Monday, October 3, 2011

Aging and Growing Up

I've been watching the teen shows lately, and last night, one of them made a reference to Gilmore Girls.

Two high-school-aged characters were chatting, and the younger one says, "You're Lorelai, because I'm obviously Rory." (Lorelai's the mom; Rory's the daughter for those of you who never watched. I was a huge fan.)

It got me to thinking about aging and looking one's age--and how (I hope) these shows are clearly being targeted at my demographic rather than the kids who are the same age as the characters.

Anyway, I'm often told I look young for my age. Lately, I haven't been feeling it, but I do notice others my age and how they dress. They do sometimes look *a'hem* more mature than me.

I've also noticed these same ones have teenagers.

Perhaps that's part of it. JRM and I didn't get married until we were in our 30s and didn't have our first child til then. But even before, I was being told I looked 14 when I was 21, and trust me, I hated it. Now it's just puzzling... what's the math on that?

OK, I'm way off where I was headed with this. All these thoughts had something to do with character development, and the way we see the people we've known all our lives as we grow older.

I have a friend I've mentioned before, who I've known since we were babies. Actually, I don't remember a time I didn't know her.

Over the weekend, a mutual friend of ours posted a picture of her on Facebook from senior prom. I saw it and smiled. She was a grade behind me in high school, so I ran over to hang out while they got ready for the big night. It was such a clear memory.

Here's my point: to me, she looks exactly the same. OK, she was a little chubbier around the cheeks at 17, but I could still hear her voice even. It sounds the same.

More than that. I remember every funny secret, every not so funny secret, every first love, every dream, every hope, every wish... Every all-nighter spent eating guacamole and chips while watching Out of Africa and crying.

I think about her two boys--she's just Mom to them. I think about my own daughters. Ditto.


Character development. People who've known each other all their lives still see each other with those eyes--no matter what changes.

Hmm... or do they? What would it take to change that? Something major, I bet. Thinking about this...

I'll never truly see my friend as someone's mom even though I know she is, and she'll never look our age to me (even though she is).

I wonder how old I look to her.

Til Thursday, reader- and writer-friends~ <3

32 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

I married young and had children young, so I live with a teenage daughter. No one believes me when I tell them I have kids, let alone a teenage one. It puts a smile on my face.

Jessica Bell said...

My brain is still in my early twenties... :-/

Laura Pauling said...

I love remembering the giggly fun times! Of course, I try and forget any of the drama and heartbreak!

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm always told I look the same age as my teenage son. We're often told we look like brother and sister. (Probably because of my oriental roots.) But, because my son has his friends over and doesn't want his mum to act like a teenager, I've been starting to act and dress my age--which is 35. God, I feel old. I'm almost at... dead. Ugh.

DEZMOND said...

I'm not sure how old you are,(I think you're older than me), but you always seemed very young to me, both the looks and your posts!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm the same. Married at 32 and had first child 5 months later (he was three months premature and I didn't realize I was pregnant at the time of the wedding). ;)

I don't feel old. Half the time I forget my age. If someone asks and I'm distracted, I often say 17. Guess how old my main characters usually are????

Sarah said...

I think this is a really important point about perspective as separate from reality (and what is reality, anyway?), and it's crucial to keep in mind when telling a story!

salarsenッ said...

Great ending question. You just made my brain ache...in a good way. You and I seem pretty similar. I've always been told I look younger than my actual age. But I did have my first child younger than you. I still fit in juniors' clothes...which can get very tricky nowadays. I have to be cautious but still be who I am. It's getting more difficult now that I have two teen boys, my daughter's almost a teen, and then I have the eight year old. *sigh*

Old Kitty said...

I get very chuffed when I'm asked for ID as proof of age when I buy alcohol in shops!! LOL!!!

I always get a shock when I meet friends from 10/15 years ago and they come along with their grown up kids - kids I remember as babies!

Take care
x

Lydia Kang said...

I feel the same way as you. I feel younger than my age and I feel like I dress younger than other people my age too. I always get the comment that I look young because I have long hair and am very petite. All in all, I think it's a blessing! A few weeks ago a waiter asked if I was doing my "homework" at the cafe where I write (I think they thought I was in college) and I wanted to give him a huge kiss on the cheek.

Matthew MacNish said...

The only things that have changed about me are extra padding around the middle, and less hair up top.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I don't know. I see people on Facebook from my past who were still young in my head, but then gray hair and tragic tales shatter the picture. I like the not knowing better.

PS. I think you're really a pixie and that's why you're not aging like the rest of us. :)

M Pax said...

That is so true. My high school friends, when we talk, it's like we were never apart. I see the same gals I hung out with, etc ... They sound the same. It's like a time warp. We sometimes remember to ask about each other's husbands and children. Usually at the end. lol

Tracy Jo said...

Wow. This really made me think. I have friends like yours that look exactly the same to me. At the same time...there have been moments when people have changed right before my eyes.

It made me think of this quote:
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. ~Anais Nin

Lynda R Young said...

I think age is in the attitude. I tend to shock people when I tell them my age (I don't act real mature hehehe).

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Ha, I love this post. You know, I married and had children young and many times, I feel like my mind is still in my twenties LOL. I'm 34 now and my oldest is about to turn ten! Ten! I also have an eight year old and a 5 year old - they keep me young. I agree wholeheartedly that age is all about attitude:)

LTM said...

@Laura--it's true. But at the same time, they're all aspects of the relationship, right? Hopefully making it stronger~ :o) <3

Portia said...

Totally true! And isn't it weird to think about how you still view your high school friends, especially those you haven't seen in a while? But I can e comfortable being just mom. :-)

There's a seed of an interesting story here—I hope you pursue it!

–Portia

Ella said...

The last class reunion I attended I was told you may not recognize some of your classmates. I laughed, no way...I have a great memory, etc. Then it happened, the second person who came up to me. He started talking and I honestly didn't know who he was till he smiled and said, "You don't know who I am do you?". It struck me and I did, but phew. I remember details like you. I think acting youthful also changes the view. I am probably an older Mom for my daughter vs. the other Moms. She tells me she is glad I act young and I'm fun. "You don't act your age".
I told her, "I am just me, I don't know what it means to act a certain age". lol ;D
I like this post and I think it is a great reminder to just be you~
Age happens, but we don't have to change much, okay maybe our wardrobe <3 555

Angela Felsted said...

That's an interesting way to see things. I sometimes look at older people and try to imagine them younger.

Gilmore Girls was a funny show because if you look at the real life ages of the actresses who play mother and daughter, the aren't far enough apart to actually be mother and daughter. TV is funny like that, most actors who play teenagers are in their 20's and those who play Mom's have rarely hit 40. I guess that's show business for you.

Karen said...

Love this post. I think a lot about identity as I grow older. What you get to keep and what you lose as you age.

My best friend from middle school still sees me as the person I was when I left home. In some ways, I love that. For everything I tell her, she has pitch-perfect context. But old friends don't make allowances for change, either. If you've changed for the better (and I have, I swear!) getting an old friend to see it is NOT easy. It's a little demoralizing, but at the same time, I guess it keeps you humble. :)

I'm about to move back home after 10 years away (I'm 30 this year, no kiddos yet, getting divorced) and will actually be moving in with my oldest friend, who's also newly divorced. We'll be roomates, just like we talked about in high school. It's nuts. Here's to seeing if I'll go back to being my old self, maintain the new me... or become something completely different!

In the end, I like the idea that you can be someone different for each person in your life. It's a lot like reading fiction, right? Escapism, transformation... it's all there!

LTM said...

@Karen--best of luck to you! and here's hoping for Option 3--something different *and better.* Take care of yourself~ ((big hugs))

Shannon said...

Interesting post, Leigh. :)

I know what you mean about looking younger than you are. I used to hate it as a 20-something but now I'm so thankful for it. :) It's a great point about characters. It's hard for me to see my sister, parents, and best friend differently. This is a great source of conflict in a story. <3

Michael Di Gesu said...

Oh, Leigh,

What a post.. Age. One thing for sure it's really in the attitude.

I confuse the hell out of people at times depending on my mood.

Although I look much younger that I am and if I act playful and fun no one guesses my age. The confusion comes when i am in the company of immature twenty and thirty somethings. I know many mature younger people and we get along famously, but put with with people acting like teenagers then I act much more mature and immediately go into "Father"mode although I don't have kids.

They look at me weird like "Who are you to judge us? You're our age!"

I like who I am. Younger friends fascinate me. When I was young I like older, more mature friends. I guess I'm a bit of a freak... LOL. But that's just how it is.

Anita Grace Howard said...

What a beautiful post! I've always been told I look young for my age, too. And I even have a teenage daughter. ;) Such eloquence in this statement: "People who've known each other all their lives still see each other with those eyes--no matter what changes."

And so true. I think that's why hanging w/old high school friends or watching those "teen" shows are so good for us as YA writers. It brings back all of those feelings w/such clarity. And that's what we weave into our characters.

Jennie Bailey said...

Did you see Father of the Bride? I love the scene where she is talking to her dad and he sees her as the little girl. The way our dads still see us!

I remember growing up when 40 seemed so old to me - now that we're approaching it, it doesn't seem old and none of my friends look what I thought 40 looked like at 10! This was such an amazing post!!

Pk Hrezo said...

How funny... I think of this all the time. Two of my best friends I've known since middle school... and I still think of them as girls. I even have a hard time thinking of myself as a woman... lol...

Talli Roland said...

I still feel like I'm 18! Eeeeep! I have my 20-year high-school reunion this summer. Man, that makes me feel O-L-D!

Liz Fichera said...

As my Dad always said, age is just a number.

I'm meeting a couple of high schools friends in Chicago next month. I haven't seen them in decades but they will always be 18 to me. :)

LTM said...

@Anita G.--My friend was the other "adult" on the cruise this summer, and I was really having these thoughts then. We still seem the same. :o) <3

@PK--it's funny, right? I'm older, but at the same time, I still see and react to things like I always did. I guess you never change on the inside. Or something.... ;p <3

@Liz--RIGHT! :D And have fun in Chitown~ ;o)

Janet Johnson said...

On the inside, I still feel like that kid back then. But outside . . . yeah, I look my age. *sigh* It's really snuck up on me!

But yes, it is hard to change your vision of someone your know. But perhaps that's a good thing.

Los Angeles SEO said...

People that you have grown up with do see you with the same eyes if you have been apart for some time. But if you are together and growing and maturing than you leave room for that person to grow. On this note I hat going back to my parent's town because everyone still treats me as if I was in high school.