You know you're getting old when...

I was feeling old yesterday. Normally, I don't feel my age, but yesterday was a day that drives home the point that I'm not getting any younger. You see, yesterday was an interview day, a day during which we interview candidates for our general surgery residency. I sometimes joke that the candidates look younger and younger every year, when in fact they aren't. Last year, I wrote about this extensively, but this year was a little different. Last year, the candidates seemed to older than I was used to.

This year?

Well, this year I interviewed four candidates. A couple of hours before the interviews, I was perusing their applications packets. I looked over the first one and one number happened to jump out at me. No, it wasn't any grades or other scores.

It was the birthdate.


Agggh! That was the year I graduated from high school! People born in the year I graduated from high school are now fourth year medical students and they're applying for residencies! In fact, two out of the four candidates were born in 1980 and one was born in 1979. The oldest candidate was born in 1975.

Damn. I feel old.

Even so, yesterday made me optimistic for the future of my profession, at least from a humanistic standpoint. Three of these candidates were quite idealistic, having done work with either the indigent or in Africa or both. On the other hand, none of them seemed much interested in basic or translational research, which, as a researcher myself, I found a little depressing.

Almost as depressing as being reminded how fast time is going by.


  1. Don't worry - I was born in 1979, but as a returning student, you won't see me for a few years yet. ;)

    I know the feeling, though. Some of the kids in my classes were born in 1987. 1987!

  2. 1987? Are they out of kindergarden yet?

    I was born in 1975, but having changed studies several times, I study with people who are often 10 years younger than me. Sometimes it makes me feel old.
    The worst example was someone I wrote a project with - I knew her as a kid, and still remember her as the small kid she was (as she puts it - I'm 3 years older than her oldest brother).

  3. Welcome to the club! I also graduated from high school in '80, and have given up trying to explain that I'm really "not that old" to my teenagers (which is sort of hard when they hear me aching after a day of skiing).

  4. /cue wheezing from the rocker/ Heh. Don't fret, sonny, some of us are older yet, and working with all these healthy young idealistic surfers and rockclimbers and backpackers in the greenie nonprofits rubs it in. I tell them I spell my last name "just like Ed" and they don't know what I'm talking about. They want to hear ancient war stories like all about the Summer of Love. I tell them hippies were an invention of Time magazine. It's really weird to see toys I played with on display in the antique shops. It's even weirder to see the most hideous clothing mistakes of my not-quite-youth-anymore -- stuff I'd developed enough rudimentary taste to avoid the first time around -- being recycled as nostalgia.

    Come to think of it (counting on wrinkled cronish fingers) I'm technically old enough to be your mother.

    Pass the Geritol, please.

  5. Judging from some of the comments here, I'd say you know you're getting old when folks who were born when you were in high school talk about feeling old.

    Or when you get the "where are they now?" booklet from a high school reunion and find out that some of your classmates are grandparents.

  6. I've found it helpful
    to keep repeating the following paraphrased lines to oneself: "Experience and judgment
    beat youth and book-learnin' every time" and "Thankfully, youth is a disease that is 100%

  7. Remember when you turned 20? Probably you thought "I'm not a teenager anymore! I'm getting old!".

    I was born in 1972, and I'm just figuring out what I want to do with life. Which is why after a decade programming computers, and another studying art, I want to be a science teacher.

  8. Hah. As a fellow 1980 high school grad, all I can say is that it's shocking when you're a patient being treated by these young things.

  9. You know you're getting old when:

    the AARP sends you an invitation to join,

    you're invited to a free lunch and a chance to buy a magnetic mattress pad,

    and you get brochures from "cutting edge" researchers for anti-aging supplements.

    heh heh

  10. You people have got to be kidding! Graduated high school in 1980? Oh please! I graduated from college before that. Twice.

    If you think getting old is bad, you have to consider the alternative. I'm not ready to do that yet. Old? Not me!

  11. Oh, gimme a break.

    How'd you like to be a senior at a 4 year university and pushing being a "senior" as in the "discount breakfast" at Denny's? 8-o

    I have to sit in a room and listen to professors who are younger than me talk about history they never lived (but that I did).

    I'm sitting there while the whipper-snappers discuss applying for grad schools, and I'm picturing the shrinking brains of older people (like mine) and the way one's learning abilities drop off at middle age.... never mind the vision (waaaaaaaah!!!!)

    Actually, hanging around young people is mostly fun. I keep wanting to tell the girls to go home and put some clothes on, though. (Would you dress like that in front of your mother.? ...) My solution is to tell people that I'm old. I also give my real age any time I can slide it in... I'm 46.
    (self-centered and eccentric since 1959)

  12. Orac you look so young in your photo that I would have never suspected that you're nearly my age ; }

  13. Hi Orac
    Absolutely can relate.
    I graduated high school in 81 and currently work for the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario.
    We are now occasionally suspending kids for criminal offences who's date of birth is 1992!!
    I'm not sure what bothers me more... that 13 years olds are committing offences or that this makes me feel like such an antique!
    Love your stuff.


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