It is funny how conversations with friends change as you get older. It starts out all goo, goo and gah, gah. Then it is all about baseball teams, bike riding and how your social studies teacher always spits when he talks so nobody sits in the front row.
In high school it is all homework, learning to drive, prom dates and being accepted to college — or really just accepted anywhere.
Back in those days we couldn’t wait to get older. Learning to drive, being able to vote and eventually enjoy a glass of wine were what mattered to us. We couldn’t wait to get out in the world and be independent.
In college it was parties, class and sports. Friendships, internships and networking were what we thought about. It was what would help us reach that dream job.
But once school was done, I’ve noticed that my conversations with friends have changed. We sound, well, old.
Now we talk about the joys of home ownership, getting married and having kids. All of a sudden things like health insurance, retirement accounts and pay scales actually matter when considering new career options and job changes. Losing a job looks frightening now. As a high school student, getting fired from Dairy Queen wouldn’t have been so bad. Now, booms and busts mean layoffs and tough decisions.
I love my friends, but as we age I reminisce a little bit about our more carefree conversations. Yes, we still enjoy our share of jokes and laughter. We still have a good time. But, it is different.
I had coffee with a friend earlier this week who is not that much older than me, but she teased that she has even gone beyond the marriage and babies conversations. Now, she said, she realized that many of her conversations with friends focus on their ailments. She said, “Now that makes you feel old.”
I laughed and thought to myself, “Why would you want to talk about that?” But also realized, as I replayed several conversations later that day in my head, that some of my friends already do.
Of course, I convinced myself that we only have those conversations because my friends are so health conscious, not because we’re old. Life seems to be full of milestones — some we celebrate and others we stumble over when we have to — but all indicate the passing of time.
The older I get, the more those milestones seem to be whizzing by and are only recognizable in a rear view mirror.
Now I really sound old.
Kristen Czaban is managing editor of The Sheridan Press.