I was puttering around in my room as the sounds of summer drifted up through the window. The general splashing and playing down by the pool gave way to the distinct sound of teenage girls chatting (or was it “catting”) it up as they lounged. None of this gave me any pause until suddenly I heard one of them say, “Whatever. He’s like old. He’s like 40.”
If she really is a teenager, and she’s rejecting the advances of a 40-year-old male, I concur. Well done.
But that’s not what it sounded like from up here in the cheap seats. From the balcony, it sounded like she was just down on this poor bastard because he had committed the unforgiveable sin of aging beyond Justin Bieber.
I remember thinking that 30 sounded like a far off age full of mystery (and no doubt believed that it would be full of a wonderful career, a fabulous partner and a jet-set lifestyle—as all 30-year-olds live that way), but I don’t remember dismissing people solely because of age (again, with the exception of potential dates). I had to fight this incredible urge to go down and explain to this child that in 20 minutes, she too would be 40. I wanted to warn her that when she blinked, she’d suddenly find herself trying to figure out how to send her own kids to college. Because it happens that fast.
Naturally, I just continued on my merry way because it is impossible to explain to someone with so much life ahead of them—and someone so impatient to get it all started, by the sound of things—that life is a blur. It seemed mean on this bright summer day to tell her that the reality of 40 for her is unlikely to look anything like the expectations she currently holds. I knew I couldn’t explain to that girl that “all the time in the world” can become “it’s too late” with a rapidity that would leave her stunned.
So, I left her and her friends to float alone in the pool (lecture-free), as I once again contemplated my own future. For despite my advanced age, there are still one or two plans to be made and wishes to be thrown at the universe.