By Anita Doberman: Columnist
My husband was home for a long weekend before being off again, and we decided to go on a date. It was a last-minute idea, meaning I didn’t have time to do my makeup, put in my contacts, or torture my husband to give opinions on five different outfits that meant all the same to him. No worries, I thought, who am I trying to impress?
The restaurant was oddly packed for a Monday, and soon, we found out why. While we waited in the adjoining bar for our “your table is ready” pager to go off, we found ourselves in the middle of the University of Minnesota’s spring break.
The place was full of smooth-faced boys and sunburned girls in tiny skirts, all boozing it up. The fact that they were relatively well-behaved did nothing to soothe my annoyance. There should have been a sign above the door warning people, “Abandon all illusions of youth, ye who enter here,” though it probably wouldn’t have attracted many people to the restaurant. But trust me, if you saw the faces of the “real” adults coming though the door, you could almost hear their illusions of youthfulness snap.
It’s not so much that we look old. I, for one, look exactly as I’ve always looked. It’s that they look really, really young. Is it possible that everyone else is aging in reverse? That was more comforting than imagining these kids were looking at us like we were really, really old.
Noticing that I was looking around nervously, and that I was adjusting my glasses and my jeans, my husband told me: “You look prettier than those girls. If you were sitting with them, I would think you were one of them, even younger.”
I smiled and said, “Really?” He assured me he would, before adding, “Maybe not that blonde one.” Lucky for him, I knew he was joking, but I shot him a nasty look anyway. He feigned ignorance. “What? You’ve got brown hair.”
We continued chatting and enjoying our evening together. Sitting at the bar, waiting to go into the main dining room, I observed the spring break “kids” interact, laugh, be loud and joke around, and realized that although that part of my youth has passed, I am satisfied with my life just the way it is and I can accept that I am getting older, gracefully.
After all, no one has a lot of choice in the matter. Time passes and if we try to nurture our friends and family and important values, the reminders of our aging will be easier to take.
Not sure where you are on the youth-maturity spectrum? I recommend a beach-side bar during spring break (I can recommend one by name, if you want).
Five minutes and you’ll have no doubts as to which direction down the spectrum you’ve been moving. And you can take solace in the fact that the spring break crowd will soon be in our shoes.