Watching a “Mad Men” episode with my son one day (on Netflix of course), he off-handedly commented that Sally, the daughter of characters Don and Betty Draper, was the same age as me.
“Is this really what it was like when you were growing up?”
Oh, don’t be silly … wait … little mixing of the races, majority of women staying home to raise children, workplaces dominated by men, ash trays everywhere, smoking everywhere, three channels on television and getting dressed up to go to the movies or on an airplane? Yes, it was.
The now cancelled, but wildly popular program, based in the 60s and 70s seems light years removed from today with our instant everything – but it was not even a century ago.
A recent conversation with a co-worker, who is never disconnected from the .WWW, revolved around a new laptop she planned to buy. She rolled her eyes as she recalled her first computer, the one her parents bought when she was 7-years old. How slow it booted up, how grainy the screen, how fat the monitor, how much the whole thing weighed.
I was 35 years old when I bought my first computer.
My youngest son had his fingers on a keyboard before he was in kindergarten.
Me? I took typing classes in high school – senior year.
My peers, my co-workers, most of my friends are retiring. Worse yet, already retired. I can’t imagine being retired.
When I think about retirement I think about my grandfather. He had silver white hair and wore horned rimmed glasses. After retiring from Chevrolet, he took a job at a local gas station.
He got up every morning to put on a white shirt with his name embroidered over the breast pocket. He’d snap on his ruby colored bow tie and spend a few hours each day pumping gas, wiping windshields and asking: “Check your oil?”
I remember listening to my grandfather dismiss “today’s music.”
“It’s not like the music we listened to, you can’t understand a word that Mick Jagger is saying.”
Of course, now, Mick Jagger is 72.
When did this happen? When did I cross that invisible line becoming someone who sees more years in her past than years ahead. I never wanted to be one of those adults who yearned for the years gone by. I want to look forward, not back.
And honestly, the way technology is advancing, I could live to be 135 years old. And in that case, I’m barely middle-aged.
I prefer looking forward vs. looking back. I like listening to new music, even when I can’t understand all the words.
Still, once in a while I’d like to hear those magic words.
“Fill ‘er up? Check your oil?”
Photo credit: Michael Saechang