Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ponderings at the age of Fifty

Actually, I'm just a tad over the actual decade birthday but not by much. Today I found myself thinking how fifty just doesn't fit in the usual scheme of the ages.

Perhaps it is because for centuries 50 was actually old. Life expectancy didn't even reach fifty in some centuries! Now we have people often living into their 80s and 90s so where does that leave 50? I guess it is just the extended middle age that begins when one turns 40 or does 40 now fit more with 30?

I was just getting used to having a daughter out of high school when she graduated college. Then there was the usual marriage and along came grandchildren. They're all quite young (as you can tell from those gorgeous pictures I posted in the past two days) so Grammie is a beloved but fairly new title I wear with pride.

What brought about this wrestling with something so, uh...strange? I had to make a quick trip to the store today for a bottle of Simple Green (just so you will know in the future, it is found in the car wash section of the super store and not the aisle with other cleaners where I looked "forever"). You see, it was one of those "mom trips" because Christopher needed to soak the paint off of some of his Axis and Allies guys and he found out online this is what works.

That little trip sent me down memory lane because I remember my mother in law loving the stuff and encouraging all of us to use it for household cleaning waaaay back when we were all thinking green originally (in my youth). Then while I was at the store, they started playing a Linda Ronstadt song (Different Drum, back when she was with the Stone Poneys) which also took me back to that same decade. Go figure...

The world has changed so much since then. When I was in my teens, women still dressed like the picture above. (If you don't believe me, watch the old TV shows where Wally and the Beaver are in suits and ties because they are going out to eat or to a birthday party.) Clothing has changed a great deal since that era. Christopher was telling me about seeing girls on campus recently dressed as French maids and asked if they sold such things when I was young. I told him you had to order them from Frederick's of Hollywood, the package probably came wrapped in anonymous brown paper, and you would have been arrested if you wore them outside!

All of this thinking today has me wondering if other people feel like they are strangers in this world. It is becoming so different than what I knew even a decade ago. Oh, I know older people have talked about the "good old days" for a very long time. I remember reading an essay about that very subject written in the time of Ancient Greece! No, it is different now for everything is changing so fast.

Of course, we were warned about this in such books as Future Shock. It just seems life around us is out of control and decisions are being made (out of our hands) that are taking us to a place many of us don't want to go... into a future that looks far different than our youth. Not that it was perfect but it was good. Perhaps that is also why 50 seems to wear like a poorly made blouse. It isn't my age that doesn't fit, it is the age in which I find myself living... sigh.

I think I'm going back to brew some tea, go back to a great novel, and be happy at least I have control over my home and my little part of this world. I'm not certain if this makes any sense to you all or if it is just between my lips to God's ears. :)


Anonymous said...

No, it makes sense to me. I'm 46 and have loved old-fashioned things (now I guess the word is "vintage") since I was a little girl.
I was watching "Road to Avonlea" the other night, and couldn't keep my eyes off of Felicity's dresses-so beautiful! I so wish that were the style today. :(
We have several seasons of "The Waltons" on dvd and I love the style of Olivia Walton's dresses-and she always has an apron on.
I know God doesn't make mistakes, but I can't help but sometimes think I was born into the wrong era. :)

Carla Lynne Klimuk said...

No, dearest Brenda, you are not alone in your observations about the world. It is spiraling at breakneck speed towards the end of days....

But we can rejoice... look up! Our home is not of this world... we are aliens and you (and I) are groaning for the freedom from the bondage of decay and death.

I am comforted by His words, and by knowing such folks as you:-), as I make my pilgrimage home...

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your prayers for my Anne Elizabeth. I heard them, she heard them... and were joined in tandem by the others who whispered at the throne room door.

Thank you... thank you...thank you.

Carla Lynne

Susan P. said...

It makes perfect sense to me, dear friend. The words you wrote rung so true in this 49 year old heart....

Heather L. said...

I'm pondering turning 30! Yikes! I'm sure that sounds silly to those who are older. :) I don't know why I have to be sentimental about it. Maybe we are all sentimental about time passing and things changing.
I get wistful thinking about living in other times too -- like the English Tudor period, or the Jane Austen times, or even turn of the 20th century. But, then I read books about what life was ACTUALLY like then(gruelling, disease-strewn, horrible wars)and I'm grateful to live now!

Morning Glory said...

It makes perfect sense to me, too. I try so hard not to sound like one of those people who moan about the past and how good it was, but it was a good time. More innocent and simple. I'm glad I was a child in the 50s.

Mary said...

Brenda, it all makes perfect sense to me. I'm 51 and wonder every day at the things I see and hear. I cherish listening to our oldest generation and always enjoy listening to what they have to say. I once listened to Art Linkletter being interviewed and he was asked what he thought was the biggest change and he said the vulgarity in the world. Another sweet couple who were married 75 years were asked the same question and the gentleman said the vulgarity and the sweet lady said the immodesty in girls and women today. I have to say I agree with them. I often wonder just how far our society will go. I always enjoy your writings Brenda.

meg said...

This rings true in my heart as well; I'm only 44, but feel uncomfortably out of date with the current trends. I fashion my home & my life on the way things were- to a point. I work outside the home & enjoy a partnership with my spouse; my sons know as much (or more) than my daughter about cooking, cleaning, & running a house; & all of us have had the advantages of higher education.
I also am careful to not start bemoaning the "good old days" to my children- I remember the eye-rolling & smirking I did as a teenager when the older folks would start out on that vein. But I do feel that this current generation missed out on something sweet & wholesome- much of their innocence is gone by age 10!
Let them call me fuddy-duddy! My style may be dated, but it's comfortable & reflects me. I will hold on to my old-fashion notions of manners, modesty, & marriage, passing those values to my children.

Wendy said...

Oh Brenda, I can totally relate. I turned 50 this
year and it has left me with much pondering.
I have always felt that I should have lived in
the 40's when life was slower and back roads
were still unpaved. Everyone knew everyone
else and tended neighborhood children like
they were their own. Moms wore aprons and
left kitchen windows open so the afternoon
breezes could blow through...
Maybe I'm just sentimental too!
Thanks for this lovely post.

Jenn V said...


I am "only" 37 and I can't believe how much the world has changed in just 20 years. I cannot imagine seeing the big decline from the 50's until now! What a shock that must be. I long for the days when women dressed in a modest and feminine manner but unfortunately I don't think that will happen in my lifetime. Like others have said, my whole life I have felt I should have lived in the nineteenth century. Just maybe with better hospitals and appliances and stuff.

By the way, I got my first issue of the new Victoria in the mail today. It's great! It really had that nostalgic feel of the old Victoria.

Cat said...

Dearest Brenda,

Is it your birthday?! Happy Birthday!!!! Or did I miss it? Either way...

Happy Birthday!!!

Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. It is nice to know that someone out there thinks and feels and looks at life the same way I do.

It is funny as we get older how differently we look at things isn't it?! I love it actually! I'm like Joanna in that I can't help but think I was born in the wrong time period!

I am off to make a cup of hot tea and curl up on the couch with a quilt and finish reading our book club's book. The club is through the library's working together and they select the books for you. It is called The Color of Water.

Thank you again for your words...they have meant so much to me and that you took the time to share them with me...Thank you!

Love and God's Blessings,

Delaware mom said...

I used to think I was born into the wrong time period, too, but after my 50th birthday I went to work full-time after being a "stay at home" mom for more than 25 years.

That was six years ago. I am an educator, and I work in an office with people who are close in age to my own two sons (who are now 26 and 29).

It has been a blast! I really enjoy staying in touch with what the "next generation" is thinking and doing, now that my own two sons are off on their own.
I also deplore the general lowering of standards in behavior, dresss, etc., but I am reassured by the level of knowledge and responsibility I see in those with whom I work. We learn from each other every day.

So, life does not end at 50! Grandma Moses, after all, became a painter in her 70s!

Suze said...

What you said absolutely makes sense to me! I'm 51 - and I feel like a stranger in this world more and more. My husband and I both feel the same way - and I find myself praying, "even so, Lord Jesus, come." I used to be able to understand so much of the teen thing because I had one - my daughter. But now, with the way they text message each other in a special kind of "shorthand", I am just behind the times - and not likely to catch up.

I know the world has changed tremendously since I was a child in the late 50's! One time I found a recording on the internet from right after the big Northeast blackout in 1967 - it was a recording of a program on the AM radio station I used to listen to as a young teen - WABC out of NYC. When I listened to the recording of the people being interviewed, and asked where they were during the blackout and how they coped - it was as if I had stepped back in time. I suddenly realized that in my own lifetime, speech patterns have changed. Those who were interviewed spoke in a different way than we do today - complete sentences, references to mores and standards that are passe now - and just the use of words and phrases was so different than today's. It was a real eye opener.

Just open a magazine from the 1950's - the articles, the whole atmosphere of the magazine is foreign to today, and oh so dear to me.

Matroskin said...

I'm only 37 and feel like you do! I wish people would still dress in proper clothes. I wish women would wear white gloves and never run to the bus. Allthough the ladies in your picture are probably wearing corsets, ugh. They'd give me an asthma attack. Anyway, I feel the world is changing so fast that I'm becoming a dinosaurus. And I hate certain modern liberties, like ads that look like pornography although they sell something like body lotion to women. I just feel so old when my son asks what was my favourite video when I was little and I have to tell him that VCRs hadn't been even invented! And then I end up thinking that the world was a better place because children would play outside instead of with their computers.

smilnsigh said...

Just imagine what it is like, to be living, as 70! ,-)

Funny thing is though, I think I "bounce-better" now, than I did at 50. I actually remember my 50th year, well. Thought I "looked good," I was way too uptight and anxious. Tense!!!

But having lived through my 50's and my 60's, I'm a lot less tense now. Really! Even though I still *blow,* every once in a while. -giggles- But over all, I've mellowed. :-)