Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Getting older and not more valuable

Today is my husband's 40th birthday. (Happy birthday, honey.) My mother, upon learning this, commented that we [her children & their spouses] are all getting old.

My husband was watching a cartoon TV show where there was a flashback to the '60s and I asked if the '60s characters were the main characters' parents. He said, "grandparents". I did the math, and yeah, I guess that's right.

Not sure why, but I seem to be having a hard time remembering that I'm not the youngest adult generation out there anymore. I have relatively little responsibilities compared to my peers with kids, so maybe that is partly why. I am in good health, and have had some minor physical changes, but overall I'm pretty much the same.

In a culture that promotes youth and treats age like a disease, it's hard to get excited about getting older. It seems the greater your age, the less relevant you are in the eyes of today's North American society. So while I don't care that my age is x, and shouldn't care what anyone else thinks either, I know the irrelevancy train is going to slam into me sooner or later.

There are a lot of birthday cards with "getting older" jokes, but not a lot of "young & stupid". How about more of those, because there are some truly stupid young people out there today. I was careful not to get "over the hill" messages included in John's birthday party tonight. I think that is a negative and mean-spirited message that promotes our youth-based culture.

I wish we could trade in this part of our society for one which values its elders. Maybe then getting older wouldn't be a joke.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Life: boring & "real"

So far this year I've read 3 biographies: one of Cleopatra, an autobiography of Agatha Christie, and am in the middle of an autobiography of Tim Rice. Reading biographies isn't a usual choice for me, but as I grow older, I find that my literary choices are changing*.

Reading biographies is an interesting view into someone's life, but also an easy way to see how dull your life can be in comparison, and how bad your memory is for past events (provided you don't keep a diary or journal). I could pretty much sum up my life thus far into a few bullet points:

Did well in school academically
Got a university degree
Failed CA
Had a couple of serious relationships
Had 2 jobs: one in accounting and one in IT
Got married
Adopted a cat

That's pretty much it. I can flesh out some of those topics some more, but it wouldn't be the subject of a book that anyone would care to read.

This is, in part, why I can't understand the viability of the Real Housewives TV series, Jersey Shore, The Hills, or any other slice-of-life "reality" TV show. It's obvious that the "events" which happen to these people are fictional, because otherwise they'd be as boring as me. Who watches these shows? Is life so bad for you that you have to live vicariously through fictional characters? I don't feel the need to supplement my life by watching fake life pretending to be real. I'm growing increasingly tired of seeing episode recaps of these shows on websites, I skip past them as fast as possible.

The truth is that most of us aren't all that special. When today's parents attempt to brag about their child reading at an earlier-than-average age, or walking sooner than most, etc., I can't help but chuckle a bit. Your kid probably isn't anything special, and lots of kids learned to do those things early (my mother says I read her the obits when I was 4). I will admit, I am not a parent, and if I was, I'd probably brag right along with the rest of them.

I was a fan of reality TV when it began. It was fun at first, but I grew out of it. I wish the rest of America would do the same.

*Not that I intend to make a habit out of reading biographies, as I can't say I've loved what I've read to date. Jury is still out on the third, but it's the best so far.