I used to love all those “coming of age” movies; Molly Ringwald, Anna Chlumsky, the whole Breakfast Club. But for some reason I haven’t seen many lately. Is it possible they are not being made anymore, or is the more likely explanation that they no longer appeal to me so they aren’t “in my radar”? And anyway who said those movies have to be about some cute/dorky/pre-pubescent angst-ridden pre-teen. They have it all wrong. I have had many of those ‘coming of age’ experiences my whole life. Let me tell you what the real one is…the first time you use your Medicare card at the doctors. Especially if you happen to be standing next to an obvious octogenarian. Especially if you think you don’t look your age.
I turned 65 this year, a blessing in disguise because I finally have insurance and can now see a doctor without selling a grandchild first. Kidneys aren’t an option at this age. However, you haven’t ‘come of age‘ until you pull out a card that by it’s very ownership states that you are without question never going to be asked for proof of age again in your life. You will never have to show ID to get into an adults only club, or to buy cigarettes. Never will I talk one of my older (!) friends into getting me a bottle of vodka because I’m not old enough…sigh. In all reality I haven’t had to do this for decades, but this makes it so…final. So as I sat looking at ancient magazines and waiting for the doctor I looked around at the other patients. I tried to imagine them as young Molly Ringwalds, and Harrison Fords and just couldn’t. I was seeing The Graduate but from Mrs. Robinsons point of view!
The one thing that all those movies had in common was the hero or heroine suddenly realizes how drastically and irrevocably their life has changed. No going back now Chris Chambers. Now the reality hits you; no matter how much you diet, exercise, floss or botox you will never again be that ingenue`. This is the moment where life hits you square between the eyes like this and says “Yes, by god, you are old!” Never mind that most of my friends are younger than me; they are catching up quickly. And it doesn’t matter that I ride a honkin’ big Harley; I only ride in nice weather…so yes the age is showing, sadly. So to all of you who have not yet reached that
decrepit magical age that is Medicare, you have one more coming of age to look forward to…
And as I sit here wondering how my life had got so far, so fast and where did all the time go; I realize I always played it safe, played by the rules and respected my elders. The words of Ben Braddock (The Graduate) came to mind, “It’s like I was playing some kind of game, but the rules don’t make any sense to me. They’re being made up by all the wrong people. I mean no one makes them up. They seem to make themselves up.” And there and then I decided that in this the third act of my life, I was going to raise a little more hell, be a little bit irreverent and generally go out kicking if at all possible. Maybe I will get another tattoo…I just hope my family takes it with grace and understanding, knowing me well enough to see that I am only rebelling and not going senile. No my dear grandchild you don’t need to have me committed. I have no wish to re-enact “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”.