Dear Future Boyfriend,
I was born near the end of the 20th century, and a good amount of the way I think about the world and the things I like are reflections of my age. But a good number of identifiers to my personality would leave an observed with the conclusion that I am around 65-70 years of age. The duality of my personality is such that I am on the one hand whimsical and a bit of a wide-eyed child, and on the other an old soul, somewhat a relic of an age gone by.
People often talk about the decade that they were ‘supposed to have been born in’, normally an affinity for one era of recent history based off things like music and clothing, creating an idealized time period for them as an individual. I too have thought about my ideal era, and have come to the following conclusion about the timeline my life should have had- I was born somewhere around the late 1920s, grew up during the Great Depression, came of age during the Second World War, married a veteran, and had a son who fought in Vietnam. A silly manifestation of my hyperactive imagination, but based in some fact of personality.
On a superficial level, I am a bit of an old lady. I don’t understand technology, wear a mixture of dresses from the 40s and big floral sweaters, and prefer Big Band and Rat Pack to all other types of music. My brother has often described my fashion and decor sensibility as Grandma Chic, and some of my mannerisms, such as wearing my coat draped over my shoulders indoors and carrying a large practical array of things in my handbag, are things I share with elderly women.
But these are only some of the most basic aspects of my status as an AOL (Awesome Old Lady).
I share values with an older generation that seem a bit outdated to those who grew up after the 1980s or so. I have internalized the frugalities first developed during the depression era, and demonstrate regularly the conservationist practices of WWII. I don’t throw anything out that can still be useful. My mother shakes her head at me at every Christmas and birthday as I, without fail, fold up every piece of wrapping paper to go in a drawer and be used again the next year. I hate wasting food, and have been known to wrap the bread up at restaurants so it doesn’t get thrown away. My dad and I planted a Victory Garden in our backyard. I’ve been working on my sewing skills so I can patch up and refit my clothes, and I love to shop in second-hand stores. In my house when I grow up, I want the phrase “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” blazed somewhere where they can be seen by everyone.
This sense of making things last does not make me sad either. I don’t deny all joyous or beautiful things just to save money or resources. In fact, I feel like I have a greater appreciation for special things. A homemade cake shared with friends is a perfect birthday celebration to me. Flowers made out of a torn paper bag are just as lovely as silk ones from the store. And sometimes old things are more beautiful than their brand new counterparts; they carry charm and the stories of their past. During the War people saved because they had to by law in some sense, but also because they felt it was their patriotic duty. Today we still have a duty to perform- to ourselves, our families, and the wider world around us.
I am perfectly content to be an AOL, to wear a sparkly chain on my glasses as I sing along to Frank Sinatra and can some homegrown vegetables. Now if only I got the discounts…