wonder how old I would be, if I considered Paige's quote above. See, I love my brain right now. I love how I feel on the inside. I like myself for the most part (we are talking inside here, the outside leaves MUCH to be desired). And yet, I have to admit I've felt this way a long time. I think maybe my mom was right, you never really feel different as you age. I can't think of what would be my happiest year, unless you count this last year. I think I have a general satisfaction with the parts of my life that I have control over. External things could change for the better in so many ways, but as it is, I'm happy. No one would call me jolly, but I do feel content.

The weirdest thing about getting old is sometimes feeling childlike while I'm around other adults, my peers. I've been known to move to the back seat of a car, when another adult is going to get in, out of respect. That was taught to me as a kid, and it recently had to be pointed out to me that I was actually older than the woman getting in. Somehow my head said she was older than me and I had to move for her. Yes, I got mocked a bit for this! But it was a genuine impulse.

I got a little jolt Saturday when watching Saturday Night Live, with the adorable Zac Efron hosting. Damn if he isn't cute! Of course, someone cheerfully pointed out that he was the same age as my son. Oh. Ick. When you realize that James Bond is younger than you, it IS sobering. When we saw the most recent Bond movie, I was rooting for him and M to have an "encounter". This appalled my teen sons, who made retching noises for several minutes. But, what's so crazy and sickening about that? Judi Dench is a great looking lady. Is the idea that appalling? I must be old after all, as I thought it would be a great twist to the movie.

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