Today’s blog isn’t really about Disney or faith or any of the things that I wrote in the “About this Blog” page. Today’s blog is about me getting old. Yes, I said ‘old’ not ‘older’. And yes, I know there’s a difference. This is me talking about myself and *Spoiler Alert* it is probably not that interesting and, honestly, more than a little depressing.
The first bit of news I heard this morning was the death of one of my favorite authors, Sir Terry Prachett. I did not know him personally. I never even met him at a book signing, but it hit me hard. It’s possible that this is because his death so closely follows that of Leonard Nimoy. Celebrity deaths are doing that now in a way that they didn’t before. There was a time when I sat through the Academy Awards memorial montage and didn’t recognize anyone. Now I recognize pretty much everyone who was in front of the camera and several who weren’t. It occurred to me that this is one of the signs of getting old. The actors who I watched as a child are dying. The authors I read as a young adult are dying. The entertainment world is changing and I feel like I am being left behind.
I am confronted on a daily basis with things that reinforce that I am not young. Some of them are innocuous. I follow the Disney blog OMD, which is run by a fine collection of millennials. They post such articles as “These photos will make you remember your childhood” containing pictures of things that date back to my college/seminary days or to my days as a young parent. My childhood was long before VHS tapes and the first days of the Disney Channel that these young bloggers remember so fondly. The things I remember are so much older: “The Apple Dumpling Gang”, “The Wonderful World of Disney” on Sunday nights and my “Mickey Mouse Club” records (with Annette, thank you very much). Some of the reminders are less innocuous. In the space of the next two years I will have a child graduate and a parent retire. As early as this spring my ‘baby’ cousin will graduate from college. This is a cousin I celebrated with an alcoholic beverage when she was born and no one asked to see id. Now we can both go out for a celebratory drink with no legal problems. That is definitely a sign of aging.
Now I am not one of those people who believe that the world was so much better when I was younger. Some things were better, some things were worse, and honestly some things have stayed almost exactly the same. The reality is I just don’t have the same attachment to newer offerings. This is not about quality of content, this is about connection. There will never again be a TV show I have beg to stay awake past bedtime to watch. I will never need a book to help me stay awake at 3:00 when the baby won’t sleep. I will never need music to help me cope in the hospital while my mom is dying. Those moments in my life are over and so, unfortunately, are the lives of some of the people who provided them for me. And the reality is no matter how good a new author, actor, or musician may be, they will never be part of those moments with me.
I mourn the loss of the lives of those who shaped my childhood and young adulthood with their talents, but I think I also mourn the loss of those times. There is something special about watching the old black & white TV in the dark past your bedtime with the sound off so no one will catch you. There is something special about reading a book out loud to your baby who has no idea what you’re saying just hoping she will go to sleep. Those times are over and with each new death I am reminded that I am old and those times are gone.