There’s the obvious perks to being a grown-up such as driving, using credit cards and eating pretty much whatever I want whenever I want to. *
But one of the surprising things I like about my middle-aged woman hood is not being afraid talking to (most) people like I was when I was (that’s a lot of I was-ez) a child, tween, teen and/or young adult. In fact, I find I actually like chatting with people, all kinds of people, and don’t hesitate talking with them if it seems appropriate.
Case in point: Wedding last weekend outside of Washington D.C. Despite my husband’s family insisting I am Allison Mumby (note the double L), not Alison Ernst, I had a truly lovely time. At the rehearsal dinner, I sat across from certifiably old people, a kind couple who were heading on into their 50th anniversary. I’m guesstimating they were in their 70s a quarter of a century older than me. We chattered amiably through dinner, which is not particularly amazing as I am a fan of the aged (for the most part). The turning to talk with a row of young men in suits, clean-shaven, recovered from wedding eve hangovers, was the surprise. I don’t recall why or how I initiated the conversation, but I did…and found myself twisted in a fairly flimsy faux bamboo chair, talking with these guys about how they went to college (Colgate) with the bride, but were sitting in the groom’s section because they were all about equal opportunity. One had a friend who went to NMH and knew just were I lived, though he’s from Maine, and living there near family after years away, and yes he does know Small Point/Popham Beach outside of Bath where I got married and oh be the way Blake the Groom brought Kris the Bride to the wedding after they’d been dating just a few months and that’s where and how she met the family (which she was on this very day marrying into, as well as Blake marrying into hers. The likelihood lf my turning around and talking to these guys (or guys like these) when I was in my early 20s (the age of a niece sitting mute next to me, wide-eyed) was pretty much nil. I was painfully self-conscious of my not-good-enough-ness. At mid 40 I am felling pretty darn good enough thank you, with really does make it a whole heck of a lot easier to talk to people, in spit of my tendency toward introversion (in the Meyers-Briggs sense of the word.)
*Here’s the reality check piece related to the cool stuff adults get to do at will…. there’s also the responsibility part. Such as earning the resources to fund the car, the gas, the insurance, and going through the proper licensing and auto registration procedures, and then there’s obeying the applicable laws including speed of the vehicle and parking issues, and if by chance one is caught violating any of these said vehicular laws, there’s dealing with consequences in a responsible manner, with usually involves paying a ticket. I won’t even start in about credit cards and food. Suffice it to say, it’s more multi-layered than it looks at first.
My 16-year-old progeny has just installed Firefox on my mac (after explaining it's much better than Safari), set my home page on NPR, and demonstrated her preference for Gmail over others. She is the digital native; I am the digital immigrant. I am not an early adopter of this stuff. However, if a human shows me how to work an application, and I have some interest in pursuing it, I can and do learn it. Librarians worth their salt are all about life long learning. So maybe next week I'll switch to Gmail....
#1: I just learned I share a birthday with writer/illustrator Tomie DePaola which is very cool on many levels. (More on this later...)
#2: I will be ending my decade long stint as the Library Director at The Northfield Mount Hermon School in approximately 13 months, and am starting to prepare for my next professional gig as library consultant and writer. (And, heaven knows, a web presence is a good thing.)
#3: I had initial success and enjoyment blogging via Caring Bridge during my brain tumor sabbatical.