I always like meeting new friends.

So, when I met Samantha this past weekend, it was a real treat to find out that she was an attorney, just like me. She was a brunette, like me. She liked to laugh, like me. We were on our way to becoming fast friends … that is, we were … until she called me “ma’am.”

That’s an odd endearment for your new bestie, don’t you think?

Turns out my new gal pal is 28 years old, which seemed perfectly ok at the time because, in my mind, I am forever 29.

As the evening progressed, she called me “ma’am” two more times, and with each “ma’am,” I aged an entire decade. It turns out that if I had had a baby at 17, then Samantha could be my child. And just like that, this old girl was ready to go home.

Geez … when did I get so old?

When did getting up from a sofa after sitting in it for more than 15 minutes become such a back-breaking ordeal, requiring someone to give me a hand.

When did remembering a phone number become a speed sport, as I try to quickly dial the numbers before they vanish forever from my mind?

When did the furrows between my eyebrows become permanent fixtures … never to unfurrow again?

And when did those Del Webb retirement community commercials become so fascinating? I mean, who doesn’t want to live in a community where dinner clubs, indoor walking tracks and paddle boating abound.

I’ll tell you when ... the year after I turned 29 ... that’s when.

As those who’ve lived it well know, your 29th year of life is one of the best you’ll ever have. By then, you’re usually out of school and well on your way to adulthood with a home, car and credit card of your very own. Breaking out and bad dates are a thing of the past, and by now, you’ve firmly established your chosen path in life, as well as what haircut looks best on you.

The world is yours for the taking … and you better take it quickly, because give it another year (or decade, whatever the case may be), and you’re basically washed up.

Wrinkles, creaking joints, and people calling you “ma’am” will be here before you know it. One day, you’re 29, and the next, you’re looking across the table at your long-lost daughter.

The next morning, I texted Samantha to get her email address as we’re going to be working on a project together this week. She quickly responded with the boundless energy of someone who isn’t going to want to hang with me at the senior clubhouse anytime soon, deciding between taking water aerobics or arts and crafts.

It’s a good thing that I still have Becky’s number for all the good times still to come. Now, if I can just remember where I put my phone ...

Telling Tales is written by Wilson County’s Angel Kane and Becky Andrews.

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