Column
July 10, 2014

It happens to the best of us

By Cindy Phillips updated Wed, Apr 30, 2014 11:12 PM

A friend recently referred to me as “a nostalgic old fool.” I wasn’t insulted. For a Boomer it’s pretty much our right of passage. As we close in on the reality of our own eventual mortality, we find ourselves feasting on the remembrances of our past.
We spend time with fellow Boomers reminiscing. We tell stories about the old neighborhood and we remember favorite teachers. Some of us finally fess up to our involvement in infamous childhood pranks, no longer fearful of the punishment we would have incurred back then. We are now too old to be grounded.

When certain songs come on the radio, associated memories well up in Technicolor. We can see it, we can taste it, we can smell it as if it happened only yesterday. We take a ride on a mental time machine and re-live the moment.

The older I get, the more nostalgic I become – and I’m ok with that. Unfortunately, I have also taken on some other traits that are less appealing. In many ways, I have become my mother – much to the amusement of my adult children. Every one of us Boomers took the unwritten oath at some point in our lives – “I will never be like my parents.” Guess what, it happens to the best of us.

I share with you the new habits I have developed in these golden years that remind me I am now a silver citizen. Yes, I even take Centrum. Additionally… I buy things in bulk. I live in a very small apartment, but I have a closet in my bathroom that is meant to house a washer and dryer. Instead it houses my Costco buys – toilet paper 36 rolls at a time and Kleenex boxes by the dozen. I always have backups on toothpaste and deodorant. I buy my electric toothbrush replacement heads a dozen at a time. You will never find less than two cans of hairspray or Static Guard in my home. There will always be plenty of reserves when it comes to bar soap, shampoo and cleaning products. I have a special kitchen sponge I have grown accustomed to – it’s purple and non-stick. There are always two spares under the sink right next to the economy-sized aluminum foil, cling wrap and half a dozen rolls of paper towels. My mother did this and we made fun of her. I fail to see the humor any more.

I shake my head at the news. I make noises that resemble “tsk, tsk” and I make comments basically stating that the world has gone crazy and we never saw things like this in “my day.” Though I don’t spend the day stalking national tragedies, you can’t help but be exposed. My daily routine includes the Today Show in the background while getting ready for work. Seems every morning at 7 a.m., I hear the words “breaking news overnight.” Wow, an awful lot goes on while I am sleeping soundly.

I begin sentences with “when I was your age”. My girls have the entire list of convenience items that were not even invented when I was their age, but that they take for granted on a daily basis. They know I didn’t walk ten miles to school every day, sometimes in waist-deep snow, but they do know I couldn’t nuke leftovers or play Candy Crush. They also have been told about getting up off the couch to change the channel on the TV, though they still think I am making that one up. They don’t watch live television anyway, it’s all on DVR or Tivo or whatever the heck you call it. When I was their age, if you weren’t parked in front of the TV at the exact time that show aired, you were outta luck.

I “get” exercise and eating right. When we were younger, we thought we would live forever. As we got older, we realized we better take action to preserve the housing or it would rust and start to disintegrate. I lament not having figured this out earlier in life. Now I annoy people by preaching about the evils of processed food and Coca Cola. I also make people take the stairs with me instead of the elevator.

I fall asleep earlier. I used to catch at least the first half of the 11 o’clock news. Now I have to catch up on world events on the morning news while getting ready for work. A few months ago my friends and I found ourselves still out on the town after midnight. How I didn’t turn into a pumpkin I shall never know. I paid for it the next day.

I answer phone calls from my daughters with “What’s wrong?” Actually, that’s not true. My daughters don’t call me, they text. This morning I got a text at 6:30 a.m. from my older daughter saying “Are you awake?” While I attempted to text back a response with trembling hands and a racing heart, at least a dozen scenarios went through my head about her and/or my grandchildren, none of them happy. I decided it was easier to call so I could get the tragic news immediately. But apparently she simply wanted to share something funny said by my grandson – his remark that “grandma is old.”
Hmm, I wonder if it had anything to do with his visit last week when I had to explain why I have trouble keeping up with him and why I have to visit the bathroom at every stop we make. Or maybe he just saw the 36 rolls of toilet paper in my closet and came to his own conclusion.

Cindy Phillips is a columnist for The Mountain Times, cphillipsauthor@yahoo.com.

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