Hip over 30? Try 45
When I was a little girl, my parents had a tiny coffee-table book called “How to Be Hip Over 30, and Other Tragedies of Married Life.” It was by acclaimed poet and children’s author Judith Viorst. I can’t remember what Judith wrote about in that little book, even though I read it probably 50,000 times, right along with my worn copies of “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Charlotte’s Web.”What I do remember is that the book addressed the huge rift between those in their teens and 20s, and those who hit the dreaded three-oh. That’s because being “hip” (what a term!) in the late ’60s was a seemingly unattainable achievement for those older than, well, 30. It just wasn’t possible. By the time you reached 30 in those days, you were over the hill, and therefore, a member of the Establishment: uptight, straight-laced and not at all knowledgeable about the finer points of letting your hair down and having a g-r-r-oooovy time. Back then, as I’d sit on the living room couch and read this little book over and over and over again, the concept didn’t make much sense to me. I was neither over 30 nor married.Now that I am both, I am struck by how my perception has changed. For starters, I’m way over 30 – I’ll be 45 this month – yet I still don’t feel like the “Establishment,” at least as it was defined in the ’60s. Back then, it seemed like there was a philosophical moat around a big island of free-thinking flower children. If you weren’t young, you just weren’t cool. Either you were Jim Morrison or you were Florence Henderson. Well, that was the perception anyway, but as I look back, I realize that there was a lot more gray area than history would appear to tell us. There were plenty of people who were forward-thinking and “over the hill,” so to speak. I thought about the “Hard to Be Hip” book this past weekend when I was at the X Games in Aspen, a carnival of hipness (there’s that term again) circa 2005. The games are for the new generation of snowriders – kids who like their racers, be they on skis, boards, motorcycles or snowmobiles – coming at them fast and furious like a living video game. It’s nonstop action, with never a moment for boredom. I was entertained. We watched amazing flips and jumps in the halfpipe. On the courses, bands of skiers and riders rode on one another’s tails, going neck-to-neck on twisty, turny, gnarly terrain. It was impressive.I don’t feel middle-aged even though I am. I’m aware I’m not twentysomething anymore – that’s clear. From my childhood perspective, being over 30 seemed ancient, a fossil. But now that I’m well past it, I have a perspective that only comes from being young and “hip” for a time – and then growing past it with a whole collection of life experiences from which to draw. Carrie Click is the editor of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle. If you have a copy of “It’s Hard to Be Hip Over 30,” she’d like to buy it from you. Carrie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 625-3245, ext. 101.
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