When I traveled home to Lubbock recently for the holidays, I couldn’t help but notice that I am not the only person focused these days on aging. As I eavesdropped on the conversation of three older Baby Boomers in line behind me at the Vegas airport, I heard one of them say: “When I hear on the radio that someone famous has died at 82, I think ‘If that was me, I’d have 15 more years to live.’” “Yeah, we’re all counting down,” the second one says. “How’d we get so damn old?” asks the third.
Remember as a child how time seemed to pass so slowly? Especially when whatever was consuming our time was B-O-R-I-N-G? I thought I would NEVER get to adulthood where people were having all the fun, doing cool stuff like staying up late, going to fancy parties, and working important jobs. Well, I did, of course, reach adulthood, but I don’t have the stamina to stay up late and still work my not-at-all-important job. And I can count the number of fancy parties I’ve been to on my thumb.
The only fulfillment of my childhood fantasies is that, yes, time has sped up. Not that time isn’t still often spent doing B-O-R-I-N-G tasks, but now I wish for time to SLOW DOWN. I used to be able to mark a year by my grade in school, or the greatest of accomplishments like learning to ride a bike, or entering a real heart into a science fair; now, my greatest accomplishments are paying my taxes on time and remembering to take my daily baby aspirin for my heart. How is it that 1985 still feels like yesterday, and 2011 looks like some far-in-future-date on The Jetsons?
I don’t think I’m the only one wondering, ala Rip Van Winkle, How the hell did I sleep 25 years and wake up in this foreign land of exhaustive technology and horrendous rap music? I say this because, from what I can see, hanging onto our collective youth is big business. From last year’s tour of 62-year-old James Taylor and 68-year-old Carole King to the ageless rocking of the Rolling Stones, we like remembering (or recreating) our youth… if only for a two-hour concert. It is a little bit of time travel.
So the clock may be ticking too quickly, and we’re definitely counting down, but let’s also take moments to remember the days when time was so infinite that it dragged on forever, life was so simple that riding a bicycle meant freedom, and memories were brewed courtesy of Sweet Baby James with a scoop of Brown Sugar.