Karen Croke, email@example.com:08 a.m. EDT August 14, 2015
(Photo: Gannett News Service/Apple Corps Ltd.)
For boomers, the gap between the age we think we are, and our actual age, is growing.
I stumbled across a Twitter post the other day that had me thinking: It said that the crumbling of our reality arrives when we realize the age we think we are — in my case, 25 — is the age that your children actually are.
A few significant events recently have reminded me that I am no longer the age that I thought I was.
The first was someone mentioning that The Beatles' record-breaking concert at Shea Stadium took place 50 years ago, Aug. 15, 1965.
I remember that concert. I was young — extremely young, may I say — when it took place, but I remember the hysteria and that I was in love with the Fab Four, who seemed, at the time, so much older than I.
Fast forward 50 years and somehow dating Paul or Ringo still seems far-fetched.
Then there was a video that was shot with friends during a Fire Island summer in 1986 (you can start doing the math) that I just saw this weekend with that same group of friends.
As the DVD revealed our long-ago selves, we noticed we had significantly fewer inhibitions, wore much less clothing — in this case bikini tops and grass skirts — and drank tons of tequila. It was great until the realization hit us that our now-adult kids were probably having a similar experience, just in real time.
We turned to each other and said, "What happened?"
Not as in "where did the time go," but more like, how is it possible that we're not still 25? We feel 25! Few of us look like we're 25 (except Christie Brinkley). And it's not that, as invincible boomers, we're refusing to acknowledge our age. It’s more about having to finally recognize the passing of time.
"I think what happened as you and your friends watched that video is very normal," says Scarsdale-based family therapist Tamera Schreur. "And not just for baby boomers. Life keeps moving along and we are always caught up in the midst of living it. We can lose track of the passage of time until it gets telescoped for us, like in the old video. Seeing the actual footage of a video makes it pretty clear that time has passed. It can be a surprise in some ways to see it."
Schreur, who claims boomer status herself, can relate. "The other day at a park I watched a teenager doing cartwheel after cartwheel — flawlessly," she says. "For half a second I considered trying my old cheerleading skills and trying one myself. And then, thankfully, I came to my senses."
She explained the disconnect between our actual ages and the age we feel like and act like gets larger and larger as we get older: "Our feelings don’t always match reality. That can get in the way when we try to do something our body no longer is capable of doing easily. But this can work for us as a good thing too! It can inspire us to make some positive changes as we age and keep us focused on taking healthy care of ourselves."
I think my own form of ignoring reality stems from the actual term “50 years ago.” I can distinctly remember hearing an announcer intone those words during long, boring black-and-white newsreels on rainy day recess at W.L. Morse School in Sleepy Hollow. Fifty years ago, to me, always seemed like ancient history, as in the end of WWII ... or the actual beginning of time.
But now? The Beatles played Shea Stadium “50 years ago,” and it’s not such ancient history.
Schreur had some great advice for me. "So, if you watch another one of those Fire Island videos and are startled by the changes, think of it as an opportunity to reflect on how you want the rest of your life to look — and go after it!"
I think I might still have that grass skirt.
It happened 50 years ago
Crying, screaming, fainting fans greeted the Beatles for their Shea Stadium concert, Aug. 15, 1965
Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in about one minute in a fight on May 25, 1965
The March on Selma began on March 21, 1965.
We got a glimpse of Mars. Yes, Mariner 4 relayed the first photos of the red planet on July 14. Take that, Curiosity.
The Voting Rights Act was signed into law, Aug. 6, 1965
On Nov. 9, 1965, a massive blackout left the entire Northeast in the dark.