Saturday, May 23, 2009

Little Miss Muffin Top


I knew it was time to retire during an important business meeting with a group of twenty-something Vice Presidents.  I had just pitched a totally hip and very irreverent movie campaign targeted to 18 year old guys. My clients loved it!  

It was a done deal and I nearly jumped up to belly slam the VPs.  (Kidding, but I was excited.)  Then I heard the 25 year old Sr. VP say, in her too sweet, squeaky voice say, "I can't believe YOU came up with this idea!"  The YOU she meant was ME-- a then nearly 50 year old ME! Translation:  I was old enough to be her mother and couldn't possible be that cool.

Talk about a buzz kill.  She called me O L D -- To my face. In front of a room full of other 20-something people. Who thought it was funny.  Damn!  

Was I gracious about her "old age" implications?  No, actually, I wasn't.  I remained silent and let her dig her embarrassed, muffin-topped ass out of the conversation, while I mentally calculated how much more I was going to charge her for the campaign she loved so much.

I was 49 1/2 at the time and will never forget that day.  It felt like the beginning of the end.  Everywhere I turned, 50 was screaming at me with all it's ugly, over the hill, implications.  I was not happy.

But wait!  When I turned 50 I could retire if I wanted to!   That's a big deal!  Not everyone can kick back before Social Security kicks in.  I'd reached a milestone, a huge accomplishment, the American Dream for crying out loud.  So why did I feel so bad?

I did not like being viewed as, "the old dog on the porch". I fancied myself as hip, in touch and still at the top of my game.  But dealing with ever-younger executives was, frankly, exhausting.  

I thought long and hard about retirement.  The last thing I wanted to do was walk away from a successful business for all the wrong reasons.  But as the months passed, I knew it was the right decision for me.

So I phased out my business and jumped into retirement.  
And hated it!  

No longer working 12 hour days left me with a lot of time on my hands.  The silence nearly killed me.  The sheer boredom, despite a ton of charity work and a mile long "to-do" list, was painful.  And, the lack of focus and purpose nearly drove me nuts.  This is not what I had planned.

It's been a little over a year since I retired.  Although I'm still trying to find my way, I have to admit, being bored out of my mind is still way better than doing business with 20-somethings all day long.

Have you ever had the "old dog on the porch" feeling?
  
Welcome to TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna

31 comments:

Traceytreasure said...

Yes! I've yelled at dogs to get off my lawn when I was in my 30's!!
I would have bitchslapped her! I never would have had the nerve to call someone old when I was in my 20's especially someone I was working with or a colleague. Whatever happened to respect your elders? That's something they forgot to teach those 20 year old muffin top beatches!! I think that 50 is the new 30!! With age comes wisdom and I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. I'm going to buy myself a cane for my birthday and wave it at people who disagree with me or call me old!! What do you think? Good idea? LOL!!

Hugs!!

Traceytreasure said...

I think you should find a way to get paid for your writing. I love your posts!!
P.S. I color my hair because I took our son to Gymboree when he was 3 and I was 28, the lady asked if I was his grandma....I have a lot of gray hair underneath the Loreal!
More hugs!!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Tracey, I officially LOVE you! Thanks for the great compliment! And. if you get a cane so will I. We can shake them at those little bitches together! Grrrrr.
(The sad part is, that story is 100% true too!)

Gramma 2 Many said...

Thanks for your visit today. It is a horrible story, and I relive it often. I actually posted it because of the little girl Poca that I mentioned in the post.
Turning 60 was the very hardest birthday for me ever. Don't know what 70 will do to me.
Let me know when you buy the cane and I will too.

cjw666 said...

Oh yes - almost daily. But don't you think that the most annoying thing about the twenty somethings is not that they know little, but that they haven't yet achieved sufficient maturity to be able to recognise the fact? :)

Betty said...

Yes! I have that feeling often. The same situations happen at my office too. A place filled with 20 something year old bimbos that think they know everything.
It is only because I know I would feel the same way you have, that keeps me from retiring. I need to keep my mind busy and need to get out of the house. How long I will be able to take the pressure of being the oldest.... not sure. For now I try to have a really "slippery back".
Great post!!

Cathy Clementz said...

Joanna, You kindly visited my blog so now I am on yours and I LOVE it!! I can so relate to the business end of your life! But, you are just a kid!!! Wait till you reach 56!!

See ya later!

Rootietoot said...

I guess what bugs me most is knowing I was that way in my 20's. To whomever I offended, my deepest apologies.

g. said...

Yes.....with four teenagers around the house, it is almost a daily occurence. They look astounded, and then horrified, when I know words to songs. I explain these songs are from twenty years ago, and then twenty years ago gets them started. I have my own business and don't work with a lot of twenty somethings, but my sister, who is 29, makes me feel eighty every day!

linda said...

Yep, I can relate! I'm a nurse who supervises at least 8 dialysis technicians a day, and almost always, all of them are under 30! I do have to admit I love them to death though. This being said, there's not a day at work that I don't feel my age next to these kiddos. Just yesterday one darling girl was complaining about her birthday on Monday...saying she is soooo old! She'll be 26!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Sadly, we've all been in the same boat at one time or the other. Some days I can grin and bear it, others times not so much and my claws come out.

Please check out my new friend Christopher who had a few things to say on the subject as well. He's a friend of Lilly's too--

http://cjw666.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/the-over-confidence-of-youth/

BettieBlogger said...

Saw that you commented and wanted to return the favour :) As for the muffin top, I hear ya girl. I wear a ring in my eyebrow, have had it for years.. One day I'm in an elevator and this guy, about 19 says to me "wow, that's really cool" thanks I said with a smile .. "your welcome he says, you don't see alot of older people with those anymore" O_0

I think I crawled out of that elevator all the way to the door lol ..

take care!


Bettie

Gran said...

I'm the old dog everyday, Joanna, and enjoy my role (at least most days, anyway).

The 20 somethings at my job treat me very well, at least most days!

yellowdog granny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Loraine said...

Since I have friends in all different age groups, I gotta say, yeah the twenty- somethings are exhausting and rather presumptuous at times. I guess the "kid" perspective is that anyone over thirty can't possibly be interesting. I surprise them sometimes. And sometimes I'm content to stay at home with my shawls and tea and pottery mugs. But hey, I can still play a mean hand drum, and I've still been in three heavy metal bands, so THERE.

Just a little something from Judy said...

From me, your "50" something friend, I want to thank you for your visit to my blog today, and for the kind words you shared. On this my first visit to your blog...I found myself smiling at times, shaking my head in agreement at times, and just plain enjoying your gift of writing. I look forward to more visits. I especially liked the Mystery Man in Milan" post. And yes there are days when I truly do feel like an old dog on the porch! Just somedays.

Lilly said...

Oh yes, I started to feel like that from 40. I think its all about the cockiness of youth and to be honest we were probably the same. The hard thing is we dont want to squash the ideas of young people (as I can see my daughter in that same 20 something postion now) because they are brilliant at times but we also want to teach them about respecting their elders. Its tough, truly.

I also hate going to cosmetic counters for makeup. I wrote a post about this when I was looking for a face mask and the girl looked at my skin critically to say that I would need the EXTRA Firming one. Ouch!!

The thing is 50 is way too young to be put out to pasture as it were its just called a detour to some place better. You are going to get to do something that you never thought possible. I love the thought of new opportunities, don't you?

And soon enough retirees are going to make up a large percentage of the population.

The other scary thing to me is this. If 20 somethings are doing this to us then are we doing the same to 70 somethings. Its worth a thought...great post.

♥ bfs~"Mimi" ♥ said...

First, I thank you for stopping by my blog today and for your sweet note!

I had to laugh at your post. I realized at 40-something that I was the oldest at work. It was a weird feeling. I've pretty much gotten accustomed to it by now at 60! :-) And also, frankly, we have a lot less "drama" in our lives by this age. We adjust more easily. And we've learned it's not all about us. I kind of like that about my age. I'm more settled. :-)

To "get over" turning 60, I started blogging, as a matter of fact. Wanted to do something entirely different and unfamiliar.

I loved reading your post and comments - er, except for the rude one somewhere above me who had to slice and dice you. Perhaps you will delete her comment before the day is done. None of us need that language. :-)

Tabitha in Bliss said...

I'm 37 going on 38 and was asked if I was my friend's mom (she's in her 30's to). I've had a hair full of gray since I was 17, so I use to dye it. On this day I was in all of my gray splendor.

I would not have been as gracious as you were. :)

Mari said...

Thanks for stopping at my blog. I've enjoyed reading your posts! I am 48 and spent the first part of my life being the youngest. I was the youngest in my class all through school, the youngest in my class at nursing school and then the youngest at my present job for quite a few years. Now that has changed and I know what you mean about suddenly feeling like you are viewed as old, when inside you don't feel that way.
About the graduation invites - I don't think you owe any of those people you barely know anything. I go the the parties of those I really know, otherwise I send a card.

Aleta said...

20 something - should be 20 stupid - instead. Kids grow up too quickly these days and somehow don't manage to learn much in the process.

I'm on the edge of turning 40 and one thing I know for certain. I wouldn't want to turn back the clock. It's good in the here and now and the future is something to look forward to.

Nice to visit your blog, coming from Lilly's blog. Looking forward to reading more!

Lo said...

My best friend is my 83 year old Gigi. She is sunshine in a person! She helps me when I feel inexperienced but also helps me trust my instincts. She calls me out when I am wrong. I had a hard time turning 30 on that day, but soon got over it. Every year that's past, I realize that that life is heavier than anyone ever told you it would be. But I treasure each sweet moment because in the last year I have lost more "young" loved ones. Good Luck and I hope that tomorrow is better than today...everyday =) Thanks for visiting my blog! Love yours

Yaya said...

Yup, granted I'm only 28. But recently I was trying to get into a competitive masters degree program and the others were all fresh out of bachelors degrees, while I took 6 years off to try and start a family. So yes, compared to all of them I was the 'old' one and I felt totally out of place. And I didn't make it into the program. :(

Peggy said...

I have three grown children, and I know exactly what you're talking about. I am way older then you and I can say that I haven't gotten used to it. My son just asked me ifI was was 65 yet...."excuse me" I said..he left laughing! "I'm not in that decade yet" No respect

Maggi said...

Oh my goodness, how fabulous is your blog?!?! Can I just say that I've felt this way towards the younger set in my thirties? Does that count too? lol Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a lovely comment!

Joanna Jenkins said...

THANK YOU ALL!!!! I love your comments and feedback (except the one dropping the F-word, which I deleted-- I try to keep things PG-rated around here.)
I'm still pretty freaked out by 50-something and all that goes with-- actually 40 was pretty traumatic too, so I'm super sensitive to most comments made to me about aging. But you are all making it so much easier. Not to say that miserly likes company :-) It's just nice to know I'm not alone trying to figure out what 50-something means. Thanks again I'll stop by all of your blogs too.

Your cool friend Cheryl said...

Hi Joanna, thanks for following my blog! Yours is great too-I'm excited to see what else you'll write about!

Pearl said...

Ah, she was a twit.

I'm 47. The majority of my friends are younger than I am -- a couple of them are even in their late 20s. Sometimes, I feel old around them, and I don't like it. Maybe it's their failure to get a Gilligan's Island reference. Sometimes it's their belief that they can buy the best of things without making the income to make the payments comfortably. Sometimes it's staring into their relatively unlined faces and then realizing how my own has changed.

And then I think of being that age again -- of being prettier, but also being dumber, broker (word?!), consumed by the most ridiculous things.

She was a twit, and you are amusing and write well.

Pearl

Attila The Mom said...

Yes. My youngest asks if I lived in the "olden days" (whatever the hell that is---pre walkman?). I remember asking my mom the same thing! LOL

nikkicrumpet said...

Funny how the young underestimate the more mature...and totally over estimate themselves! I hope you charged them double!

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