Sylvia and I attended a friend’s birthday party last night at a local restaurant. We were among the oldest people there, but we blended in just fine. I met a college guy who just recently graduated McCallum High. Our friend is in his mid 30s and the crowd of guests ranged from young 20s to late 40s/early 50s. The music being played was 1970s “Go Go” music, of which our friend is a fan. It was a typical Austin get-together of a diverse group of friends and acquaintances having fun.
My 48th birthday was last week. I’m either in denial about aging, or Austin is just a place where we don’t really feel like we’re growing old. I still feel the same youthful exuberance I did when I first moved here in May 1985 at the age of 22, only I’m a bit wiser and more financially responsible now. The hard-partying days are behind me. And I have 14 and 17 year old kids and, thus, a different set of worries and priorities.
But Sylvia and I were with a more age-homogeneous group of friends the night before. This was a bunch of her old real estate pals from the 1980s. She was an outside sales rep at GranTree Furniture back then and did sales calls at apartments, lease-locator companies and real estate offices in Austin, trying to sell furniture. She became friends with a large group of real estate agents. They would eventually talk her into getting her real estate license, which she did in 1988 (in the middle of the worst real estate market in Austin history), and she became a Realtor instead of an interior design specialist.
Anyway, as I looked around the table at these dozen or so veteran real estate people, I thought that I certainly can’t look as old as they all do. To me Sylvia looks the same as she did when I met her at age 29. We all certainly act about the same. Why is that? Why aren’t we all members of an Elk’s club, or the Moose Lodge, as our parents were at the same age when we were growing up, playing bingo on Saturday nights and showing up for $1 cornbread and beans on Wed nights? Drinking bourbon and water and playing darts and shooting pool? Why weren’t the women at the table wearing “old lady” clothes instead of the good looking outfits they had on? And us guys were all wearing what any 20-something would be wearing in Austin on a night out. Yep, we live in a town where a 20-something could borrow clothes from a 40-something, noone would be the wiser.
Aren’t we supposed to dissolve from the Austin lifestyle “scene” once the grey hair starts coming in. How dare us show up at ACL Fest next week, wearing sneakers and jeans. Who gave us baby boomers permission to invade and take over Facebook and to learn how to Text? Why don’t I own a recliner-rocker and drive a Buick 4-door like good Dads my age should?
Because I live in Austin TX, where growing old is not an option, and staying cool is easy.