In the summer of 1999, I was at lunch with three co-workers when the tv over the bar announced that today was the 30th anniversary of the Neil Armstrong moon walk (no, not the Michael Jackson version :D). I looked around the table and said “Did any of you have parents who let you stay up to watch it live?” Three pairs of eyes looked at me solemnly and one of my companions replied “We weren’t even born in 1969.” Dear God, I felt as old as Methuselah that day. I think that marked the first time I really comprehended that I was no longer young. Now it seems I’m hit daily with the 40th anniversary of this or that or on an almost daily basis. When I received the invitation to my 40th high school reunion, I just wanted to sink on the floor and howl.
Funny thing is, I haven’t really been all that sad about aging. But all these lengthy anniversaries and the other day when I realized I probably would not get another setter when my elderly ones dies, because I wasn’t sure I would be able to maintain a house with a yard long enough for one to live its entire life with me, it was a sobering moment. I’m not sure when, exactly, I stopped looking ahead to the future and started refocusing more on the now, but I’m very sure that’s a function of aging.
I hear you. I still think my understanding of time and aging came the first time (in the 1970’s) that I walked into the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Hanging there is the Wright Flyer (1903) and right below it was Apollo 9 (1969). I looked and thought “That’s 66 years, one person’s lifetime, from one to the other.”
Blew me away at the time. I’m 62 now, so I’m closing in on that period of time. Me, I’ve seen us go from manual typewriters to Ipods and Ipads and Idon’t know what else in my lifetime–and yours, setters.
Funny, that. I’ve found myself planning more for the future (post-retirement) the past couple of years, while also trying to enjoy life in the present. And I want to get a dog when I retire (it never seem quite right when I’m working a travelling as much as I do now).
Just remember the quote from the SF writer Spider Robinson: “A person should live forever, or die in the attempt.”
When I was still working, a coworker and I were going to DC for a meeting and we were crossing the 14th Street Bridge - the one hit by Air Florida flight 90 in 1982. I commented that I was on the far end of that bridge when the plane hit, and had I left work a little bit later, I’d have been closer to the impact (it took me like 30 minutes to cross the bridge because of the traffic in the snow.)
Anyway, the guy looked it me totally confused. Nope, he wasn’t even born when it happened.
And if it makes you feel any better, setters, my folks let me watch the moon landing. I was 15, so it wasn’t a huge deal to stay up that late.
I also remember vividly where I was when I heard that President Kennedy was shot - that was probably the first big news event that had an effect on me.
I’m rather enjoying the trip myself. What I find troublesome are the people around my age, those I’ve known along the way that are no longer with us, some of them for a long time now. Many died way too young and when I remember them I think “Man, y’all have missed so much!”
Very nice. This is how I try to think of people who died in their 80s or 90s - they’re like time travelers. The world has changed so much in the time they were alive! Think of what they say! What has changed all around them. How much has transpired.
Piss on you! I just did the math and now I have to admit I was born closer to the end of WW1 than to today. Jesus, I can almost say I was born closer to the 18th Century than to today! Perspective sucks. That’s an age thing too, ain’t it.
I think I should clarify my earlier statement about not getting another setter pup. I have a big house with a big yard - really too much for one person, but perfect for 3 large and active dogs. Once I retire, I plan on selling the house and getting a condo a little closer to where my sons live. It isn’t right to have big active dogs in a condo. So I doubt I’d get another setter pup. It wouldn’t be fair to the pup. But heck, I’ll always have dogs. Just probably some smaller ones more suitable for condo life.
I had a great conversation with my grandmother shortly before she passed, talking about how much life had changed since she was a girl. Automobiles were brand new, people in her area were just starting to get indoor plumbing and gas stoves and horses were still common in city streets. When I have that same conversation with my sons someday, I’ll be rhapsodizing about the advent of personal computers, the internet, smart phones, even VCRs and Walkmans, which were semi-miraculous tech in their day. The thrill of being able to watch a movie whenever you wanted from the privacy of your home, and to listen to my favorite music crystal clear in my ears while I was mowing the lawn! lol They will be able to tell their own kids about the first Nintendo games, about mp3s and streaming and plenty of other things yet to come.
Aging isn’t horrible. What I’ll hate the most about shuffling off the mortal coil is missing out on all the new things the world will think up after I’m gone.
I was born just a couple of months after the end of WW2 . . . closer to the invention of the telephone than today!
My first memory of a “world-class” event was when my mother sat me down in front of our 12" round-screen TV and told me to watch, that it’s something I’ll always remember. I was 7, and I remember watching Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1953.
I was already a freshman in college when JFK was assassinated.
Perspective has its upsides. In my industry, I’m pretty old. At least old enough to have seen a few cycles of “what’s old is new again.” The youth are too excitable. Not that things aren’t amazing now, but certain trends are inevitable enough that I can relax a little bit.
I wish someone would call me “old man,” so that I can reply “I’m 37. I’m not old.” I’ve got 9 months left… (maybe I should stop plucking those gray hairs).
… I got in with the kiddie-discount; I went with an adult.
(If Steven Spielberg wants my $2.50 extra, all he has to do is ask. )
PS- If you Really want to feel old, you should know that they took out the “Jaws” ride at Universal in Orlando. Some of the buildings still say “Amity” and there still a dock with a large plastic shark hanging from a scaffold at the end, but that’s about it.