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Who Are These Old People in This Picture of Us?

August 18, 2014 - Diane Laney Fitzpatrick

Shortly after we became Empty Nesters, my husband and I took a ride to the beach in his convertible with the top down. We walked along the water in our bare feet for an hour and then went to a little French café that we like, and had breakfast, coffee and mimosas. And then we got down on our knees and thanked the baby Jesus that we have the life that we do.

But it wasn't until we looked at some photos that we had taken of the two of us in the car, that we realized how we look to outsiders. My husband said it best:

"Crap. We're 'active old people.'"

I knew exactly what he meant. The parents of adult children in the new Toyota commercial who would rather go mountain biking than have Facebook friends. The couple in the Viagra commercial who are still hot for each other but sensible enough to wait until the grandkids leave before they do the horizontal hokey pokey. The white-haired pair on the cover of Modern Maturity, with smiles so big and white, they'll light up your mailbox.

Not that we don't want to be Active Old People. It beats the alternative: Being Sedentary Old People. But do we have to be them now? This soon? It seems like just yesterday I was surrounded by little kids. Between them, the dog, the other people's kids, the laundry, the homework (I could go on indefinitely, but you get the picture), I was about as far away from a Sunday morning cocktail and a walk on the beach as you could get.

I should have seen it coming, though. Some obvious clues: One, the fact that my husband drives a convertible two-seater sports car. And two, we are not spending our Sunday mornings at a soccer game, a swim lesson, teaching Sunday School or volunteering in the children's nursery at church. And yet we're up and dressed on Sunday morning, despite #2. That has Active Old People written all over it.

As for the car, there's a reason why, when you see a snazzy sports car on the road, and pull up next to it, there's never some young thing driving it. There's always some geezer behind the wheel. One of life's ironies is that by the time you can afford a sports car, you're too old to remember why you wanted one.

~ ~ ~

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick is the author of Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves. Her Just Humor Me column runs here on her website at


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