notquiteold

Nancy Roman

How Old Is Mr. T?

Remember when you were a little kid and you’d meet some other kid in the playground or at school or in a store?

One of the first questions you always asked was, “How old are you?”

You were a little obsessed with age. You certainly didn’t want to play with a kid too much younger than you, because that would mean you were a little bit of a baby. And you didn’t want to play with someone older, both because they would not want to (see above) or if they insanely did want to, they would probably beat you at everything. Because an extra year in those days meant tons of extra experience.

As you got older, that age-obsession went away.

Okay, so it didn’t exactly.

It just got re-routed into a more subtle measurement:  Success.

Is this guy making more money than you?
Is this woman already married and having children?
Does she still have the same hairdo as in high school? – and the male corollary: Does he have more hair than you?

And secretly – to yourself only – you added the qualifier:

And are they younger?

Maybe you didn’t go down that he-is-more-successful-even-though-he-is-younger-so-therefore-I-am-a-failure road very often.

But holy cow, I sure did.

I compared myself to others constantly. With the age qualifier added.

In my younger days, the age qualifier often helped. I didn’t mind (too much) if a person was more successful, had a better job, or made more money – as long as they were older than me. Because, well, they just had more time at it. Just like knowing that my older sister was bound to beat me at crazy eights.

It bugged me more when I saw women marrying and having children who were younger than me. They were supposed to wait their turn, thank you very much. How rude.

Then I got into the stage, in my thirties, where I also worried about age as it related to looks. Was she older than me and looked better?  Was I older but looked younger? – which is what I always somehow decided.

I can remember the day –  May of 1983. The local paper listed all the famous people having birthdays. And there he was:

Mr. T.

The A-Team was a big hit on television, and Mr. T was the larger-than-life (literally) star.
and that day he was listed on the birthday page. (no internet back then). He was 31 years old.

I was 32.

I left my office and threw that newspaper on my best friend’s desk.

“Mr.T is younger than I am!!!” I hollered.

She became hysterical.

But not in the way that I was hysterical, of course.

But I couldn’t see the hilarity of my situation.

I was furious.

I did not want to be older than Mr. T.

It was all downhill from there.

I could no longer hide my age obsession.

I need to know how old everyone is.

As it relates to me.

Even now.

When I watch old movies, I look for the character actor. Was that humorous old sidekick actually my age?  Did you know, for example, that Hattie McDaniel was only 44 when she played Mammy in Gone With The Wind?

How much younger than me was the heroine?  Was I old enough to be her mother? Meg Ryan, for example, is ten years younger than me. Not so much. But when I saw You’ve Got Mail, and envied her hairdo and her simple but cute clothes, I wondered whether I was too old to pull that off.

Now I watch TV with Wikipedia open on my laptop.

How old is Vanna White? Should she start wearing pastel sweater sets?
How about Mark Harmon? Will he have a heart attack running up those stairs?
Should the NYPD have forced Lenny Briscoe to retire before the Law And Order ever started?
How is it that the guy playing Tom Selleck’s father is 78 years old and Selleck is 73?
How is it that none of the teenagers on Riverdale look like teenagers?
And Tea Leoni on Madam Secretary? I’m fifteen years older. Can I copy her shoes?

And most horrible of all – reruns of The Golden Girls. I’m older now than those actresses were then. Should I buy some flowy tops? Have fluffier hair?

And the point of all this:

What the hell does it matter?

Why do I care?

I’ve been trying to figure this out.

I don’t think I am unique – I am pretty sure there are plenty of other people with an age fixation. But I don’t think it’s universal either, since I see lots of people who truly don’t care what age anyone is. They relate on a different plane.

I think perhaps my obsessive focus on the continuum of age is rooted in the idea that I never really found my place in it.

I’ve always been a little unstuck in time. A little unsure. A little adrift.

I’ve felt too young. Or too old. The little kid that admired my older sisters and envied my baby brother. The baby-face flat-chested teen that the boys had no interest in. I bumped through years (and years) of college – one day childish and the next day older than the professors.

My work years were a mystifying but inexorable transition from the smart-alecky girl younger than her subordinates to the oldest person in every meeting, answering to younger and younger smart-alecks.

And now I am retired, and I still don’t know where I belong.

What do retired people look like?  Should I go gray and buy sensible shoes?

Sometimes (often, to be honest) I feel more attractive now than thirty years ago. But am I delusional? Do I look like an old fool in my Zumba class?

I know it doesn’t matter. I should just please myself in what I do and how I look. The nice thing about being old is that you can truly disregard what anyone else thinks.

I know age doesn’t make much of a difference in how you feel. My mother at 94 says she feels like the same person inside that she was sixty years ago. The outside has changed, but she’s still her.

And I agree that she’s the same.

The problem with ME being the same – is that I am not sure who that is.

Except that it is someone older than Mr. T.

 

Mr-T

IMG_20181002_202554-1

Mr. T and Me.  Then & Now. I think we both look better now.

 

*****

P.S.  – Amazon is offering the Kindle version of my novel, LUCINDA’S SOLUTION.. for just $1.99 through October 6.  Here’s the link.

 

 

 

 

 

45 Comments

  1. this is so funny, and i get it!

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    • Thanks! It’s nice to know there are others like me!

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  2. Felix

    I’m wondering how exactly you got inside my head. I can relate to this totally. It can be so easy to make comparisons between ourselves and others relating age and success. Age and whether we have offspring- how many? And what about grandchildren? Age and how much money we have in the bank.

    But how about… age and how much of life’s lessons we have learned and been able to turn into words of wisdom. Age and the ability to empathise and be kind and make a positive wonderful difference to others lives. I am now realising what a gift these learnings are and no matter how old some people are, for whatever reason, they have sadly missed out on acquiring this wonderful gift.

    Lovely Theo’s Mum, you have this gift in spades.

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    • Oh,Thank you! I do think that kind people try always to grow in kindness

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  3. Well now, They Say we should never compare ourselves with other, and now I see how exhausting it must be. Thanks for the link: I bought Lucinda’s Solution tho the discount doesn’t apply in New Zealand. It’s tricky, isn’t it?

    Like

    • I always forget that the whole world is not in US. Sorry you didn’t get the deal, but thank you for buying the book. I do hope you like it! (and if you do, authors really appreciate reviews on Amazon).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think Mark Harmon is way more handsome now, than when he was still at my age (I’m 36, by the way). Some people just age gracefully and like wine…. they’ll get better.

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    • I am exactly the same age as Mark Harmon. It was a good year.

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  5. A friend and I had a moment like that when we visited Old Parliament House in Canberra and stopped to look at a picture of the Prime Minister of the day. “He’s younger than us!” only by a few months but yes he is younger. Our current PM is a decade younger. It does make me feel old and a little nervous that the country is now being run by people younger than I am.

    I do look at famous people who are my age with interest, Caroline Kennedy and Princess Caroline of Monaco are my age. I would never compare my life to theirs in a million years though.Deep inside me I feel like I am the same as always even though the outer body tells me that I am not.

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    • I remember the shock of realizing that President Obama was TEN years younger than I.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He was very youthful looking when he became President too.

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  6. Doris Legere Kennedy

    Once again you’ve nailed it and expressed exactly what many struggle with every day. One of my observations a lot is “When did these police officers start looking like babies” In our day as kids I can remember officers, teachers, mothers and dad’s, grandparents etc. always looked so old. Certainly not young and vibrant like we do in our 60’s LOL.

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    • I rather like being the oldest person in Zumba class. I can say, Look, I can keep up with all these whippersnappers!

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  7. Val

    Ah, you and I are the same age (you might be a few months older). I have always, also, felt I’m a sort of ‘floating’ age, never quite been able to define what I am. Don’t know about you, but I was a hippy and have still got a bit of that ‘don’t-fit-in-never-will’ thingy. I’d call it an attitude but it’s not really a choice, it’s just how I am. But yeah – age. Weird. In some respects I’m a bit more vain that I used to be – my userpic for example is from about ten years ago, ‘cos the pics of me now… urgh. I’ve lost more teeth since then, the shape of my face has changed, I now look like some of my friends’ mothers whose appearance used to appall me when I was younger!

    I’m not bothered about younger people being more successful than me as I’ve never felt envious of people’s success (not that I can recall, anyway), but when I find out their ages I do get a kind of shock reaction. Like the doctor I saw a few years ago, and I thought “what? I should take what you say as gospel when you’re thirty years younger than me? What the heck do you know? Get some experience first and *then* tell me to have a tube down my…”
    😉

    Well, I was always told by my elders that you know you’re getting old when doctors and policemen are younger than yourself.

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    • I was often envious of younger people who were more successful, but I have grown to accept that more now that I am older. I realize that there will ALWAYS be someone more successful, more beautiful, richer….. and younger.
      I have to confess though, that a young person who writes a great book is wonderful, but a younger mediocre writer with a great publishing deal makes me crazy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Val

        I understand and agree with the latter, completely!

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  8. I’m always floored when I hear that some musician or actor who isn’t much older than me has died. “How can that be? S/he was so young!” I always think – before realizing that they’d aged in the same way I have (one year after another). I think we all, at one time or another, “forget” that we’re getting older because mostly we feel young inside. I read a quote somewhere that went (something like this): “If you didn’t know your age, how old would you say you are?” I always think, “42” (and I’m nearing 65, although I’ve always been old I look “10 years younger”. LOL!) I try not to think about my age much these days; I plan to stay young and fit and healthy for as long as I can (my mother and grandmother both lived to be 94, so I figure I’ve got good genes on my side). The most important thing is to enjoy life to its fullest every single day!

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    • My mom is 94, so I know I have great genes… but yes, it does amaze me that my movie star crushes have gotten so OLD!

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  9. Mr T has not aged well Nancy. You on the other hand are equally gorgeous.
    I discovered I was only a year younger than Bruce Willis and I’m six months older than our PM. At least I have hair and don’t have to wear toilet chains to keep my feet on the ground.

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    • I guess I like the way Mr. T looks now because he looks happy. Happiness is the best beauty filter ever.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Paula

    Isn’t that the truth? I am ALWAYS shocked that celebrities of my youth are now … well, old. Thank goodness that didn’t happen to me 😉

    Like

    • I am shocked sometimes at celebrities who don’t age well… they have all the resources. But I love when a celebrity my age still looks good. I think, Oh Yeah, WE still got it!

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  11. Lol!Really funny.Though I can’t remember asking for other kids age when I was young.But now I guess I really mind about age.
    check commonafricangirl.com for more life experiences.

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    • I worried about success all my life, but now I worry about what kind of old person I will be

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  12. Like you, age has always been a conundrum for me. When I was younger I skipped a few grades so I ended up always being surrounded by older people. When it came time for me to start college I was only 15. The other students would party and enjoy pub nights. I would go home and read. Fast forward 22 years and I went back to college as a “mature student”. I was part of a study group which I usually hosted because I had my own place. When everyone came in I would announce, “grab yourself a beer on the way in and lets get started”. One evening one of my study mates was talking to his Mom. I overheard her say, “Don’t worry, she’s old enough to be my mother.” I hollered, “I am not!!!!” Then I asked them all how old they were. I did the math.I rather abruptly asked them to leave. I WAS old enough to be their mother. Not only that, they weren’t old enough to have that beer I gave them.

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    • I think it must have been very difficult to be so much younger than everyone else. But I also think that it made you what you are today – which is good and wise.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Well, we are the same age, but at least you still look cute. Me, not so much. Now, Mick Jagger and I share a birthday,but he is SO much older than we are. But he was maybe 20 when I first heard him. Maybe being a guy makes it a little less disconcerting about how many years have passed, although sometimes I’ll tell little kids that I remember when the wheel was invented. It was shortly after fire. It is fun to tell them things like that with a straight face. I guess I knew things had changed when I looked down and my six pack had turned into a keg. Sigh.

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    • Of the stars who are contemporaries with us, the one I think that has aged the best is Ringo Starr. He looks quite handsome – much better looking than when he was a kid.

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  14. Thankfully Mr T has a good 10-11 years on me, I have never thought much about age

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    • Ah, you are one of the lucky ones!

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  15. There was a time when I was usually the youngest one in the group…now I am usually older.
    You may be older than Mr. T and so am I. In fact, I am older than you.

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  16. Us late 20 somethings go through the same age obsession thing too lol. Great read!

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  17. Ray G

    I think Mr. T looks better today because he isn’t angry in the photo you chose. The “thing” about age differences for me is that so many are passing away despite being younger than me. And at least some of them don’t seem to be doing anything to cause it. Which could conceivably mean that I am luckier, so far. I’d rather be smart than lucky.

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  18. Pam

    It looks like Mr. T has mellowed out a bit as he’s aged, thank goodness. I agree that you still look attractive, Nancy. The hairstyle is flattering and your blue eyes shine!
    I pretty much relate with everything you said about age, but as I get older, it matters less. I agree that Ringo surprisingly looks much healthier now than he did when he was younger, which leads me to Paul McCartney (76), who is such an inspiration to me. Only a few years ago I saw him entertain at a fantastic concert for 3 hours straight without any kind of a break and he was over 70! His stamina is amazing! (He needs to get together with Ringo by the way). Anyhoo, the celebrities who are my age are Dana Delaney, Gina Davis, and Sela Ward, – and Christie Brinkley is 2 years older than me but looks 20 years younger than me! I try to be happy for her. I really do. 😉

    The oldest person in my zumba class is 87! Wow! I’m the third oldest and I’ve wondered what I look like in tight leggings doing some of those moves. Ha, doesn’t matter! Health is the priority now and I’m getting my workout and having a good time.

    It’s strange that I feel I’m the same person inside as I always was, but at my age I feel a little naive. Like maybe I should be more cynical or something after all of life’s experiences? Shouldn’t I be imparting wisdom to the younger generation? That feels strange to me. It’s funny being an old person. I was never supposed to get this way.

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  19. Some of us in our 20’s endure the same thing! Aha, long as you feel good inside and out I think is all that matters although I definitely always wondered why Mr. T looked so much older when he was younger? Anyway great read!

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  20. Age comes with responsibilities. Wish i was young and carefree again.

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  21. Quit yo jibba jabba😂he’s grown alot😮Childhood disappears

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  22. I’m almost 16 and I get compared to 19-20 year olds because I look the same age as them. I mean like don’t make me older than I am. I feel you kinda. I grew up without my mom because she passed away when I was 4 months old due to a car accident but I feel you.

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  23. he is 45?

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  24. He use to live in my city

    Liked by 1 person

  25. My bad dude I was just stating my opinions

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I was always the youngest in every group. My parents put me in Kindergarten a year early, so my mom could go back to work. Then, somewhere, some day, I wasn’t the youngest. It was weird, unnatural. Now i’m Usually the eldest in a group. How the hell did that happen?

    Still,it beats the alternative. 💀

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  27. “Should I go gray and buy sensible shoes?” Never! (Actually I wear sensible shoes now because they’re kind to my feet – life’s too short to spend half of a night out in agony from pretty shoes that probably no-one else is looking at because they’re so consumed by their own pretty/painful shoes.)

    My husband always wants to know how old celebrities are – I say he’s silly and I don’t care. But I still kind of care when they’re younger than me!

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  28. Thank you for this. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one on the age patrol. The worst is when a co-worker laments over their birthday – stating that they can’t believe they are such-and-such age. ‘How did I get so old?’ they whine, and I secretly cringe, as I’m a decade older than them. *sighs* It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t be a fixation, and yet I can’t help it either. Your discovery over Mr. T’s age delighted me. Oh, it was humorous, but, more so, it gave me a moment of reassurance. It’s nice to know that others feel the struggle, and I’m not an oddball alone.

    Like

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