Saturday, March 3, 2012

Acting My Age...

Looking around this focus group panel for the plug-in hybrid car market research study, I am surprised to see that there aren’t any younger people.  Everyone here is in the age range of 50-69.  Why is that?? Do the auto manufacturers think that only people who are over 50 will buy a plug-in hybrid car?

Listening to my fellow panelists, I don’t think that’s a safe assumption.  They are saying “it’s not a proven technology,” and “too much trouble to plug the car in every day.”  I am the only panelist who currently owns a plug-in car.  Comparing my responses to theirs, I think I must sound pretty “out there.”  I’m saying “I LOVE IT!” and “sign me up for the next level of this technology as soon as it’s available!” They are focused on cost, and whether there is a payback.  I’m saying “the fuel economy is just one factor; minimizing my impact and caring for my planet IS my payback.” Add the feathers I’m wearing to the mix, and they are probably thinking I’m a total flake.  Which I, of course, take as a total compliment.
It doesn’t occur to me until I get home that this particular panel was carefully crafted to capture only the 50-69 year old age group.  The youngsters were probably questioned before we even showed up.   I slap myself in the forehead.  Of course, the market researchers would group people by age for their surveys, and, of course, it makes sense to question people in neatly-divided age groups.  DUH!

My next thought, however, knocks me flat.  I AM IN THE 50-69 AGE GROUP!  When did this happen??  I remember gasping when the gray-haired stodgy at the end of the table said he was 52.  I thought, “How can that be?  He’s so much older than I am!”  The calendar may say he’s only two years older than I am, but I feel a lifetime younger than he is.
In fact, I feel YOUNGER now than I ever have in my so-called adult life.  It’s not reflected in the image I see in the mirror, haha, but it’s how I feel: more playful, more light-hearted, more carefree.  I’ve given up carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders; no longer feeling somehow responsible for every “bad” thing that happens, and feeling victimized by the caprice of the gods.  I’m more likely to sing a random lyric in the grocery store, tango in line at the post office, or cackle-laugh at a wholly inappropriate time ~ much to the chagrin of my tweenage children. 

I know it’s been a long time coming, that I’ve done a lot of Work over the years, and yet there was something magical about turning 50.  Since then, I’ve been shedding the fear, worry and guilt like a snake in constant molting season mode.  It’s been freeing ~ to be released of the weight of that responsibility which really isn’t mine ~ while Knowing the Absolute Truth of the divinity that each of us is.  Whether that fits the profile of a 50-60er...well, I like to think that it does.  And the opportunity to embarrass my tweens is just a bonus!