“Coolth” means ‘the state or occasion of being cool; origin of coolth – cool + -th (as in warmth).’ Over the years the state of being cool has meant many things to many people. For me, it simply means being comfortable with who you are, no matter who you’re with or where you are. Having coolth means that you are comfortable in your own skin, that you owe no one an apology for being you. An old friend once told me that ‘sophisticated’ is a word that means being yourself with anyone. I say it’s ‘coolth.’
Then there is ‘age appropriate’ coolth. We have all felt the gut-churning pity/embarrassment when older folks attempt to rap, which is just sad. This is not to say that older folks, say, like me and the Crankee Yankee (my husband); don’t have fun and act silly–we do. Bear in mind, though–we older folks just can’t win with the younger folks. This is yet another reason to have inner coolth–you won’t care what they think. Example: in the early evening before we’ve pulled the shades down, if you drive by our house, you can see us sitting on the sofa together. I will probably be reading, and the Crankee Yankee will either be watching TV or updating his log books. I can imagine young folks walking by and seeing us, thinking, ‘wow–what a couple of old farts! It sucks to be old!’
However, if the same kids walked by when we are cleaning the house, they would be horrified to see me dancing to one of the music stations as I clean, and the Crankee Yankee “conducting” the music with a carpenter’s pencil. Then they would probably say, ‘Oh, puke–look at those old farts dancing! They must be crazy!! Call the nearest nursing home!’ So either way, we can’t win with the young.
But who says we have to? ‘Age-appropriate’ means being comfortable with yourself and acting accordingly. For the most part, I really do not give a rodent’s hindquarters what anyone thinks or says about me. Besides, I have a handy-dandy internal coolth meter that tells me fairly quickly when I’m making a horse’s patootie of myself.
For example, the last time the Crankee Yankee and I went to an end of summer fair, there was a talented young guy playing guitar and singing. He sang one of my favorite songs, Image Dragons’ “Radioactive.” As I stood there on the hill above the stage, singing along with him, it didn’t take me long to realize that I looked and sounded ridiculous. So I just shut up and clapped when he finished the song. Then I slunk off and bought myself a corn dog.
I feel coolth doing these things:
- DWC (Dancing While Cleaning)
- Playing with my granddaughter
- Making up silly songs for my granddaughter
- Calling any or all of our cats “pretty poodie-woodie cats”
- Baking anything
- Wearing (and making) lots of jewelry
- Telling jokes I know will crack the Crankee Yankee up
- Going out with my two best friends each month
- Going to bead shows with my mom
- Being completely at home in our local library
- Fully enjoying the spirit of Christmas each year
- Telling bad jokes (and then laughing at them)
- Wearing pretty damn fine age-appropriate makeup (FYI? After a certain age, leave the sparkles and glitter and neon lipstick to the kids)
- *Eating alone in a restaurant
- Singing along with the radio while driving (sure, other drivers notice, but so what?)
- Going for walks by myself
- Going to the movies by myself (means I also don’t have to share popcorn)
My feeling these days is this–try not to over-think the coolth factor. For one thing, most people are way too concerned with how they look, act, dress, speak and so on to notice you anyway. Be the you that you are, and let others think whatever they like about you.
Hey, it’s a free country, and thinking is free.
*This is an occasion of pure bliss for me. I realize that most waitstaff feel that the lone diner (especially when older and female) is not only pathetic, but usually a bad tipper. Well, they can think what they like. If any of them asked me if I feel “funny” about eating alone, I would invite them to sit down with me to listen to all that’s great/wonderful/fabulous about it and give them a 20% tip. The perks of eating alone? I don’t have to make conversation, I don’t have to wonder what the other people are having to eat–I can just concentrate on what *I* want to eat, I can read while eating and ignore everyone around me. Sheer Heaven! While we’re on the subject, I would prefer that the waitstaff not assume that my name is “Honey,” “Sweetheart,” or “Darlin’.” But if they must call me a cutsie name, I try not to take it personally–they mean well.