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April 25, 2008

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Denise M.

Joan Didion wrote once that hers was the last generation to identify with adults. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1958, I believe. And, as she goes on to explain, in those twilight Eisenhower Years, the young men wore jackets and ties to class and the young women wore sweater sets and pearls. They dressed the part because they aspired to the part. Adulthood.

How different things are now. Men over 40 sporting soul patches and big boy shirts. Women of a certain age with curiously perky breasts, crammed into their daughters jeans. (Or maybe that's just me - sans perky breasts)

Seems after the fall of Camelot, Rock n' Roll exploded onto the scene and birthed a tenacious child in every one of us. (And when I see Mick Jagger still strutting his stuff, I have to admit that I don't entirely mind.) Since the sweater sets of 1958 aspiring to adulthood has become a lot like aspiring to be the designated driver. Actually WANTING to be the poor sap missing the fun.

And yet, the world needs someone awake behind the wheel.

Which brings me to these real kids. These teenagers, that as a mother I now watch dog over. Same ones who won't stop pestering me to be a grown up to their insouciant childhoods. I am permitted to enjoy rock n' roll. If I must. (And as long as I don't dance in front of their friends.) But I must also maintain the high road and the long view. And practice very grown up things like self-denial, accountability, leadership and integrity.

How young do I feel? Like a playful adult embracing grace, dignity and wisdom. I'll happily lose the sweater set but I still love the pearls.

Dilys Tosteson Garcia

What a great image, Denise! The pearls without the sweater set. It seems that today collective aspirations are away from adulthood and back towards childhood. What a tectonic shift that is. And it would take someone like Joan Didion to articulate it!

gina armfield

where are your pictures? ;)

Dilys Tosteson Garcia

Technical difficulties and still trying!

Cynthia Prestia

I turned 50 this year. 50 always seemed so old. I don’t feel very old. They say that 50 is the new 40. I do not have a fear of getting older. In fact I have decided to age with grace and dignity, whatever that means!! I do what I can do to maintain my insides and my outsides without sliding too far off into neuroticism. I think the fear of getting older consumes some people; as evidenced in tabloid photographs of excessive plastic surgery gone bad.

I am amazed when a Led Zeppelin song comes on the radio and my teenagers sing along! I tell them the song came out when I was in 10th grade!! Timeless, just like me! They want me to take them to see Journey!! Finally, something we can do as a family that doesn’t involve a mosh pit. Although, back in the day I was in there with the best of them. Seeing the Dead Kennedy’s at the Mabuhay Gardens on Broadway in San Francisco moshing my little brains out. Yikes!

I love the age the am. I love the knowledge, both book and street, that I have picked up along my journey. I love all of the hard knocks that have helped to develop the person I am today. I wouldn’t trade a single dent, although I am eyeballing a new color . . .

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