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Age to Age

Sarah Dean

As I write schools across the UK exams are in full swing. This year is the first time that I have friends with children who are old enough to be sitting their GCSEs. Twenty years on from sitting our own exams not much has changed. My friends look haunted, hollow-eyed from lack of sleep and worrying that their offspring should have revised the Poor Law not the Corn Laws; and none of my mates are allowed out during the week until the exams are over. This time the social perda is self-imposed so they can ensure their teenagers are revising rather than sexting or doing Pokemon or whatever it is kids do these days. Roll on August, we can get back to sitting in the park, drinking cider and snogging boys (well husbands/life partners) say I! These friends are a bit older than me and had their kids in their early 20s, but its a stark reminder that I am actually quite old. Nothing brings home the feeling of agedness like the tiny baby you knitted a hat for ringing you up for advice on their textiles coursework. I work in East London for an arts organisation, where a large percentage of my co-workers are in their early 20s. My creeping agedness has only really out-ed itself to me recently. I find the current 80s fashion revival wholly baffling. It breaks my mind how my cute young colleagues are opting to wear 'vintage' 80s outfits that in my teenage years my friends and I would have regarded as dowdy 'Mum clothes.' When our art student intern came into the office wearing a pussy bow blouse, high-waisted pastel slacks and Deirdre Barlow glasses, my co-workers cooed over her 'cool' ensemble. My Mum had a handbag like that when I was five. You are only as old as you feel they say, which is a bit of a downer because some days my achy knees make feel like I am due for retirement. Or when I have to say 'Pardon?' for the third time because I can't hear properly in a busy pub. Turns out my Mum was right, listening to Grunge too loud on my Walkman did do permanent damage. Fortunately the Bible is super encouraging about getting older. It is full of people serving God and following his will well in their twilight years. Look at my namesake Sarah and her old man Abraham. Talk about an active old age! Those two were the ultimate older parents. Grey hair is described as a something to be admired: 'a crown of glory. It is gained in a righteous life.' (Proverbs 16:31.) Mine is more of a tiara of glory but it grows every day. The Bible stresses that with age comes wisdom, for 'Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.' (Job 12:22) Thing is I'm not sure I have gained much wisdom since we were sitting our GCSEs. The writer Nora Ephron wrote brilliantly about wisdom and It breaks my mind how my young colleagues are opting for 'vintage' 80s outfits that I once regarded as dowdy 'Mum clothes'. getting older saying: 'It seems to me that I was clueless until I was about 50.' This is good news for me, as this means I've got at least another ten years to get a clue. In the meantime the only wisdom I have for younger people is: Don't buy clothes that smell of sweat in the vintage shop, if it's lingered this long, it will linger on. And turn your ipod down. I said turn it down. TURN IT DOWN! Don't roll your eyes, young lady. Seriously you'll thank me later.