Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Unexpectedly, Old

Before you know you are old, you hear it from others.

Not in so many words.

It may be the vegetable vendor, not exactly looking as fresh as the spring onions she hawks, addressing you as Nana -- and you wonder if by chance she meant to say (your real name) Anna.

Or an acquaintance you haven't met for a while, fussing loudly as she meets you, all dressed up, lugging a brief case, "My goodness, you still work?"

Or young men -- and God forbid, women -- scrambling to rise in a crowded bus or train to offer their seat to you, just as you drop your lunch box to the floor and start reaching for the estribo.

Or the supermarket kahera , intently looking to and from your (credit card) picture and your face -- one time too many -- before irrepressibly gushing: "Ma'am ang bata mo pa dito."

So, that is how we grow old. In the eyes of other people first. And then, ever so slowly and reluctantly, we finally agree with their verdict.

From Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst

"Now that you're older," I once asked my friend Irene, 68, "don't you miss the men who used to look at you so lustfully? "

She stared at me for a moment, then responded indignantly with: "Used to? What are you saying -- used to?"

Remembered from Gifts of Age (author forgotten)

She watched the salesman's eyebrow shoot up as she asked for "tap shoes, my size -- size 5." She explained: "My feet haven't grown for 40 years." "You've been tap dancing that long?" he asked. "No, I began last month," she beamed.

As he was about to wrap the pair she fitted and liked, she asked him: "You find that unusual -- an old woman tap dancing? " "Unusual but cool," he answered, quickly adding: "Say, what about a demonstration."

She waited as he pushed aside some stools to clear the floor.


MrsPartyGirl said...

my husband's 20-something officemate calls me "tita". that, to me, is too weird because i don't think i look like a "tita" yet. perhaps to my 3 year old nephew, yes, but to her... nuh-uh!

but, for a seat on a crowded bus, i would be willing to milk my age for all its worth, hehe.

Gina said...

"Maybe just the vegetable vendor, not exactly looking fresh as spring, addressing you as Nana, instead of Anna."
LOL! This just reminded me of the shrimp and fresh fish vendor in our town who called my mother,Mama or Nay, and she looked older than my mom. =P "nay, pira man nay?( nay, how much would you like,nay?). I guess Mama felt a little ticked off but didn't show it.
I know that one of these days, I'll just suddenly realize I'm that old na pala. Right now, I sometimes think I'm only 18. honest!

Belle said...

LOL! that is why i try not to go to places with my kids so i will not be mistaken for an ole mom. why can't we just call people by the first name like the way we do here in the US.

and this is how i greet my 92 year-old friend: "hi Lorraine, you look simply smashing in that outfit!" she gives me an engaging smile in return.

zeroimpact said...

Appearance may get old, but I believe that the heart should not
But then again when people starts noticing it does a little too much damage to ourself though
Must battle it
Must battle it

exskindiver said...

the transition from miss to ma'am
is when i realized i was getting older.

will read more later. (am still away)
kita mo naman kahit wala ako sa bahay, binibisita pa rin kita. that's loyalty.

ScroochChronicles said...

Hello there!!

I realized I was on my way after a visit to the..of all places..Kamuning Market. I hadn't gone for a couple of years so I was surprised when some of the tinderas started calling me "Mommy" or "Ma'am" or "Mader". Previously, it was "Ate", "Miss", or "Anak". Talaga naman..

+ Liz + said...

Finally I'm here. I like your site. I think I can learn a lot from it. I'll link you up so I can catch up with your posts... thanks! :B

diogenes said...

Very incisive observations. But one does not have to agree to these flying socital and polite remarks. No.

Gypsy said...

I hear you! I used to be called by my name, then an "ate" is added, now a "tita." :)

By the way, you have something waiting for you in my June 27th post...;)

Heart of Rachel said...

Just like gypsy, some people start addressing me with an ate or tita. Like this mom I met in my son's school. I kept telling her to drop the ate and just call me rachel but she just couldn't do it. She says it's out of respect. Hello?! I just wish she could respect my wish to be called plainly as Rachel or Rach. :) She's nice and all but I DO MIND whenever she calls me ate. haha!

pining said...

I realized that I wasn't young anymore when the woman at the till asked, "you want a bag madame?"... nevermind... In the husband's eye, I'm still a young mummy :-)

snglguy said...

Hmmm, I seem to be getting a lot more "Po" and "Opo" these days. And it's not because I'm in a position of power...

slim whale said...

i hate it when people say ate or kuya and feel that they are doing it out of respect. i'm not old and nobody calls me kuya (except my cousin who is 7 years my junior), but when somebody does call me that, I always say my name is Chris not Kuya Chris

Major Tom said...

I am merely 35 going on 36 and you know what, I do have anxieties like that already---feel like I am getting old too fast these days when just about a couple of years back, I thought I was still too young. I start to look at younger people and see how they have much smoother skins and more apt body built and that creates insecurity, especially thinking that I was once like them, but now I ain't anymore.

But in the end, i just think that only mules get old. My body might weaken with ages, and my skin may not be as keen looking anymore, and lines showing on my face, but my mind and heart remains young and that's important. Like a child still, I am always gleeful of new discoveries and new things to do. That way, I can't be too old even when I'm 64---like the Beatles once sang.

SASSY MOM said...

I'm into my mid-3o's but slowly I'm feeling that way. When I started working, I was the baby of the department and now as I progress, first they call me, "Miss", now they call "Ma'am" or "madame", so what's next.

Hay! Im just charging it to "wisdom"

myepinoy said...

Old age may seem a long way off. But on the day it doesn't, it will be too late to do anything about it.

here is something from C.C. Colton:

How small a portion of our life it is that we really enjoy! In youth we are looking forward to things that are to come; in old age we are looking backward to things that are gone past; in manhood, although we appear indeed to be more occupied in things that are present, yet even that is too often absorbed in vague determinations to be vastly happy on some future day when we have time.

Manila Mom said...

Somehow it's liberating, though. Up until my 40th birthday I was still hung up on having a certain waist measurement, having a really flat tummy, doing something about jiggly arms, etc. Now at 45 I find myself more focused on trying to get healthy and fit, plus being comfy in my clothes and footwear.

I must confess,though, that it's always a blast when people think I'm much younger than my husband. He's only 47 but has had white hair since college and has gone all-white now. I think it's gorgeous but other people always assume he's already a senior citizen. He just laughs it off.

SexyMom said...

while attending parent affairs in my then 6-year old son's school, i observed other parent calling me "tita". i then realized that they were really much younger than i was, so i got used to it.

years before that, i was slighted when people would call me "ate".

see, it's worse now.

gosh! i shudder at the thought, when 30 yr olds would call me lola (when i am only lola to 4 and 2-yr olds)

Jerry said...

Yes, we never really expected to grow old, did we?

But now that it is happening... I don't think you are feeling less than yourself, Annamanila. As they say, you rock! Keep blogging.

gibbs cadiz said...

every year i'd go home to sorsogon for a few days and renew my bonds with former HS seminary classmates, most of them with kids and families now. our reunions were always about remembering our crazy adolescent years. but last summer's was different. for the first time we were talking about kids going to school and incomes not being enough and various aches and pains creeping up and so many opportunities wasted. in short, the onset of middle age and perhaps mid-life crisis. that's when i realized we were in a new frontier. tempus fugit (time flies), so we intoned in our latin class. hay, oo nga. :)

auee said...

Napabugtong-hininga ako sa post mo. Every time I recall my memories of late 20s or early 30s alumni visiting my org in Uni, I often think "egad they're old". Now I dread to come back hehehe

There is another twist that you can add, when you agree that you are indeed fat because of the comments that you receive.

Leah said...

Asians tend to look younger than their age, so that is a good thing for me. But somehow, those wrinkles on my forehead are starting to show and I have to try calculating my age by subtracting my year of birth from the current year. Truly I can never remember how old I am, I stopped coounting at 23.

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." ~Mark Twain

rhodora said...

Hahaha! Oh, Anna! Wala akong masabi! Hahaha!

sasha said...

This is so true, tita. Hahahaha... Naaliw ako! :)

I never thought of it this way pero come to think of it, we refuse to grow old until someone tells us or we feel it. Hahahaha

Happy Friday po! :)

Rolly Lampa said...

Me, too. I've had my senior moment on a tram. I'd just gotten on near Victoria Market in the city when a foreign student (an achingly young Chinese girl with a clunky laptop case)
jumped to her feet and offered me her seat - "Sir ..." Gusto kong batukan. That would be one of my most bemused moment as a migrant.

Reminds me of my time in DBP when the bank embarked on a massive expansion of services, a year after martial law, and there was massive recruitment of young CPAs and other professionals. The old guard (the old battleaxes in their forties and fifties) would stare the newcomers down and announce in advance that they would NOT be called Aling Cely or Aling Auring or Aling Virgie, etc. and Mrs. this or that was just too formal. They allowed it would be okay to be called Ate Cely and Ate Auring and Ate Virgie, etc.

Medyo off-putting, di ba? My wife Lynn and I used to sigh deep inside as other people moved on from Kuya Rolly and Ate Lynn to Tito Rolly and Tita Lynn. But lately, we find ourselves being called Tito and Tita by people in their early forties!

Naman ?!

Jigs said...

This is so weird. I'm also gonna post about how other people make me feel so old with words and actions. I know I shouldn't talk about being old when I'm only in my early twenties but when your in school. younger kids make me feel really old.

Pepe said...

they say it's just a number and as long as the matter doesn't age, it's fine. one grows old when one stops doing things when younger. tumigil akong maglaro ng basketball coz of knee ligament injury, which made me real sad...and old :(

lady cess said...

I was only in my late 20s then. this 18-year old lady ( i attended her debut party) next door called me "tita." grabe yon!

Connie said...

I felt old before anyone told me.

I couldn't run as fast. I couldn't climb stairs without stopping for a breath. And I kept tripping on my feet even in broad daylight -- malabo na pala mata ko.

But then, no one probably told me because anyone who did I'd call a liar hehehehe

julie said...

Annamanila, as usual, you had me nodding while holding off my laughter since hubby is fast asleep in the next room.

I get dumbfounded when people say "po" or "opo" to me. I don't like it when they call me "Misis" not that I'm not proud to be one but it sounds...bad.

When sometimes people call me "Mommy" Hello?! baka 10 years lang tanda ko sayo, ano, ang aga ko naman nagkaanak! Though with the calling of "Mommy" I'm guilty because that's what I call my students' mothers. :D

The list is endless. The aging is inevitable. I just wish I age as gracefully as I can, :D

Wil said...

I thought we were always supposed to say "po" or "ate" or "kuya" to people older than oneself as a sign of respect, but I've also found that some people don't like it for some reason. My cousin, for instance, prefers that I just call him by his first name or nickname and not to call him Kuya. This can be confusing especially when meeting someone for the first time -- not really sure whether to say words like "po" or not.

Abaniko said...

Sometimes you feel old when a teenager starts addressing you with at least 2 po's in a sentence. It happened to me yesterday. Hay.

Annamanila said...


Quick reply to your post:

From the comments here -- you know most people get slighted when they are prematurely addressed with elderly respect. hahaha

So if they seem youngish or only a few years older than you, junk the po and opo and kuya and tita. You will make them very happy. haha

Personally, one reason I like to blog is I don't feel my age here. I can be as young as I feel. :)

Thanks for letting us hear it from the viewpoint of the really young, Pepe.

chateau said...

Ay naku, in my kids' school there are so many young moms. I've often been addressed with "ho" or "nyo" or "kayo po"... LOL, kainis!

evi said...

i know eh... those comments. i'm not there yet. i usually get the "ang taba mo" comments. haha... it's always about age and weight!

sheilamarie said...

anna,just imagine all the discounts one can get when we finally get our own senior citizen's card *grins*.

nakuh! my parents are notorious for their use of their cards. LOL!

i'm looking forward to the day when i don't have to stand up anymore in the public transport because people will be rushing to let me sit down instead =D

Jap said...

...when I hear the comment: "You're 29? You look young for your age," I smile but deep inside I cringe because it's the same false flattery I give to people who look exactly their age.

You are right, other people notice it first, but we can forever disagree with their verdict. Age is but a number. We still have the choice to feel, think and act like teenagers if we want to. The worst that could happen is for them to call us immature, but even that I don't trust. I prefer to use the word youthful. =) Stay young at heart, Anna =)

Superb writing, by the way =)

Stat Counter