They are lurking in the most unsuspecting of places.
Beyond the new crease in my forehand and the silver strands in my hair, I see them; the reminders of my age are surreptitiously creeping into my world.
It happens when I complete surveys, audibly sighing as I slowly fill in the circle indicating that I’m 35-44 instead of the range that matches the age I feel I am.
It’s the cringe I feel when I see that the actors from the cast from Saved By the Bell are all closing in on their 50th birthdays.
But those reminders are nothing like hearing that our younger TikToker friends are calling us… OLD.
But these recent jabs and accusations of irrelevancy and aging caught both my ire and my reflection. Because, my fellow mom friends, along with the side part in my hair and the skinny jeans in my closet, I’m confident that my years of experience are big and bold enough to stand strong against a 60-second TikTok video.
And I laugh at the opportunity to watch it all unfold from the vantage point of a Gen X mom with a few years behind her.
So, enjoy those baggie jeans, Gen Z mom friends. It’s spring in the Midwest, and those of us who have known Kanye since he was a Gold Digger know the injustice of having the bottom hem of our soggy jeans drag through the springtime slush.
And speaking of jeans, those faded blues we call acid wash weren’t flattering when we wore them decades ago. But you’ll wear them and you’ll love them. You’ll ignore our groans of “I can’t believe THAT’S back in style” just like we did when we claimed “boot cut” jeans were far superior to the bell-bottom comparisons we heard from the Boomers back in the day.
Because that’s how this game works. We all enjoy the indignant invincibility that comes along with the energy of youth.
Tap that golden font, my youthful friends, and put that energy into your passions. Get another degree. Dedicate an hour to a cause that fills your heart. Take your kids for a walk and AIM for the puddles. Because soon you also will fill out a bubble on a survey that reminds you that the years have marched on.
Sometime in the future, you’ll find that you wear your hair in the way that is most flattering to you and your lifestyle, not because it’s a trend. You’ll feel safe cruising in your minivan and singing loudly to a “vintage” tune because it transports you back in time.
Your comments aren’t an assault on my character or my fashion (although I regularly leave myself wide open for criticism). Once you’ve glided through your 30s like I have, you’ll find that you’ve built a magical protective sphere around you, woven with experiences from those earlier years. It insulates you like an inflatable sumo wrestling costume, glancing off the blows and passing judgments.
That’s why I’m leaving my side part.
I’ll continue buying whichever jeans fit me the best.
And you’ll soon find me on TikTok, if only to ensure that I can bring my A-game to embarrassing my kids.
Because that’s where we find the benefit of living through all these previous trends. It’s on the flip side.
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