On a reckless whim the other day, I decided to turn 54 years old. It’s not bad, but everywhere I go, the strangest phenomenon is occurring. Other people are getting younger.
I recently traded bosses at City Hall. The old one was a year older than I am. The new guy is several years my junior. If this trend continues, in a few short years I’ll find myself working for a five-year-old.
My dentist looks like he should still be in high school.
My pastor is young enough to be my nephew. Which actually works out quite nicely since I am his aunt.
My last visit to our local collegiate baffled me. Did you know they now allow 17-year olds to teach and 10-year olds to take Grade 10? That’s just wrong.
My naturopathic doctor, the infamous Dr. Lisa, is slightly older than my own children and sometimes I wonder why I’m taking advice from and following the orders of this mere child. Or, as people of her generation so eloquently say, “Really? Seriously?”
Last week, I travelled to Colorado for a writer’s conference. On the way home, waiting to board my flight in Minneapolis, I sat with a group headed for Winnipeg. The lady next to me leaned toward me and asked, “Is that our pilot?”
I looked up in time to see a young man in uniform walk by. I swear he wore the same costume I saw on one of my grandson’s little buddies last Halloween.
“Looks like it probably is.”
“So young,” she said, shaking her head.
“I know. They get younger every year.”
“Aren’t there child labour laws for this sort of thing?” she asked. I shrugged.
A few days later, I spent an hour on the phone with a literary agent I’m hoping will sign me. And trust me, if she does, we’ll see some celebration going on at the Todd residence. But upon spying out her website and Facebook accounts, I learned she was born the same year as my eldest. And I’m thinking of entrusting my writing career to this juvenile? What is the world coming to? When I bemoaned my late-to-the-starting-gate status, she encouraged me with this: “Oh, don’t let your age bother you. Julie Lessman didn’t start writing until she was about 50. I think she might be 62 now and still writing.”
It was one thing when they allowed kids to deliver newspapers and bag groceries. But doctors, pilots, and city managers? Isn’t that going too far?
They tell me it’s only going to get worse. Next time I turn around, my grandsons will be teaching school or driving semi-trucks or performing surgery. Maybe sitting in parliament. Deciding the fate of my generation.
I think God is trying to teach me something. With age might come great wisdom, but it also brings plenty of opportunity to humble oneself and quit with the age discrimination already. The young have plenty to offer, and I don’t mean just technical support. Besides, this trend is inevitable, so I may as well embrace it. Or at least, get used to it.
I’ll just keep celebrating birthdays and let the rest of the world grow younger. But mark my word, if one day I find out I’ve surpassed my own mother in years – that’s it, I quit.
This photo of me was taken 3 years ago. Hmm, maybe I'm getting younger after all!