The first time one of your friends gets engaged

Wow! Pow! Kazam! One of my good friends is engaged. Wasn’t I just on here like, yesterday saying I felt old? Well. I continue to feel old.

Here’s the thing. Weddings are in the air, I’ve been saying it for weeks now. My aunt is getting married, and as a bridesmaid (and my mother is the maid of honor) I’ve been pretty involved, doing all the necessary swooning and dress testing that is required of me. Thinking about weddings so much had inspired my boyfriend and I to start speculating seriously, for the first time, getting married ourselves. In a few years, of course, after we graduate and live together for a bit.

But now–now! My 21-year-old friend is engaged, and has set a date–for June!!! He’s getting married in three months. She’s not even pregnant. This is just what they want to do, and the thing is, we all support him. He’s not even being so crazy. He’s graduating in May, why not, right?

Marriage doesn’t mean much nowadays, so why not just do it for the benefits? If you’re planning on long term anyway, and love each other anyway, and are living together anyway, and own a cat together (like they do) anyway…

 

How am I so old that getting married seems like a normal thing to do? A bit early, sure, but nothing crazy. What!?

 

I’m happy for him. I really am. How surreal. How surreal.

Friends and heels

Last night I saw a friend I haven’t seen in nearly two years. It’s always strange when that happens…do you act like nothing has changed, or like you’re meeting them again for the first time?

I wouldn’t have been so nervous, I suppose, if he and I weren’t so close before. I know I’ve changed in the past two years…has he? Will we be too different to be friends?

When he came over, all my worries went away. God, he was so him. So normal. I caught myself watching his mannerisms throughout the night, the way he laughed. He had the same glasses. So normal, but so strange to see him again.

Nonetheless, distance was persistent in being the forefront of the evening. While he was talking about the college he goes to, he said, “And my girlfriend–I have a girlfriend named Sarah….”

How do you count friends? I would still count him as my friend, though we hadn’t spoken in so long and were so separate I didn’t know he had a girlfriend, never mind her name. He, who I used to know everything about.

How do you count friends, in a world that’s always changing, in a world that allows you to be virtually inseparable but physically worlds away?

I can only imagine what it will be like when we’re older and even further from our roots. When I see someone I used to be close with decades ago, will it be just as easy and strange? I’m terrible at recognizing faces and remembering names…then again, I can always look people up on Facebook if I forget them.

Social media is weird. Growing up is weird. Friendships are weird.

I wore heels to work today and I feel old.

Ageing Gracefully

Maybe it’s a bit strange for me to be annoyed by ageism. After all, beyond some underestimation I haven’t been subject to ageist behavior. But I head forward into this discussion with the firm belief that people can support causes that don’t affect them. Men can be feminists, after all. That said…

I just started watching Grace and Frankie, and it is phenomenal. I won’t go into much detail about it, beyond that its four main stars are all older (about the age of retirement, with grandkids). I wasn’t even two minutes into the first episode when I realized how strange that was, and how strange it was that it was strange.

Older people are nearly never the stars. They’re mentors, sure, crazy grandparents, side characters, teachers. Mr. Miagis, Dumbledores, Professor Xs, etc. Why must the protagonist always be young and spritely? The oldest Disney Princess is Elsa at 21. Luke Skywalker started at 19. Harry Potter started at 11!

Well, there’s a lot of reasons. We like the hero’s story. We love a good bildungsroman (fancy German word for “coming of age story”). It’s more interesting to see people fall in love than continue to be in love, just like how it’s interesting to see people get a job rather than retire. How many shows start with someone getting a new job, or moving to a new place after college, or getting engaged? Beginnings are simply more interesting than ends.

But life doesn’t just ride on a happy ending after you turn 30. Life just keeps happening. There is no happy ending to wrap it all up; it just keeps going. Why is it so hard to imagine an older person going through an exciting story as the protagonist?

Well, let me tell you: Grace and Frankie have an interesting story, and they’re genuinely funny as well. They made me realize that we may need to invent a Bechdel test for people over fifty. Two people, over fifty, with names, have a conversation about something other than how old they are. Surely, that’s a hard bill to fit.

I guess this hits me hard because I just ended another year of college and am about to end my 6-month internship, and it feels like a sort of graduation. A place where movies end, but life does not. Or maybe it’s because I’m salty about not being a teenager anymore. Either way, I think it’s important to teach people that you don’t get a happily ever after. You just get more life.

I think that’s a positive thing. To live always happily would be to live quite a boring life.

Anyhow, yes. I vote we end age discrimination as well as all the other discriminations we’re already fighting to end. I think it’s just as important, for people of all ages. Some people may say, “Oh, they’ve had their chance at the spotlight.” But I don’t think the spotlight cares about wrinkles. It cares about people deserving of attention, and that could be anyone.