Growing Old = Inevitable. Growing Up = Optional?

21 May

I saw this billboard the other day, speeding down the 55 to meet a good friend for Happy Hour:  ‘Growing Old = Inevitable.  Growing Up = Optional.’

I guess at some point, probably soon after my 27th birthday, I stopped eagerly awaiting the next birthday and instead started stalling.  What ever happened to those days when we said we were 17 and a half, 24 and three quarters?

Right, we got old.  [For those of you in the later age brackets, feel free to skip this post, as I’m sure it will seem indulgent, juvenile and silly.  For those of you just joining my 35-45 check box, welcome.]  We grew up, at least a little bit.  As much as more responsible jobs, more committed relationships and the odd offspring or two could make us, we matured.

And yet we resisted.  We’re still cool, still relevant, still rockin’ out, we tell ourselves, even as the to-do’s mount and the little hands clutch for purchase on mommy’s or daddy’s legs.

Marketers, that ever vigilant class of people whose noses are always sniffing out the next big cultural phenomenon, have fixated on the ageless young at heart, telling us it’s okay to rebel, to fight graduation, to hang on to our rebellious youth.

But as I was blasting down the freeway, bopping to the newest Lady Gaga tune (whose sexy androgyny is both endlessly interesting and endearingly confusing to me), I had to wonder, really?  Should we be struggling so hard NOT to grow up?  Because what is growing up anyway?  Becoming more confident, more independent, discovering (or uncovering) our true selves.

I know it sounds corny, but I think it’s a worthy place to be.  Grown up.  It’s time we transformed from dreamers to doers.

Rock on,



2 Responses to “Growing Old = Inevitable. Growing Up = Optional?”

  1. T.J. May 29, 2009 at 3:41 am #

    I remember when I was a young’un thinking how it could even be a remote possibility that I would ever outgrow the enjoyment of my toys. Being the wise individual I was at such an early age, I foresaw correctly. However, while the “toys” were not outgrown, they certainly increased in cost and complexity! 🙂

    I like to think that I will never grow up, not in the Peter Pan sense, but in the enjoyment of life sense. I’ll refer you to the XKCD web-comic I previously posted to you. To me that really says it all. How we grow up is for us to decide.

    Growing old, definitely ineveitable.

    Here’s hoping for the fountain of post-21st birthdays. 🙂

  2. Kathryn June 3, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    We were just talking about this last night, weren’t we?
    Let’s see…I’m 34. I have four tattoos, purple streaks in my hair, still “go out” for drinks and love to see bands play live music. But I am definitely getting old. The crowds at those bars are annoying. The band is old, and they are too loud. I can’t stand the radio stations I used to listen to. My purple streaks are nestled neatly in a middle-aged haircut. None of my tattoos have bad words or naked people on them…one even has books depicted. What an oldster!

    I think the secret is that old cliche about growing old gracefully. It’s really very difficult to do! I want to retain some sense of who I’ve always been, but that self was so rooted in youth culture. Now I have to find a way to be an old lady with purple hair streaks and tattoos. I think I can do, but if I can’t…I guess that will be obvious, and…
    my kids will die of shame. 🙂 Which sort makes me giggle a bit.

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