Aging Gracefully. Or Something.

My parents come from a land where age ain’t nothing but a numba. Not even a numba, actually. People don’t give a rat’s ass about how old they are back in the homeland. I remember having conversations with aunts and uncles and cousins where I would ask them how old they were and they would shrug and say things like “uh, I don’t know. Forty, maybe? Forty-five? I know I’m somewhere in my forties.” As a child, a very American child who was used to birthday cake and presents and parties, I would bug out at this sort of answer. “But, when is your birthday?” I would ask. “I don’t really remember. In the spring. I’ll have to go look at my passport and I can tell you an exact date then. Now let’s go eat a mango! They are falling from the sky!”

Ok so they didn’t really say that stuff about the mangoes. I just put that in because eating mangoes that fall from the sky (or, um, mango trees) is one of the great pasttimes of the Motherland. (I almost typed Mothership there, instead of Motherland. But that’s a totally different thing, to be discussed at another time).

The point being, how old one is is totally not at all important there. No one thinks about it. No one cares. No one is obsessed with seeming younger. Or older. They are too busy sitting in all that white sand and swimming in warm blue reefwaters and serious business like that. Isn’t that age-free mentality hard to picture? Isn’t it weird to even try to think like that?

Not for some people. Take, for instance, my dear Nordic Boy. As anyone who knows him well can attest, he is as far from Island native as you can get. Corn-fed midwest boy is what he is, all American, apple pie, blah blah, stars and stripes. But that guy? Cannot remember his age to save his life. I have known him many years now, and at any given moment, you can ask him how old he is, and HE WON’T KNOW. He will just blurt out some number, and then look at me as if to say “Is that right? It sounds ok, but is that right?” NO, it is not right. And not only is it not right, he is always aging himself. He always thinks he is older than what he really is. ALWAYS. And you want to know something? The only reason I really care about him knowing his age is that I am the same age and when he ages himself, he is dragging me right down with him and I DON’T LIKE IT.

I am not proud of this. Don’t hate. Appreciate.

I know I should be thankful that he doesn’t care about this crap. Perhaps it will rub off on me at some point in our lives. It’s only fair, right? I mean, there are lots of ways in which we have taught each other valuable things. I have taught him how to eat/love super spicy food, and how to do a spot-on Indian “screw in the lightbulb, wipe the table” dance maneuver. (And if you are unclear on that particular dance move, you need to get yourself to an Indian party, pronto). The least he can do is teach me how to forget my age.

Today is the birthday. If you ask him how old he is turning, he may say 72. Just nod and smile and tell him he must soak in a Palmolive/Oil of Olay stew to maintain his youthful veneer. And I will do my best not to freak out.

I’m out,
Librarian Girl


  1. Happy Birthday Nordic Boy…however old you are.I always know what age I am but about 6 months before a birthday I start telling people I’m the age I’m going to be turning. I have no idea why. Perhaps it makes getting older seem easier when I’ve already been saying I’m that old. But this year I’ll be 40 so I probably won’t be doing that. Gah. 40.

  2. I always forget how old I am. I actually have to do the math sometimes. And I’m not very good at math, so that doesn’t help me much.Look at it this way: You’re so much smarter and wiser than you were in your younger years! And you’ve earned that wisdom! And that wisdom can be represented in a number! That makes it a GOOD NUMBER.I was at a dinner with a bunch of people the other night and somebody started the age questions, and I was quick to answer that I’m 31. And of all the seven other people at the table, only one other person didn’t a) coyly lie about their age or b) cringe when they told the truth. That is weird to me.Oh, wait. What I meant to say was “happy birthday, Nordic Boy!” Sometimes I get carried away.

  3. Happy birthday Nordic Boy!When I was little, I was that girl who got all buggy eyed when someone couldn’t remember their age. Now I have to remind myself of my own age. Although, I don’t think my forgetfulness is due to sunny beaches and falling mangos. Although that would be nice. Maybe I should buy a mango tree to sit under.

  4. Whenever people ask how old I am, I like to answer like a Jane Austen character by telling them what age I am not, like “I am not twenty and five years.” That way you’re not only Austenian, but totally post-modern as well.Happy birthday, Nordic Boy.

  5. happy birthday, nordic boy! if you can do the lightbulb dance, you’ve earned the green light to round down on the age estimate.but i know how it is; i’m younger than most of my friends so i think i’m older than i really am. by the time my milestones hit, all the helium has already leaked out.i remember being appalled that my older cousin didn’t know if she was 16 or only 15 when i went out there to visit. the horror of not recognizing Sweet Sixteen-ness!

  6. Happy Bday Nordic Boy!Love his attitude. I think you and I are close to the same age so you probably don’t wanna know i often forget my age. I know I’m in my 30s, but hell, I have bigger things to worry about, like the size of my butt 🙂

  7. January babies are the bestest. I can say that confidently as my birthday is next week :o)Happy Birthday to Nordic Boy! Hope you ate lots of cake to celebrate.

  8. My mom(unintentionally)told people for an entire year she was a year older than she actually was. When someone pointed out her error, she was pleasantly surprised that gained a year back!

  9. Happy Birthday Nordic Boy! I’ve usually been pretty honest about my birthdays but when I started my job this summer, I was very close to being 25 so I would round up. And then when it was my actual birthday, everyone was really confused and thought I was turning 26. Definitely more trouble than it’s worth.

  10. I forget my age all the time. I have to stop and count from my birth year. Then everyone insists that I don’t look nearly my age. Seriously, does anyone EVER say, “Oh, HELL yes, you look every minute of 48.”?

  11. I’m not sure what kind of happy pills these people are popping…I always remember my age and despise it now that I’m OVER 30. see, the OVER just can’t help but be written in all caps. Blech. So, you’re not alone in your quest to try to age gracefully…but failing miserably 🙂

  12. Happy Birthday Nordic Boy!I never know my age. I’ve often been asked and given something different. I know I’m 6 months older than one of my very dear friends so I will sometimes ask her how old she is and tell people to add 6 months. Age is just a number. I don’t feel any different today than I did in my early 20s. It does go by so quickly. Granny was just 100, 2 years and 9 months ago!

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