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I’m old.

It has come to my attention that I’m old.

I don’t feel old. I’ll be thirty on my next birthday; it has never bothered me until now.

For some years, I’ve been perched on the precipice between uniquely sophisticated and ecclectic and out of style. I prefer Louis Armstrong to American Idol and an evening of quilting to drinks with my peeps. I have grown up taste, but I’ve never felt old before.

In the span of four days, three separate events made me keenly aware that, to a large group of people, I am old.

The First Event

Last Friday night, I witnessed a high school version of The Dating Game. It was cute, especially since I knew most of the participants. But then, they asked the question that shall be burned into my brain forever:

If you girlfriend could go on a date with a celebrity hunk, would she choose…

I’m a high school teacher. I keep up with celebrity news. I was expecting Mel Gibson, the cute kid from Troy, and maybe a singer like Usher.

Stop laughing.

The emcee rattled off Leonardo DiCapprio’s name, along with three names I’d never heard of. Not ever. I looked at my friend, Jeff, and said, “Did you know any of those names?”

“You’re old.” he replied.

“What?!?!” I asked, totally unable to comprehend the words.

“We’re old. We don’t know any of those names because we’re old. It’s passed us.”

The Second Event

When my students take a test, I usually give a few bonus questions. The questions always come from a book I have that lists events from history for each day of the year. It’s a fun way for me to tie history and culture and sports trivia in with my science content.

The first bonus question I asked on April 29 was “What famous tennis player has a birthday today? He was once married to a popular Calvin Klien model, and he’s considered a great in the sport. His initials are A.A.”

I thought it was a gimme.

After they handed in their tests, we discussed the bonus questions and their answers.

My students didn’t know who the famous model was. Brooke Shields, the most famous clothing model of my childhood.

After I talked about her a bit, one of them said, “Oh, I know! Isn’t she the mother who talks about being depressed?”

Yes, dear. Brooke Shields has always been a middle-aged woman who talks about post partum depression.

The Third Event

On the same day, in another class, I asked a bonus question about George Washington. He was inaugurated for the first time on April 30, 1789. Only a few of my students knew that the answer to what I thought was another obvious question.

Shocked, I reminded them about the big bicentennial celebration that was held in July of 1989.

“You know! It was the 200th birthday of our country!” I said.

One of them raised a hand. “Mrs. Z? I wasn’t born until 1993. I don’t know anything about the 200th birthday thing.” Heads nodded around the room.

D’oh! It would be hard to remember something that happened before they were born.

I’m old.

I’ve been out of college for almost ten years. That’s hard to fathom; I still dream about being in college.

And yet, I consider myself a young person. I’m going to be 30. Thirty is young.

My parents, my grandparents, and the retirees I know consider me a young person, too, and in thirty years, I will probably look back on this as part of my youth.

And yet.

Are high school students a fair litmus test for defining young and old? I doubt it. But if I am what I feel, I may indeed have grown up and gotten old.

© 2009 – 2017, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

29 thoughts on “I’m old.”

  1. Students are never a litmus test for letting us know if we are old. You are not old, they are just that young and naive. Of course from other teachers I have heard the hardest thing to get over is when you are older than the parents of the students you teach. When I started teaching the parents thought I was too young and actually said it to my face – *rolling eyes* Sad how we have to think about these things. Celebrate being 30 . . . I know I wish I had.

  2. Students are never a litmus test for letting us know if we are old. You are not old, they are just that young and naive. Of course from other teachers I have heard the hardest thing to get over is when you are older than the parents of the students you teach. When I started teaching the parents thought I was too young and actually said it to my face – *rolling eyes* Sad how we have to think about these things. Celebrate being 30 . . . I know I wish I had.

  3. Welcome to the curse of 29! A couple of weeks before I turned 30, I started noticing the same types of things. Then, the night before my 30th birthday, I had a bit of an identity crisis explosion. I called an older friend asking if I was supposed to wake up the next morning and be wise. I guess a lot of people hit the “I feel old” milestone at this age. And my college students make me feel old all the time!

    Jen L.’s last blog post..Featured Product: Personalized Lunchbox!

  4. Welcome to the curse of 29! A couple of weeks before I turned 30, I started noticing the same types of things. Then, the night before my 30th birthday, I had a bit of an identity crisis explosion. I called an older friend asking if I was supposed to wake up the next morning and be wise. I guess a lot of people hit the “I feel old” milestone at this age. And my college students make me feel old all the time!

    Jen L.’s last blog post..Featured Product: Personalized Lunchbox!

  5. Students are not a good judge of old vs. young. Even once they’re out of school…
    My first week teaching, I made the mistake of referring to a teacher as middle aged. To her face. She was 31. Amazingly, we became (and still are) friends. 30 is just around the corner for me, and I’m kinda dreading what she’s gonna do…

    Heather’s last blog post..Diet Update

  6. Students are not a good judge of old vs. young. Even once they’re out of school…
    My first week teaching, I made the mistake of referring to a teacher as middle aged. To her face. She was 31. Amazingly, we became (and still are) friends. 30 is just around the corner for me, and I’m kinda dreading what she’s gonna do…

    Heather’s last blog post..Diet Update

  7. My husband turned 30 this last year and I don’t consider him old… even though I’m 5 years younger (I think I’m more mature… hahaha). Anyway, don’t let these things get you down. I am so far out of the ‘know’ when it comes to celebrity ‘gossip’ I’d be considered way out there. 🙂

    Sab’s last blog post..We’re starting her early…

  8. My husband turned 30 this last year and I don’t consider him old… even though I’m 5 years younger (I think I’m more mature… hahaha). Anyway, don’t let these things get you down. I am so far out of the ‘know’ when it comes to celebrity ‘gossip’ I’d be considered way out there. 🙂

    Sab’s last blog post..We’re starting her early…

  9. OK, first of all, Tara, you are NOT old. I’m old. And I didn’t even start having kids until I was way older than you are. So THERE! 🙂

    Second of all, I’m cracking up at the Andre Agassi thing. Changes my whole view of Brooke Shields, too. But to put even that in perspective, I knew Joe DiMaggio mainly as the Mr. Coffee man when I was growing up, something that horrified my Yankee fan mother.

    Funny post! But you’re still not old.

  10. OK, first of all, Tara, you are NOT old. I’m old. And I didn’t even start having kids until I was way older than you are. So THERE! 🙂

    Second of all, I’m cracking up at the Andre Agassi thing. Changes my whole view of Brooke Shields, too. But to put even that in perspective, I knew Joe DiMaggio mainly as the Mr. Coffee man when I was growing up, something that horrified my Yankee fan mother.

    Funny post! But you’re still not old.

  11. When I went to the ER the other day the doctor walked in and I was shocked at how young he looked! Later I actually asked him his age and he was only 4 years younger than me (he is 35), but he does have a younger appearance. I felt really old having a doctor younger than me – especially one that looked so much better for his age than I do for mine!

    Robyns Online World’s last blog post..National Scrapbooking Day May 2

  12. Doesn’t it seem like people born in 1993 should still be in diapers?

    I mean – not including MY kids who were born in 2004.

    Gah! I’m old.

    Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah’s last blog post..There Are Different Kinds of Smart

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  13. When I went to the ER the other day the doctor walked in and I was shocked at how young he looked! Later I actually asked him his age and he was only 4 years younger than me (he is 35), but he does have a younger appearance. I felt really old having a doctor younger than me – especially one that looked so much better for his age than I do for mine!

    Robyns Online World’s last blog post..National Scrapbooking Day May 2

  14. Doesn’t it seem like people born in 1993 should still be in diapers?

    I mean – not including MY kids who were born in 2004.

    Gah! I’m old.

    Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah’s last blog post..There Are Different Kinds of Smart

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  15. ok….you had me laughing. Very Funny. Though I have to tell you that 30 was my best year! Really…..so many amazing things happened to me that year and beyond.

    A Frugal Friend’s last blog post..Deal of the Day – Sports Illustrated

  16. ok….you had me laughing. Very Funny. Though I have to tell you that 30 was my best year! Really…..so many amazing things happened to me that year and beyond.

    A Frugal Friend’s last blog post..Deal of the Day – Sports Illustrated

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