Friday, October 30, 2009

Birthdays

Anyone over the age of 21 knows that time passes at different rates of speed based on your age. When you're a kid waiting for Christmas, the month of December is at least two centuries long. If you're the mom organizing the family's holiday observance, it's about two days. And by the time you're my age, the whole dang year from one Christmas to next seems to fit within one 24-hour news cycle.

A related concept is the different rates at which we age. I trudge along from one year to the next, and so do the people around me every day. But people I don't see frequently, particularly young'uns, remain frozen in time, shocking my socks off when I'm forced to face the reality that they, too, have taken a few journeys around the sun, just like me.

Such has been my pondering through the month of October, as my son turned 30, the son of a dear friend turned 16, and Grace Slick, lead singer of late 60s psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, turned 70.

The fact that my son has reached the age of distrust -- a reference no one under the age of 50 today will even recognize -- is not a surprise, since I do see him every so often, mostly when he is out of quarters for the coin laundry or food in the refrigerator. The fact that the past 30 years passed so quickly is cause for wonderment -- it really was just yesterday he was on my shoulder, being burped -- but not a nerve-jangling jolt.

The fact that my friend's son is 16 is more of a shock. To me, he's a bump in his mother's pregnant belly. At most, he's the precocious grade-schooler at a long-ago Saturday evening picnic/party, not a teenager with car keys and license to use them.

The fact that Grace Slick is 70 -- s-e-v-e-n-t-y -- is utterly beyond my mental grasp. She can't be 70, jowly and white-haired, as her "today" picture on her Wikipedia page suggests. No, she's the sultry, outspoken ex-model who made men drool and whose distinctive vocals on White Rabbit and Somebody to Love provided the backdrop to my discovery of beer as a college freshman.

If she's 70, what does that make me?

Running out of moments to live in, that's what. Time to get busy.

2 comments:

Emily said...

Well, just to muddy the waters further, I am under the age of 50 and I know that 30/trust reference is from Bob Dylan, right? Perhaps I just listen to too much Cyprus Avenue. Like...all...my...peers?

I thought I was too old to join "Young Friends of KCUR" - until I realized "young" didn't mean high schoolers. It meant me.

It's all relative. Isn't it?

LO said...

Why yes, it was indeed Bob Dylan who famously advised us not to trust anyone over 30. And I should remember that some cultural references - probably more than I realize - cross generations. As does Cyprus Avenue's fan base...

When I was in my mid-30s and had been in communications jobs for what seemed to me like forever, I was annoyed that a professional communications organization to which I belonged didn't think I qualified to participate in its "senior communicators" group. It is indeed all relative, although in that case, I was just a whole lot too big for my britches.

No matter how old Grace Slick is, however, she will be forever 29 to me.