In Lorrie Moore‘s A Gate at the Stairs, on page 32, you’ll find this:
A going-to-seed hunk in a windbreaker: the world seemed full of them.
I’m not sure if even the baby boomers can yet comprehend the psychological effects of aging on people who’ve grown up in a culture so fervently enamored with youth and the young. Generation X, though, is definitely feeling that pain.
30 is the new 20, and 40 is likewise the new 30, and so on. Or so we’ve told ourselves. And so it’s a shock to discover ourselves in sentences like that one up there. (I never was a hunk, nor do I own a windbreaker, but you get the point.)
I watched the first 20 minutes of John Doyle’s recent, very poorly conceived, but well-acted production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, a musical play that turns on the aging of the characters almost as much as it does on their varied states of marital blissfulness. Bobby, the main character, is turning 35, and he’s alone, and surely there could be nothing worse.
I had one of those moments – “35? Holy crap that’s me.” Of course, I’m married, so I’m not alone, right?
Frankly, I was shocked to find myself married before the age of 35. When I was young … (let’s just let that statement linger) …
… I thought I’d be a bachelor till I was 45. Heck, it wasn’t hard to imagine myself never getting married, aging alone very happily, making companions of my art and a house full of books. That was my kinda romanticism.
In 1970, at 34 years, I would be old, right? Certainly middle-aged. I’m definitely not “young” anymore, by anyone’s standards. Yeesh.