When I was a kid, I saw a movie called Author, Author, starring Al Pacino and Tuesday Wield. Great movie! If you get a chance, you should see it, anyway at one point, Al’s character “Ivan” tells his step-daughter to act her age and her response is “How in the hell do you act eleven?” I thought it was hysterical at the time and today, although it still makes me chuckle, I finally realize that it’s true. How do you act an age?
When I was in my early twenties, I used to see people my age running around with babies and mini vans, talking about the PTA and the nutritional content of cereal. WTF?! I was concerned about where I was going to hang out, how I would do on a test at school, what my friends were doing and why wasn’t I there? Babies! Mini vans! Uh, uh!! Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think that those things made us old or that they weren’t worth having, I just couldn’t understand what the rush was. These people and I were the same age, but who was acting that age? Should I have been living that life? Nope, I don’t think so. Now, I was never a child who thought that 30 was old or 40 or 50… I remember thinking that 84 was old. Maybe that was my problem.
During this “party” phase in my 20’s, I was able to invite my parents out with my friends (I love my parents, most people do, they are awesome… and yes, even then, I LOVED hanging out them), but most often they were too tired and followed the apology with the sentence “We’re getting old.” I didn’t get it… they weren’t old. They were in their 40’s and 50’s, that’s not old.
Then as I was spending time with my dad one visit a few years ago, he told me how much it sucked to get old. He looked at me and said, I don’t “think” any differently than I did when I was 20, but I can’t do those things. I want to go play sports and go listen to music, but my body won’t let me do it. It was then I understood. Now in my 40’s, I get it. I still feel like I did in my 20’s, but I’m not. I’d like to have babies, but I still don’t feel rushed (and I should). I look in the mirror and I see time marching across my face, but it doesn’t matter because I still see me, the way I’ve always seen me. Sure, maybe I have a few gray hairs (which annoys me) and a few more wrinkles, but it’s me.
I’m still all the things I was 20 odd years ago, with maybe a little more wisdom and experience. But I still act stupid and play jokes and laugh at farts and like to do most of the things I’ve done since I was a kid. I still stay out till the wee hours of the morning and have a blast. Seems to me, as long as we do what we need to do in terms of taking care of our families and ourselves, we should all be A LOT more silly, crazy, spontaneous, goofy, child-like… we should laugh A LOT, we should hug A LOT, we should… be who we are and enjoy it for as long as we can.
I’m still trying to get my friends to go with me on a cattle drive when I’m 50, they aren’t so keen. Instead, maybe we’ll travel somewhere else, maybe stay in a high rise hotel, where I’m sure at some moment we’ll get bored and have to find something to do, and maybe it’ll be high tea or an art museum or looking at some 500 year old church. Maybe it will be dropping a water balloon on someone’s head from our hotel room window, at which point I’m sure someone will tell me to act my age… and my repsonse will be…
How in the hell to you act 50?