I walk in slow motion, slim and Audrey Hepburn-like, serene and dignified. I laugh demurely and not “haha”ing, exposing the entire inside of my mouth. This is the movie in my mind of how I am aging—but in reality, it is far from that.
I am not telling you my age; only know that I think like I am in my early thirties. Not too naive and insecure, someone with more “knowing” and confidence. Maybe a little sophisticated. I don’t feel like my real age at all. Somehow, down the road, I know that I have to reconcile the two. This “aging gracefully” is harder than I thought.
When I meet with my friends, I feel like high school again with all the giddiness and laughter of youth. We eat more than we should, talk a lot, and reminisce profusely. Because of this, I feel like I want to do “young things” but my “tita traits” emerge, spoiling the whole idea. There is the fantasy and the reality.
Watching concerts and Music Festivals
Fantasy: I am in the standing section right in front of the stage. I can see the artists up-close. Do they still call that area the “mosh pit”? I am in a tight white T-shirt, jeans, and sitting on the shoulders of my strong boyfriend grooving to the music. If there is no boyfriend, I am with my girIfriends, dancing, screaming, sweating, and one with the crowd.
Reality: I choose what in my opinion are the best tickets, which are closest to the stage, but seated. Near the restroom is preferred. The outfit is casual, but comfortable, a “tita” outfit for sure—a dress with espadrilles. The aircon is cold and I like it so I don’t sweat. I vibe with the music but don’t stand. I chair-dance instead. I scream at the aging and balding artist who, in my memory, is still young and attractive, “You’re so hot!” to the embarrassment of my husband.
Going to a Club
Fantasy: I go to a dance club. Back in the day, we used to call it a disco. There are many people on the dance floor, dancing with partners, or in groups, or solo. I dance by myself holding a drink, enjoying the music churned out by a celebrity deejay. My eyes are closed to feel the rhythm. I am wearing these figure-hugging clothes and I feel sexy.
Reality: I don’t know what to wear in such a place. Nothing figure-hugging for sure, that’s just too uncomfortable. Everyone is so young. How do I dance? My age will be a giveaway with my moves. Must not clap my hands or snap my fingers. I’ve stopped drinking alcohol for years and two cocktails make me tipsy already. The blaring music deafens me, giving me a migraine.
Fantasy: I fully know social media and the latest trends. Everything I share looks natural and organic. Facebook is for the old. I continually post the beautiful parts of my life on Instagram through reels with matching music, and voice my opinions on TikTok. I follow popular YouTubers. I understand algorithms. Every move Elon Musk makes for Twitter is taken note of. I use all the social media platforms, which include Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit. I am savvy and have my pulse on what is happening. To be clear, though, it is not a fantasy for me to do those dance challenges on TikTok.
Reality: Despite my frustration, my friends insist on posing left to right in “tita” fashion. I aim for candidly posed photos laughing, interacting, capturing the feeling of having a good time, without success. Still, I post the left to right photos on Instagram, but also on Facebook for the old, so my other friends can see it. I don’t really know what’s going on in social media but I ask my younger friends to teach me so that I can “get with the program.”
Fantasy: I am adept at all things tech, from gadgets to fads, and I utilize all the features to the max. I use all messaging apps from WhatsApp to Telegram to Cignal. I appreciate all upgrades on the cellphone that address kinks. I use the Cloud to store all my images and files.
Reality: I try to get the latest cellphones and gadgets but they are underutilized—although knowing that these gadgets can do so much is enough of an incentive to keep buying them. I don’t know how to download a Google file. I always call my ex-colleague who is a graphic artist to help me. I have a tech “guy.” He assists me with my iCloud problems, among other things. I am so very slow-tech. I once called someone to help me because I couldn’t hear callers on my new iPhone. I raised my voice. “I can’t hear people. What’s wrong with my cell?!” He screamed back, “Remove the plastic wrapper!”
Fantasy: I am up-to-date with the trends of everything in fashion. I am on the lookout for new and innovative designers. I acquire the latest outfits and proudly wear them, from chunky platform shoes, the new cut of jeans that are higher on the waist, mix high and low (luxury and lower-priced items), and follow what stylish celebrities wear. I exude the pulse of fashion.
Reality: I am not up-to-date with trends and the latest in fashion at all. If I come across information, then I read all about it—designers, shoes, “it” bags, Fashion Week, but I don’t seek it out. I am accustomed to a certain style that works for me. I tweak it to adjust to the times and occasion. After the pandemic, I realized that I just want to simplify and wear a uniform of sorts (mostly black and beige), like Steve Jobs. I only occasionally wear color. This doesn’t mean I am joyless or depressed.
Fantasy: I attend all these hip parties in hip places. No matronas are around and I am not one. I meet people online and use dating apps like Tinder and Bumble where I confidently put my age as 32. A date is set and I have a romantic dinner and an all-around wholesome good time.
Reality: When I worked as a hotel PR, I secretly called myself an anti-PR PR. I was friendly and all but I never liked going to big events. I prefer small group get-togethers where conversation flows. I stick to my tried-and-true friends. I would be dead scared to meet someone I met online and strike up a conversation. What if he is a serial killer? Worse, what if he is 12?
Fantasy: I can speak the language of a Zoomer. “I’m finna working on my glow up and drip, which will definitely impress the fam. No cap, it will be a W! Iykyk.” Try deciphering that!
Reality: I continually use Eighties references, from movies to events that happened in that era, which confuses younger people. I was in total shock when I met a young person who didn’t know U2. How can one not know them? I use terms like bagets, nineteen kopong kopong, porma, super, and of course, the classic baduy. I don’t see this changing at all—because baduy is forever.