I anticipate that some day, in my more advanced years, I’m going to reach a point where I no longer worry about what I eat, what I say, and whether or not I’m trendy. My dream is to be that happy old lady who pedals around on her wide-tired bicycle with a basket on the front with my little dog along for the ride, a big floppy hat on my head, stopping to buy a big fattening chocolate muffin to then sit in the sun and watch the world go by while I chat with my equally eccentric old girlfriends. Hey, you never know. In a perfect world, it could happen.
In the meantime, I find myself, and many other R.W.’s in my life, caught in that odd Gen-X mid-age stage where we are struggling in our own minds to stay relevant and avoid being dowdy and un-cool. We have reached that age where at any given moment, we may open up our mouths and hear our mother’s words fly out. When we shop, we agonize between fashion and comfort. At work, we try to stay up on current trends and understand that huge millennial generation. Our iTunes playlists hold a range of music that spans 40+ years. None of the hairstyles in magazines seem to work for us. And we are constantly trying to stay aware of the next healthy superfoods to fight back menopausal pudge.
I feel fortunate that I have a teenager in the house who helps me avoid the dark abyss of irrelevance and cluelessness, at least to the best of his abilities. He helps me to understand when someone is salty, or sus or when something is GOAT. He rolls his eyes to let me know that bae, bro and squad are already terms no longer used, even if I just figured out last week what they mean. He introduces me to new music from Bruno Mars, Panic and Gorillaz…some of it I even like. Yet the other night it was Styx’s Come Sail Away that was blaring from my car stereo while I sang along, knowing every word. I have social media to help me catch up with at least the most obvious style news, like Coachella fashion (yes, I actually had to look up what Coachella was), the fact that skinny stretch jeans are out (thank God, they never looked good on me anyway, are mom jeans back in yet?), high heels are out (kind of a bummer), and funky sneakers are very in, but don’t you dare be caught wearing basic white Keds. Guess I better not let them out of my closet this summer. As for food trends, I may from time to time feel adventurous to try something new. I will add flaxseed to my food, and kale to my salads. But down deep I will just stick to the basics of diet: Green leafy veggies are good for me. Brownies are not. So I will simply try to balance how much I eat of each.
So there we are, mid-life R.W.’s, teetering every day on the edge of in and out. Today a co-worker shared the best phrase with me. He said we are Throwback Cool. I love that! Not new hip, not old school, not hopelessly lost. We are still cool in a retro kinda way. I plan to use the term frequently. It is totes awesome.
After all, without us, who would extol the virtues of leg warmers, the beauty of a lava lamp, debate Starsky vs. Hutch, or share the skills of driving a semi-automatic VW Bug? That kind of retro coolness can’t be learned. It just has to be experienced.
So the next time one of us puts on a cardigan sweater and a pair of pumps, fails to use a texting term correctly but rocks SnapChat, give us a high-five. Or a fist pump. Or whatever we are supposed to do now. Because we aren’t old. We aren’t young. We are Throwback Cool.