anne_mikolay_2012_120My college-aged son offered an interesting observation this morning. According to him, as people get older, their preferences in film and food get “crummier”.  Actually, that’s not exactly the word he used, but you get the idea. I got the idea, too – loud and clear. My son mistakenly thinks taste and interest decline as age advances.

The person my son knows as “Mom” is not the same person I was at his age. Years ago, I liked horror movies, listened to my share of Alice Cooper, stayed out late, and wore bright blue eyeshadow and platform shoes. I had a lot of friends, saw every movie nominated for an Oscar, and never had to choose between dessert and a second helping of mashed potatoes. Like all adolescents, I thought time stretched on forever and heartache was something that happened to somebody else.

Life taught me differently.

I no longer watch horror movies. Reading the daily newspaper is frighteningly gruesome enough for me, thank you. There’s far too much noise in the world without adding to it, so these days I prefer soft or Christian rock (which elicited my son’s initial skewed observation). I no longer need to make a fashion statement; thus, I wear sensible shoes and long ago disposed of clown makeup. Working taught me the value of a dollar; I make no apologies for refusing to waste money on movies featuring characters who need their mouths washed out with soap, music with offensive lyrics, or fancy restaurants emphasizing presentation rather than quality. The friends of my youth have either disappointed me, moved, or sadly passed away; heartache, I have learned, is not discriminating. I treasure the true friends I have and rely on prayer and time to ease pain.

The adolescent I once was evolved into a reserved individual with simple tastes and an appreciation for quiet contemplation. That’s not to say I don’t blast Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” every time I hear it or eat both dessert and a second helping of mashed potatoes (living dangerously!). I have learned life’s lessons, the same ones awaiting my son. He looks at me and sees an aging woman with “crummy” taste. In fact, I am what he hopefully will become – a discerning individual who prefers the finer things in life…which have nothing to do with an entourage, owning a “McMansion”, or driving a BMW.

My son’s observation defines the generation gap. Young people don’t understand “old folks” simply because time and experience, or lack thereof, stand between us. I, too, am guilty of similar misguided thought; sometimes, the younger generation baffles me. Why do boys wear jewelry? Why do girls pierce their navels? Dunno! The generation gap is merely a culture clash.

Time marches on. My son will make fun of my Christian rock, and I will dismiss his rap music (or whatever it is!) That’s the way it’s supposed to be, I suppose. It simply means he is on the right track, moving forward in his life experience, as I am in mine.

Different strokes for different folks! (But somebody please teach the younger generation the older one is “not getting older; we’re getting better!) 

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Anne Mikolay

Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...