This is how old I am

One of the blogging commitments I made to myself this year is to actually complete memes and pass on blogging awards somewhere in the general time frame in which they appear, so it is with great pleasure that I actually bring to you the This is how old I am meme in the same season in which I first read it. I’ve seen this meme on Emily’s blog and Charlotte’s blog and while noone officially tagged me for it (are we even doing that any more?) I thought it looked like fun. So, without further ado, this is how old I am:

When I was a child, I ate food my great-grandmother would have recognized. Then my parents learned about cholesterol and how theirs was high, and the whole family hopped onto the low-fat train, abolishing real cheese and sour cream, replacing them with tofu and lean pockets. Years later we learned about Atkins and low-carb diets, and my parents switched, disdaining bread and potatoes but once again buying bricks of cheddar cheese and slabs of meat. After sorting through all of the confusing health information and participating in some rather scary diets, I once again eat mostly food my great-grandmother would recognize as food, but as locally, organically and sustainable as possible.

Growing up, childhood obesity wasn’t a problem. Now it is.

My parents would rent a VCR for us from the video store on special occasions, allowing my brother and I to pick out one movie apiece. Now we all own DVD players and have movies come in the mail to us regularly.

The first non-show tune TAPE I purchases was Dirty Dancing even though I wasn’t allowed to see the movie and had to discovery its fantasticness at a friend’s slumber party.

In fact, I gleaned most of my pop culture in the basements of friends’ homes. My parents didn’t even have a cable package when MTV came around, and they wouldn’t have allowed me to watch it anyway, so my first music videos were those black and white Bon Jovi videos that I, yes, watched in my friend Amanda’s basement, and god, nobody was sexier than Jon Bon Jovi. I’m not sure to this day anyone really is.

Like Charlotte, I taped the top 40 every Sunday after church.

Leggings and over-sized sweatshirts were really popular outfits for a while right around my early teen years, driving my mother batshit crazy because according to her I had such a cute figure and was just hiding it!

In elementary school, AIDS was this nebulous, unknowable and uncontrollable disease that basically meant sex = death, and the awareness campaigns scared me so badly that even once its causes were understood I couldn’t really embrace my sexuality until I was in a monogomous relationship because no matter how hard I tried I could never erase the picture of dying youth on billboards. Also, my father blamed the AIDS epidemic on Ronald Reagan.

But he blamed everything on Ronald Reagan.

There was a while in college when the play “Rent” really seemed like the voice of my people, even though I didn’t live in New York, didn’t struggle as an artist and had no idea what Carmina Burana was.

I didn’t use email until college, and even when my best friend M. swore to me it would be THE way we would keep in touch for the rest of our lives, part of me didn’t believe her. In a way, she wasn’t all right – who could have anticipated Facebook?

As a teenager I totally identified with Angela Chase in “My So-Called Life.” Also, I was pretty sure the Real World meant living in a loft in New York City, with seven other strangers, picked to live in a house…

I remember the Berlin Wall coming down, but was too young to fully understand the significance.

The original Sweet Valley High series and Beverly Hills, 90210, together convinced me that if I didn’t end up in New York City, California would be an altogether viable alternative.

New Kids on the Block. Enough said. OMG.

I learned about Kurt Cobain’s suicide on Channel One during third period of my junior year of high school. I simply couldn’t believe it.

And this is how old I am right now: I go through separation anxiety when parted from my blackberry; I am old enough to believe I have really great ideas for my work place but young enough that my supervisors still think I need mentoring, even though I am outgrowing the process and would rather succeed or fail of my own accord; I am smart enough to know that living in New York as an artist would be financial suicide and yet the images of that kind of life imprinted in my brain still make it sound so romantic; every once in a great, great while Republicans make sense (I said once in a GREAT while, people!); I think about my retirement investments, but without any real sense of urgency because I am pretty sure retirement as my parents experience it will not be viable in forty years; I have regrets, but just enough to make me (I think) interesting but not maudlin; I still believe in the ultimate good found in humanity, but that belief is tested more often than it ever was before.

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7 Responses to This is how old I am

  1. Amy says:

    You certainly were exposed to Carmina Burana freshman year! Don’t you remember, we played it while the kiddies Trick or Treated down the dorm hallway. I did my part to expose you to some classical music!

  2. Litlove says:

    Lovely take on the meme, Courtney. I did laugh to find out that Ronald Reagan was to blame for the AIDS epidemic. Tee hee!

  3. Emily Barton says:

    I like your added touch of how old you are now. And I wonder how many other girls feel that if it weren’t for escaping parental rule in friends’ basements they never would have learned a thing.

  4. bloglily says:

    You know what this makes me think? (Okay, I’ll tell you….) “Man, I am soooo much older than Courtney.”

  5. Cam says:

    Me, too, Lily. But, I find it refreshing to read how others experienced the same cultural phenomena and understood it in such different ways.

    In a way, Courtney, your father was right — Reagan’s administration was to blame for the spread of the disease, the fear of the unknown (incl scaring the cr@p out of grade school kids), the discrimination, by not addressing it as the public health crises that it was.

    And I totally agree with you on Jon Bon Jovi.

  6. Courtney says:

    Amy – I’m sorry, but I remember REM, Counting Crows, Rusted Root (from across the quad) and Les Miserables much more clearly than I remember Carmina Burana. Just proves the point that I really only pay attention when I am interested.

    Litlove – oh, I don’t think words can encapsulate my father’s hatred of Reagan…

    Emily – Did parents ever come down into the basements? I don’t remember a single time…

    Bloglily and Cam – LOL. I do still feel pretty young most of the time and fear perhaps I’ll feel that way forever…

  7. Emily says:

    ok, so you are a few years younger than i am? maybe born in 1975?

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