I do a lot of math in my head as I ride my bike to and from work. The other night, as the sun was setting, I set my mind to the task of figuring out when I would be twice as old as my niece. Today she turns twenty, and since I am already looking at forty in the rear view mirror, I had to edge forward in time to discover the point in the future when she will be just half my age.
It seems like she has always been so much younger than me, it never occurred to me that she might somehow start to close that gap. She acts as a filter between me and my own youth.
When we began to raid one another's music collection, I got the feeling that somehow things had changed. She is, after all, from another generation. Hers is the one that knows only Bushes and Clintons. Hers is the one that grew up after the Cold War. Her generation carries their record collection around with them. For her, Clint Eastwood is a director.
In many ways, I have more in common with her than my own son. We grew up in the same town, went to the same schools. She went to dozens of football games at the University of Colorado with my mother, just like I did. Someday she will, no doubt, wax on about the significance and simplicity of these experiences. Because that's what we do.
In six more years, I'll have to find another way to create the illusion of superiority. For now, I can hold on to the phrase, "I'm more than twice as old as you are," as if it made a difference.