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November 28, 2022

Oort Cloud Oddities: 50 is better

By Alexandra Queen

I was researching my big winter work project, which involves a lot of active, travel related ideas. I had sifted through tons of "kid stunt" resorts ("It's the most extreme downhill skiing/snowboarding/mountain biking experience ever! Sick runs covered with ice and two inches of snowpack over three miles of vertical downhill rock and broken glass! If you have any teeth left in your head, bones left unbroken or internal organs left unruptured at the bottom of the run, you get your money back, guaranteed!"), most of which include a two week hospital stay as part of the package, and had finally found what I was looking for.

Guided expeditions away from touristy spots but not so far off the beaten path that you're a target for hostage situations (always a vacation downer). The destinations needed to be rich with cultural interest and stunning in geographical drama, but not have swarms of Kia-sized insects trying to siphon all your bodily fluids. The activity level needed to be moderate to strenuous, but not result in permanent disability. In short, a paradise with fulfilling activities for the mind, body and soul, preferably without roaming gangs of college kids randomly hooting noisily and relieving the contents of their stomach after overdoing it on the "gosh, I'm old enough to buy this legally" booze.

So I was glancing through the website of a place that does two week walking tours of places like the Scottish Highlands and the Alps, oohing over the pictures of brooding mountains and quaint pubs, when suddenly it struck me: not one person pictured was, well, young.

I'm not saying everyone in the pictures was old, not really. But not a single soul was still in the string-bikini-and-speedo stage of life. And most of them were of an age to remember when Michael Jackson was considered newfangled. Sure enough, a little closer inspection revealed that this travel company dealt exclusively with people aged 50 and older.

This has been weighing heavily on my mind lately, because I am in the last few months of my 20s. At the same time my own parents are tentatively entering their fifties. They're discovering all sorts of great things they're now old enough to do, and I'm stuck with all sorts of things I'm really going to be too old to get away with anymore. I'm looking at half my wardrobe and all my hair dye with the realization that it's all going to look real stupid, real fast. (Well, let's be honest, most of it looked stupid to begin with, but now I look old enough to know better.)

Travel. Restaurant discounts. Del Webb housing. AARP's magazine. Flu shots. I'm starting to think that ALL the cool stuff is reserved for people who are closer to 100 than they are to one.

At the risk of offending most of my friends, I'm going to suggest that ages 30-49 are pointless. You're no longer young enough to be a cute and clueless. You're not old enough to do the really cool Old Fart Things. It's 20 years of biding time til the fun starts.

Of course, they say that 30 is the new 20. With my luck, that means in the twenty years it will take me to get old enough to enjoy the Golden Age Benefits, 80 will be the new 50. And by the time I finally make THAT minimum age requirement, I'll probably won't have the cash for all those cool trips and activities. I'll most likely be saving up for a two-for-one sale on prosthetic knee joints, or the cybernetic gill implants we'll need to breathe the Valley air by 2056.

I suppose rather than bemoaning the fact that I'm about to turn thirty and mourning all the things I will shortly be too old to get away with anymore, I should be thinking about all the things that make me feel young. In addition to all the stuff above, I'm still too much of a baby to be an adoptive single mother in the state of Florida, join certain "veteran" tag rugby leagues, or run for President.

Eh. Rather than getting hung up on having to wait for those cool travel packages, I'll think I'll live with the envy. It has its benefits. But I'm guessing the super-low-rise jeans and the pink hair probably have to go.

At what age does a tongue piercing start to look creepy?

Comments and evidence why 30/40/50/60/etc is better to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.

This article first appeared in the Sunday, January 8, 2006 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.

Article © Alexandra Queen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2006-01-30
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