When I was finishing up college, I had a chance to work as an unpaid intern at a big name radio station in NYC. Those two summers provided some of the most amazing experiences. I got to meet important people; I saw how content was created, scheduled and programmed; I got my hands on oodles of swag. Pretty neat.
In the programming office/music library, I worked with two wonderful women -- Amy Winslow and Lorraine Carruso (apologies for misspellings). They taught me what to look out for, what conclusions to draw and how to make good (political) decisions. It was (and I can't stress this enough) a really good experience.
Those 2 summers, between my Junior and Senior years of college, and between Senior year and grad school, were in 1990 and 1991. I was about 21 years old. How old were these 2 women? I don't know -- at the time, age seemed so irrelevant, but looking back on it, they must have been in their upper 20's, maybe low 30's. Both unmarried, both living the rock and roll lifestyle: parties, concerts, nights out drinking and who knows what else. They were the epitome of cool. They knew the right people and dropped the right names, and still got their work (their VERY COOL work) done.
That was 20 summers ago. I'm a middle aged man now and sometimes I think about those people I worked with. They must be nearing (or right beyond) 50. That's not young anymore. That's not cool anymore. The other interns I worked with, there and at other stations, must have families and kids approaching high school age. The bosses, already in middle age when I was but a lad, are beyond 60, possibly significantly so.
It isn't just that I spend my days realizing how much closer to the end I am than to the beginning, but it is the realization that all the people I looked up to when I was really making connections to the world, are now, I guess, "done." The camp directors when I was a counselor, the professors when I was a student, the barbers from my childhood when I still had hair. All these pieces of my memory have not only grown up or old, but have started to go away. That's sad and scary. They are no longer how I remember them, if they "are" at all. I figure I must have changed also, and yet I still feel like that young guy. A heavier, more bald, creaky "young guy." Do Amy and Lorraine still see themselves as the cool ones? Or are they grandparents who go to dinner at 4:30 (which is starting to sound like a better and better idea to me...) and can't listen to music because it doesn't make sense and is too loud.
I don't want to be cryogenically frozen when I die. I want to be frozen when I was 22 years old and defrosted when they find a cure for growing up.