Sunday, February 12, 2006


My mother brought me flowers for my birthday. Four days after the event, they are just now releasing a jumble of scents--rose, carnation, lily and tropical. The scent of fecundity, perfume for a young girl.

I am hardly in the girl category these days--this was my last birthday as a 50-something. One of the regrets of advancing age is that when we were young we never guessed that old people still felt like giddy youth. Those pastel polyester pantsuits they wore were chosen for comfort and economy, not to announce that they had left girlhood behind.

Now that I know this, of course, I can't go back and change the arrogant assumptions of my youth. And neither can I grab the shoulders of the currently young and impress upon tham that they will feel the same way someday. They do not plan ever to grow old and wear the 2045 equivalent of pink polyester pantsuits.

(My generation, of course, has evolved from polyester to hempen artist smocks, elastic-waist indigo jeans and economical earth-toned cotton turtlenecks from Penney's.)

My son was complaining about how old geezers drive down the freeway oblivious to the fact that their turn signals are on. I pointed out that many can no longer hear the signal and that he himself might be in that state someday. He replied that he wasn't planning to stick around for the event.

When your future is full of years, you can afford to make reckless statements like this. The closer you come to your alloted lifespan, however, the more willing you are to compromise with changed prospects.

Meanwhile, another surprise occurs. The age difference between you and your parents--once a generational chasm--narrows to a mere fraction of your total existence. Your lingering girlhood and your mother's begin to merge. At some point you are just a couple of kids with shared memories of a more carefree time.


At 2/14/06, 7:06 AM, Blogger the era said...

Very enlightening Weedgarden. Now 31, I can remember making similar reckless comments in my youth. I probabaly still do from time to time. There is a point where you realize that YOU aren't actually the center of the world, but just a human being participating within it with fellow human beings.

My Mother is about the same age as you. She is 64. My father died last year. It's changed her a great deal. She is going to a gym now, eating really healthy, and is planning on a visit here to Japan in May. I hope I'll be able to keep up with her.

Thanks for the writing....

At 3/25/06, 8:43 AM, Blogger patches said...

I found your blog because of the similarities in our blogs. I don't agree with you very often, but always find your opinion interesting. This particular post, however required a comment. I just had my 65th birthday and found I agree with your words meant completely. I check in with you from time to time because I enjoy your writing and am interested in hearing your views. Keep up the good work.

At 3/25/06, 8:54 AM, Blogger Weedgardener said...

Thanks for the comment. I'm always interested in what people who disagree with me think, so feel free to comment on something you disagree with.

Amazing to think there is another Weedgarden out there!


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