Julian Barney defines the difference between youth and age: “When we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves. When we are old, we invent different pasts.” We have no regular rite of passage prompting people to do so. But it’s hard to tell a story before it ends.
We are not blank slates. David Brooks correctly states that we are players in a game we don’t understand. Our perceptions and memories are slippery, especially regarding our own roles in the game. It seems that old people regularly rewrite history, purposely or not. I have a friend who says “it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, as long as it’s interesting.” I have to agree, because does it really matter to anyone if Aunt Hazel had two cats or ten?
I have always said that we should reinvent ourself every ten years. The photo albums especially need to be edited that often. It’s nice to save photos so our children can at least recognize us, but do we really need the picture of that beehive hairdo, or the circle skirts of the ’50’s? And white go-go boots? Oh my goodness! But I bought a leopard handbag and belt in the 60’s that my daughter still remembers, and I told her if she really liked it all that much she can have it someday, because I still have it
However it isn’t just the women. The hairy sideburns of the ’70’s, went well with the plaid golf pants and the gold chains, but today? I don’t think so. Dr. Advice luckily never invested in the gold chains for himself, and that’s a good thing, but he did have the golf pants.
And you know about the new look today: all it takes is looks and a whole lot of money.
But “the best thing you’re ever going to do, you haven’t even thought of yet. You’re just getting started.”