Eternal Youth

You should never stay in the same town where you went to college. While you get older, the university population stays the same age. A new generation supplants the older one, but the university students remain young.

I was on campus recently to see a play and took the time to walk around the place where, some 50 years ago, I was a student, where I studied English literature and learned how to think critically, protested the Vietnam War and demonstrated for women’s and civil rights, and started my journalism career working for the campus newspaper.

While most of the campus hasn’t changed physically, it felt different; for one, students young enough to be my grandchildren went by on skateboards. But it wasn’t the campus—with its stately stone buildings and ancient trees—that had changed but me. In the last part of my life, I am a different person and view the world through different lenses than when I was in my 20s. Was I feeling sad because of my lost youth? Would I like to go back to those years where life was charged with youthful energy and promise, and I had my whole life in front of me?

Continue reading “Eternal Youth”

Traveling With Technology

As we, two older women, approached the United Airlines ticketing counter to check our bags and get our boarding passes, I was initially disoriented. Instead of the long lines I’m accustomed to, I saw only a handful of people, and I didn’t see any ticketing agents behind the counters. Had we come to the right place? Had I misread or failed to see the signs for ticketing as we walked from where we had dropped off our rental car?

I approached the automated kiosk and fumbled to get the piece of paper out of my purse that had the confirmation code to access my reservation. But as I did so, an airline staffer must have seen or sensed our confusion. Or maybe he was trained to spot old people who are technology-hesitant, who take too long to answer all the questions on the screen and thus slow down the whole system. He quickly pushed all the right buttons on the kiosk, efficiently wrapped our tags around the suitcases and took them to the conveyor belt, handed us the printed boarding passes and sent us on our way.

Continue reading “Traveling With Technology”

Here’s My Opinion, Like It or Not

In my father’s old age, he became fixated on the idea that the world would be a better place if everyone drove under 55 mph. He had read someplace that, above that speed, cars weren’t as efficient and wasted gas. Whenever he started railing against fast driving, my siblings and I rolled our eyes: There goes dad again.

He was full of opinions about what was wrong with the world and how to fix it, often embarrassing his children and wife. He made a habit of telling restaurant owners the music was too loud, which made his children cringe. Funnily enough, I now find myself complaining  about the same thing, as friends and I try to talk over the cacophony. 

I guess it’s inevitable that most of us turn into our parents as we get older, very certain about what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it. I realized I’m becoming one of those opinionated old people who writes letters to the editor; goes up to cars sitting in parking lots with their engines running and lectures the driver about befouling the air; reminds people that dogs aren’t allowed on this trail; and lectures total strangers on why they should not pick flowers in a public park.

Perhaps one of the advantages of old age is that we’re not threatening; the two women picking the flowers weren’t likely to slug me or even yell at me; more likely, they went back to their cars and laughed about the crazy old lady sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.

Continue reading “Here’s My Opinion, Like It or Not”

Blog at

Up ↑