Guerrilla Aging: It’s Just Easier That Way, A Guest Post by Linda Tharp

Posted on February 13, 2015

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In her own words: “Linda Tharp blogs at LindaTharpInk.com, home to her wry—and frequently sarcastic—observations. Formerly a medical editor and currently a runner nursing a post-surgical knee, she has plenty of time to admire her dazzling collection of Merino wool yarn she doesn’t have the patience to knit.”

And in mine: Speaking of not having enough time, Linda has discovered, thanks to Twitter, that it is entirely possible to express onself in 140 words, or less. She does it so well, that she has a lot of extra time on her hands to knit, were she so inclined.

*****

As a kid I couldn’t wait to be a “grown-up,” an idyllic concept that included neither financing two daughters’ college educations nor trailing a sick dog with a wad of paper towels in my hand. What it did include was doing whatever I wanted. Today, doing whatever I want extends to my blog.

Recently I abandoned an older blog my parents subscribed to. I’d simply outgrown it and no longer had anything fresh to say within the confines I’d created for myself. When I mentioned this to Mom, she said, “Ohhhhhhh. That’s toooo baaaad. It was so…pretty. Are you sure?” This was over the phone, so I couldn’t see her head drop slightly and she didn’t see my jaw clench. What I didn’t tell her was that I was starting a new blog featuring random thoughts that often keep me awake at night.

Here’s the thing: those few sentences in that phone call constitute what is, for us, a frank discussion. Our “sex talk” consisted of her handing me a Modess “Your Body is Changing” (or some such title) box complete with illustrated guide, sanitary napkin belt, and napkins that now remind me of a loaf of Wonder bread. So imagine her reaction to a post entitled, “Why I Won’t Get a Tattoo.” Here’s how I picture the conversation—again, over the phone, where all meaningful conversations occur:

Mom: “Were you reaaaally considering a tattoo?” (Simultaneously shuddering and looking at my baby pictures).
Me: “No. They’re just reasons I wouldn’t get one.
Mom: “So you were considering it?”
Me: “No. But if I ever did consider it, those are reasons I wouldn’t do it.”
Mom: “So you were considering it.”
Me (through gritted teeth): “No, Mom. I said no. It’s just tongue-in-cheek humor, that’s all. Nothing more.”
Mom: “Oh.” (Pause). “Would it be hard to restart your old blog?”

And so through no fault of Mom’s, our dance continues. I say no fault of Mom’s because I never expected her to change—it’s me I’m disappointed with. I thought by now I’d be politely, civilly speaking my mind. That I’d stop the dance.

And yet.

A age 55, I’m still seeking mom’s approval.

Somehow my mom got wind of the new blog before it went live. “Be sure and let me know when it starts!” she said. Now I have two choices: I can either lie by omission and never mention it, or I can tell her it’s up and running—which means I’ll visualize her squinting with confusion as she reads “Life in 140 Characters Or Less.”

“Why 140 characters?” she’ll ask.
“On Twitter you have a limit of 140 characters to get your point across,” I’ll say. I won’t explain Twitter.
“Oh.” (Pause). “Was Twitter really around when the Wizard of Oz was filmed?”

On second thought, maybe I only have one choice.

*****

If you would like to contribute your thoughts to our weekly Guerrilla Aging post, send your piece to Renee at lifeintheboomerlane@gmail.com. At such point as Renee becomes a world-famous blogger and accepts the Pulitzer, she will thank all the little people who helped her get there. You will know that you were one of those. On the other hand, if you score the Pulitzer before she does, please acknowledge her as having given you your big chance.

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