Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Who is that old lady?


You know how when you’re talking to an old lady you often have to slow down and explain stuff to her?  Or help her figure out some new thing?  Or maybe drive more slowly as you come up behind her because her turn signal is on and you’re not sure if she’s really going to turn.  Or not?  I hope you were kind, didn’t roll your eyes.  I hope you were patient.  Because I think that old lady might have been me.

I’ve been watching me at work lately.  And I’ve been watching them.  Those of you my age will know the them of which I speak.  They are all tall and thin, wearing sharp suits.  With short skirts and very high heels or tightly knotted ties, sharply creased trousers and shiny shoes.  They hurry to meetings in pairs or groups carrying their half open laptops and talking seriously about IMPORTANT THINGS that will have IMPACT in their departments and across the company.  They are intense.  They are young.  I squish over to the wall as they swish by, move aside as they come crashing down the stairwell, heels clicking, as I am slogging up in my heavy snow jacket, hat, worn out but warm mittens, boots, steamed over glasses.  I don’t think they even see me.

They are in my department too, noticing when I do things in a slow methodical way on my computer.  Noticing when toolbars are appearing that don’t need to be, when I open things in a less than efficient manner.  They show me, patiently, how to do things faster, cleaner, BETTER.   I add those bits of knowledge to my brain hoping something else as or more important doesn’t fall out.  I polish my smudged glasses and continue on as I was because I know how to do things my way and it all gets done.  Doesn’t it?

These days I catch a glimpse of me walking the halls at work and see someone who is a lot older than I thought I was.  It’s a jolt every time.  But I see me in the young people rushing about enthusiastically too.  They remind me of me just a few moments ago.  Or was it years.  Well never mind, my memory is slipping.  More and more frequently I realize that the old lady I see on the street and smile at is me.

I hope I can be patient with her.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

21 thoughts on “Who is that old lady?

  1. Oh, those young whippersnappers!

    Yesterday I was thinking back too. To a time when I thought, “I don’t understand teacher burnout. I could never get burnt out.” Now….I get it! A teacher on the verge of retirement was talking to me yesterday, about how her department is getting ready to change the curriculum and is going to eliminate a ton of content, and focus on ‘concepts’ that appear on assessments, rather than giving the whole back story. She said, “I can’t do that!” But, the young ones still have the energy to make those big changes, and are excited to play a role in the change.

    When I was starting out, I always looked up to the veteran teachers. Years of experience gave them so much knowledge, and I got great advice from them. Not sure if the new teachers are looking up to us veterans now, or looking down at us old farts who are resistant to change.

    I guess we can find comfort in knowing those whippersnappers will be us someday, and the cycle of life will continue!


  2. I’m with you, except I now feel like it’s my job to be patient with all those overly excited divas. What’s all the fuss about? That’s what I think now (20 years ago, I thought I knew what the fuss was about, aging has given me the wisdom to forget!).


  3. I have noticed that my mind has been pondering a lot on growing old of late. Being forced into early retirement and having a body that in feels so much older then my mind does is to put it in simple terms – a bummer! I keep thinking – there is so much I still want to do and yet there isn’t as much time to do it in any more – eeeeeekkkkk is this the mid life crisis everyone talks about?


  4. Aw….you are NOT old. No way. It’s all those young whippersnappers around you!


  5. I know what you mean. Have we all turned into our mothers??


  6. Wait! We are not “old” – unless there’s a benefit to being that – like a discount in the store. We are mature, we are wise, we are – creaking a bit in our bones, maybe. You are many years younger than I, but that’s really more a physical thing (except for the wise part). My problem (or advantage?) is that my brain doesn’t think I’m old, so it comes as a surprise when I tire more easily, get up more slowly, take breaks more often. But still – I can now use my time as I wish. I can wear a red hat with my purple shirt and pants. I can spend all my money on wine. I can talk to my furry friends without worrying about whether others think I’m crazy, because I don’t care what they think. I am me – I am happy – and I’ll take whatever senior discount I can get!


  7. I know the feeling, and it’s a shock, isn’t it? I mean, you feel like the person you’ve been all your life, and then you walk past a mirror and go, “Huh? Who’s that?” And get called “ma’am.” And have other WOMEN (younger ones, of course) hold doors open for you. And realize you’re creeping down the snowy, icy sidewalks with cautious little UPS steps.

    We do need to patient with ourselves — and others, of all ages. Thanks for the smile of recognition today, Dawn.


  8. Dawn, you’ve reminded me once again how blessed I am NOT to work in an office — with young ‘uns! It’s easier on the psyche to work solo, to not have to see all that mad rushing, those immaculate suits, that intensity. Yes, once I WAS them; no longer. And that’s okay, you know. We have other strengths (wisdom, patience, finesse). Hang in there — this is probably the snow and cold talking!


  9. Aww, Dawn I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this. And while I’m not in your shoes yet (I think I might be one of “them”), I can feel for you. It’s a jolt noticing that I’m saying things like “Twenty years ago…”
    Once the sun starts shining again in earnest, and it will, you’ll feel more like “them.” But be patient with yourself in the meantime; you’re the only you you’ve got 🙂


    • Good point. No sense worrying about’re right, I’m all I’ve got, might as well make the best of it.


      • Have you read Water for Elephants? I started it last night and was reminded of this post. Since I’m just 1/3 through it, I can’t say if I’d recommend it or not, but I suspect I would. Given what you indicated in this blog, I imagine you’d relate some to the narrator – who is either 90 or 93, he can’t remember.


  10. Mommy watches the old shows on tv. People her age dont watch those shows. Mommy doesnt like new shows on tv. Too much violence or too much foul language. Mommy thinks shes old fashioned in her ways.


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