Not in years, perhaps, though I am rapidly approaching my last birthday that can be considered "early" thirties. However, in our new, 67-is-the-new-44 society, 34 just isn't old. I mean, look at Jennifer Aniston.
No, don't! She's naked! I think you get my point, however. Jennifer is 40, or close enough to it that they call her 40, and she looks good enough that people pay money to look at her naked. I have no doubt that Jennifer knows about cool pop culture things, too, which is why she has a cute hipster musician boyfriend in his 20's.
I know what you're thinking. "Deb," you're thinking, "what are you talking about? You're a young, vital, happening kind of lady who gets it." (Don't argue with me. That's what you're thinking.) I know I often give that impression, but I've been fooling you all for years. Here are the reasons why I am so very, very old.
1.) I have become one of those people who sees a really great movie about three years after everyone else, and then I go around telling people about it like it's brand new. Isn't that terrible? I used to hate people like me. I remember when people started "discovering" Pulp Fiction, months after I saw it at a special midnight show in a basement theater in Houston. I hated those people, and now I'm so much worse.
Here's my example: I just saw a movie called The Queen. It stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II and centers around the Queen's handling of the death of Princess Diana. This is an awesome movie, but I'm embarrassed to mention it to anyone, because it's such old news. I mean, I saw it on USA, for goodness' sakes. However, since this is my "safe place" I can tell you all that this is a great performance, and Helen Mirren totally deserved that Oscar that she may or may not have won some amount of time ago.
2.) I don't understand The Hills. I mean, I don't understand anything about it. What is this show supposed to even be about? Is it supposed to be reality? It's poorly written enough to pass as reality, I supposed, but please. And why do they chew so much? Honestly, the one time I tried to sit through an episode of this dreck I endured 47 minutes of chewing followed by a commercial for Pro-Activ. I know this show must be vitally important to our popular culture, because E!, People, and other pop-watch media spend just oodles of time telling us how Audrina was mad that Lauren ate Spencer, or something like that, but I just don't get it.
3.) I don't get all of the "hip references" anymore. I can't even cite any examples, that's how un-hip I am.
4.) I have become living history to my students. I remember the first year I was teaching, I was shocked that I had to explain to my students what communism was. I was only 21 years old, but I was teaching students who had been born around the time the Berlin Wall fell, so they hadn't grown up with the Cold War as a daily reality. It is so much worse now.
I try to give my students a frame of reference. When we are talking about the 1980's, for example, I start with, "This was before the internet." The gasps are audible. You would think I said, "This was before indoor plumbing," or "This was before multi-cellular organisms exited the primordial ooze." Then, the tentative hand-raising begins.
"Miss," they begin (I let them call me Miss because it makes me feel younger), "was this before cell phones?"
"Yes," I smile gently, making sure my dentures are in place, "it was before cell phones." The cacophony swells.
"What about DVD players?"
"Was it before iTunes?"
"Did you have a television?"
"Were there cars when you were a kid?"
"Were you alive during slavery times?"
I hold up my hands, adjust my half-glasses, and pull my shawl close around me for warmth. I know, deep in my heart, that I am not the old woman I must seem to them...but sometimes, late at night, when Extra is attempting to convince me that Heidi Montag is, indeed, a celebrity, I doubt myself. That's when I'm sure that, for better or worse, I'm old. Now get off my lawn.