Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives - Maurice Chevalier (1888 - 1972)

Oh my gosh I am getting old.

When I was little, I thought it would be a really cool thing to write a letter to my older self. I think I was maybe thirteen or fourteen, and wrote to myself as a twenty(ish) year old - I fully expected to be married (?!) with children (!?!) by that age. I also gave myself advice, such as 'don't worry so much' and 'cry if you want to' - good advice, but funny that I thought that my future self needed to be told what I already knew. It has to be said, though, my not-worrying skills have improved since I was a teenager.

I was also thinking about age because I read an article/discussion thing on Jezebel about the use of the world 'girl' (as opposed to woman or whatever). From a feminist standpoint, I get that it can be belittling to be referred to as a girl, but I guess it's about the intent as much as anything else - people can belittle you with any word if they want to.*

I know I think of myself more as a girl than a woman, but then I refer to my male peers as guys, not men. It could be at least partly because of the music scene - is there another group of people more anxious to hang on to their youth? Don't get me wrong, I love music and the people who play it, and I love how my life has played out, but I think it has skewed my views on being a grown up - i.e. will it ever happen to me?

Another reason I'm thinking of being a grown up - I've just realised I have a body clock. Tick. Tock.
I was never really sure what the deal was with all that maternal instinct/getting older thing, but holy cripes I just keep seeing babies everywhere these days. Unsettling, but interesting...

Is being a grown up something that comes with having kids? How does one even know how to bring up children? It's only now occurring to me that maybe all these people who have kids are just making it up as they go along! That's outrageous! And terrifying! And awesome!

Ahem. Enough of the scary revelations, here's Tom Waits:

* I nearly slapped a guy for calling me 'sweetie' when I was working at Dome in Australia. We were training up some dudes to open a store in Bahrain - all men, slightly older than most of the staff. They seemed to have real problems with being told what to do by women, which was unfortunate as most of our staff and all of our managers were female.

I was trying to tell him that he was wrong about how to clean the coffee machine, and he interrupted me to say look sweetie, don't worry about it - I can still feel the rage just thinking about it. I'm usually pretty chilled out and quietly spoken, so I got some shocked looks when I snapped: Don't. Call. Me. Sweetie.
The managers all backed me up, and I think the dude from Bahrain had to apologise. Good times.

Wait, why am I telling this story? Oh yeah, my original point was: belittling. It happens. Don't let it.

1 comment:

Gill Omega said...

I myself was going to be married and running an orphanage by 20. (Partly cause my dad was an orphan, & partly cause I read the sequel to Little Women, & Jo ran one). The fact that in the twentieth century, you can't just collect mistreated children and look after them in an old house someone leaves you, didn't occur to me when I was nine...