I’ve recently had some unsettling truths come my way and they were delivered in a one-two-punch.
The first salvo was fired while I was in my self designated “safe space” – Target. There I was at the pharmacy counter confirming my date of birth when a person who was eavesdropping decided to tell me that I was “elderly adjacent.” The exact quote was, “Welcome to being elderly adjacent.”
I didn’t know how to respond so I did a brief “ha, ha” and as I was fake laughing, I quickly did the math and came face-to-face with the fact that this person might not be wrong.
I started to feel a little lightheaded with this breaking news, so I gripped my cart tightly and headed to the cookie aisle. I quickly ripped open a package of Pepperidge Farm holiday edition Peppermint Milano slices and breathed in the soothing scent of candy cane in an effort to calm myself.
I then, still taking hearty sniffs of the Milanos, made my way over to the frozen foods and stuck my head inside the ice cream freezer for a, sort of, makeshift shock therapy treatment.
Finally, after I lost feeling in my face, I left the freezer so I could use my phone to google “when are you considered elderly?” The answer was 65. Sixty-freaking-five.
I always thought “elderly” happened much, much later. Like, I don’t know, maybe 80. What’s up with this 65 nonsense? I then quickly googled, “what’s considered middle-age?” I was immensely relieved when I found out that I still qualified. (Honestly, I barely made the cut.)
Embracing that information I gave myself a pep talk so I could finish my Target shopping without any more trips to the ice cream freezer.
The next stop on my list was Lowe’s. I needed some light bulbs and silver polish. For a second the fact that I polished my silver made me feel old. Is that a sign of being elderly adjacent – an abhorrence of tarnish?
I shrugged off that thought and jogged into the store to prove to myself that I still have oodles of youthful exuberance. Unfortunately, that whole vibe didn’t last long.
As I was contemplating the myriad of light bulb choices from daylight to soft white to something called “relax and refresh” a Lowe’s employee stocking the aisle asked if I needed help.
I made a joke about all the lightbulb options” and this spurred him off his ladder to tell me about the advancements in LED technology. It was fascinating, I assure you, until he told me that the light bulbs I had put in my cart would “probably outlive me.”
I went into a brief moment of shock. I thought to myself, is this really happening. Have I reached the point in my existence when strangers feel comfortable measuring my life expectancy in light bulbs? Is this man actually telling me the six-pack of daylight 60-watt bulbs I’m buying will still be shining brightly after I’m gone? Good god, how old does this dude think I am? And furthermore, when did light bulbs start lasting, I don’t know, at least 25 years?
I was elderly adjacent enraged. I glared at the man, flipped my hair and said, “I liked to see the light bulb that can outlive me” and then regally (or at least it felt that way) sauntered away as best one can pushing a cart with a wonky wheel.
But it was at that exact moment when I made up my mind that the only thing I’m going to be adjacent to is being even more fabulous.
(Here’s a video I took in the parking lot of Lowe’s after I was told I was “elderly adjacent” but before someone shared that LED lightbulbs would “outlive me.”)