Yes, we’ve all heard the phrase “you’re only as old as you feel.” And, I tend to agree with it. I am living life to the fullest in my memory. Nonetheless, there are things that make me “feel” old, emotionally. There are so many contemporary examples that I feel compelled to make a list. Heck, we all like lists. And, as it’s turned out, I can’t even complete the list in one column!
Some of the things that make me feel old are simply advances in technology, changing cultural trends, and often I don’t really care. But, when I completely don’t get something that is extremely popular I have to concede that I may be stuck — stuck in my ways, and it’s frustrating.
Being a parent is a constant reminder of what you don’t know or understand. Even if you think you know or understand something, your kids will readily assure you that you don’t.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of things that “make” me feel old:
~~ Tattoos: I don’t like them, I don’t get them, and I never want to or expect to change my opinion. At this exact moment, an “older” woman walked by with a half-finished tattoo on her back. To me, she looks as foolish as her tight pants, platform sandals, and slouchy old-fart walk.
~~ Drugs: Of course I “get” the value of drugs for health purposes but the pervasive variety and access of recreational drugs confounds me. When I was a cool dude in college (sadly, that was NEVER the case), we had access to dope – aka marijuana – and it was homegrown and there was one kind. Some kids got it “underground” but it was a word-of-mouth simple business. I didn’t care for the effects of weed so it was never something I indulged in much.
Now, there are more varieties of marijuana – much of it available legally – than there is of cereal. And, there seems to be easy access to a variety of other still illicit drugs for anyone that cares to buy them. My son has a friend in college who appears to me to be the sweetest girl around and he’s informed me that she’s the main drug dealer at his college and carries a stash that would rival a pharmacy.
Dope, I mean Nope — I don’t get it.
~~ Television Programming: What happened to nice TV? Why is so much of contemporary television ugly, mean, and horribly violent? It used to be just on cable that we had the graphic ugliness. Shows like “The Sopranos” were R-rated television series. They were critic’s darlings but many – including newer shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Dexter,” and “The Walking Dead” truly have no redeeming qualities and often celebrate the villain, the killer, the one who is most brutal. Now, network television has joined the party and broadcasts its share of ugly, mean-spirited television programming.
I can’t watch that stuff, for the most part. Yes, I got caught up in “The Sopranos” but occasionally the overtly graphic violence would cause me to turn away. What stuns me more is that my boys revel in these shows and don’t see anything wrong with them.
Where is “Bonanza” and “The Walton’s” when we really need them? Heck, I’ll take “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “Laugh-In” please!
~~ Violence (in so many forms of mass entertainment): Television is just the tip of the violence tsunami now available in movie theater and on games. The evolution of the horror movie from the classic “Psycho” in which there was NO BLOOD seen at all to the horrific horror-porn of late is dehumanizing us and, again, makes me feel quaint and old-fashioned. Sorry, I didn’t see ANY of the “Saw” series.
~~ Rap (and other contemporary music, such as EDM, aka electronic dance music): Yeah, I grew up in the free-spirited hippie era of the sixties and seventies and yes, many of us got high at concerts and music festivals, but again it seems to have escalated to a different level today. EDM shows are fraught with the use of Ecstasy. Rap music is filled with misogynistic hate and violence. Sorry, cannot listen to it. Even the diva of the day – Beyonce – flaunts sex in a truly un-classy and demeaning way. Sad, because she could be such a needed role model for class and, instead, is a role model of rich trash.
~~ Smart-Phone Addiction: We all know the problem here but there’s also the problem of access to all of the above without parental supervision. And, for many adults, the same access can create a sense of insensitivity to others’ suffering. Obviously, the same is true and then some for kids raised on such ugliness.
~~ Conversation: Do your kids know how to carry on a conversation? Or, like my younger son, are the majority of their relationships based on texts that don’t even have the 140 characters of a tweet?
What makes YOU feel old?