You know you’re getting old when you go to Joann Fabric to buy special glue to repair the bottom of decade-old slippers. That feeling sinks in deeper when you can clearly remember the day you bought said slippers from Alabama Outdoors, and how they were a half-size too small, but they were on sale. They were the slippers I wore when we were in the hospital when Franklin was born because they’re machine washable. Then again almost six years later when Vera was born. Maybe it’s because as I type this my 40th birthday is closer than the expiration date on our milk, but I’ve been getting hit with feeling old more frequently lately.
I remember years ago hearing my father tell someone he had underwear older than them. I don’t recall how old I was at the time, but it stuck out to me as a fairly absurd notion. Yet here I sit wearing ancient underwear that outdates both my children and a couple of presidential administrations. I wonder what 10-year-old me would think of that.
Frequently I like to imagine scenarios where take modern technology back to my childhood. I’d love to appear to 15-year-old me as a bald government lawyer in a suit. His face would be priceless. Recently I commented on a friend’s Facebook post about children how I wished I could introduce 7-year-old me to my son. That’s now my goal. First step, find some electronics to take apart.
We have been exploring coding using Scratch programming and I’ve recently gotten him a BBC Micro:bit. I wish they’d made things like that when I was a kid. Maybe if I keep working with him I’ll actually understand the electronics when we take them apart. Shoutout to my college classmate Raina Burditt for her awesome book Scratch Programming for Beginners!
While Franklin and I are alike in many ways, it is how we differ I sometimes notice the most. For one thing, the child has not missed a single spelling word since Christmas break. Meanwhile, I’ve been a terrible speller all my life. A few weeks ago he had the right of passage spelling test with the word rhythm. What blows my mind about his spelling is how he learns it. When he first started having spelling tests we’d have him write his spelling words, then give him a practice test, and make him write the ones he missed again. He did ok but never stellar.
One Friday morning, on the way to school, I realized we hadn’t gone over his spelling words with him. I spent the ten-minute drive quizzing him orally. I used the same principle, spell each then repeat ones he missed, I figured it was better than nothing. After he made a 100 on that test we decided to move to that method. Now that he is in second grade I have to keep checking the sheet to make sure I know how to spell the words. I don’t think I ever knew there’s a U in fluoride. I’ve never been good at spelling. I am even worse at spelling orally, so now Franklin and my wife can spell words outloud to keep secrets from me.
Speaking of spelling, if you want a real blast from the past and have HBOMax, or whatever they are calling it, you can go back and watch Sesame Streets from when you were your child’s age. Be prepared to feel really old.
As I crash toward forty I can’t help but feel reflective. Maybe I’d rather think about ten years ago when I was thirty than turning fifty in ten years. Turning thirty hit me hard. It was a brutal wake-up call, I was an adult and I’d better get to adulting. It is amazing how young thirty seems today. I’ve adulted pretty well though I think. I’ve pitched in creating two additional humans, that’ pretty much the goal right? And I know how long I have until I can retire.
I’m hopeful forty won’t hit me as hard mentally as thirty did. From all accounts, it is going to hit me plenty hard physically. Whenever I start thinking about how old turning forty makes me feel I try to remember, if it’s going to make me feel old, just think how old it is going to make my parents feel!
But if you feel that old on your birthday, just think how your mother and father feel about each of our children’s birthdays!