I’m Not As Cool As I Used To Be

I have recently come to realize, that I’m just not as cool as I used to be.

Back in the day, I was always clued in to hip new restaurant openings, concerts and events happening in our area, new music, current slang, etc. Now that I am a Mom? Not so much.

I’ve worked on a college campus since I graduated from college myself, nearly 18 years ago. Which means, I’ve spent my entire professional career surrounded by 18-21 year olds. While you might think that would help to keep me “in the know”, it really hasn’t.

This became clear to me one day in a break room conversation with a student employee and a couple of colleagues who are in their late-20’s. The student had recently seen a presentation that featured a commercial from the 70’s with an inappropriate sexual innuendo. We chuckled a bit about the quip and how the presenter hadn’t really seemed to catch on, when one of them jokingly said, “yeah, kind of like how So and So thought ‘Netflix and Chill’ actually meant watch movies and chill”. Everybody laughed. Except me. 

Wait, what? I thought. 

“Ummm…so, I also thought ‘Netflix and Chill’ actually meant watch movies and chill.” I said. “If it isn’t what it sounds like, then what does it mean?” I asked.

They giggled. All three of them. And looked at me incredulously and laughed. One even turned a little red.

“For real?” one of my colleagues replied.

“Yeah, seriously.” I told her. “It’s in my Madison Moms Blog bio…WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!”

“Well…” she chuckled. “Think about it what it could mean.”

“Look it up on Urban Dictionary!” the other offered.

By that point, I knew it probably wasn’t something I wanted to showcase on my MMB bio, so I bolted to my office to look it up. A quick Google search told me all I needed to know.

(There doesn’t tend to be a whole lot of movie watching going on when you ‘Netflix and Chill’, if you catch my drift).

Needless to say, I updated my bio that afternoon.

About a month later, I went on a girl’s trip with some dear friends from Chicago. Like the old ladies we are, we were in our jammies by 9:00 p.m., playing board games in our hotel room, when someone queued up some music on their phone.

As they rocked out to some current hits I never heard before, I realized that I had stopped listening to current radio months ago when I activated a Sirius XM membership in my car. My go-to channels are Rock the Bells, Fly, 90’s on 9, 80’s on 8, 70’s on 7, Yacht Rock Radio, and Groove. So, pretty much all old school jams and tunes from decades past. Nothing current at all. In fact, I would be hard pressed to name any popular song playing on the radio these days.

This is kind of a big deal, because way back when, I wanted to be a DJ when I grew up. I majored in Radio, TV and Film in undergrad and planned to have my own radio show one day. I made a mean mix tape and curated a killer CD collection. Staying current on the latest hits was part of my “job”.

Yet, nowadays, chances are I don’t even know the words to a single Beyonce song released after “All the Single Ladies”. I thought Kendrick Lamar was some dude who married one of the Kardashians. And I had never heard of Cardi B until she showed up in a PEOPLE magazine I was reading that one time I got a pedicure this past summer and I was like who?

On those rare moments when we do have a date night out with no actual plans, I probably spend a full week trying to figure out where to go and what to do. I Google “new restaurants Madison” and “date night Madison” to learn what the trendy new hot spots are that we should try, when just five years ago, people often looked to me for those recommendations, because I somehow always knew.

So, while some days my hair is most definitely on fleek, and my hubs will always be my bae, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my 40-year-old self is just not as hip as my 20-year-old self was.

And that’s okay.

Because I am way more secure in my sense of self then she ever was. I don’t care so much about what other people think of me. I have learned what I like and what I don’t. And what I care to spend my time on, and who with. And on which things and with whom I don’t.

I also gave birth to an amazing little boy. And I’m working hard to keep him safe and healthy and help him grow. I am teaching him how to be humble and kind, in hopes that he turns out to be a decent human being down the road.

And he just so happens to think I’m the coolest chick on the face of the planet.

And that right there, is about as cool as it gets.

Alicia was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin and moved to Madison in 1996 to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received her degree in Communication Arts with an emphasis in radio, television and film. She’s been working on campus in some capacity ever since and currently manages career and leadership development initiatives in the School of Human Ecology. Alicia married her husband Eric in 2012 and became a mom to her sweet and funny son Ellis in 2015. When she’s not playing with or reading to Ellis, she likes to read, watch TV, and might be caught playing bingo at the VFW. She also runs her own lifestyle blog (madtownmomma.com) and catches for her softball team through Madison Schools & Community Recreation every summer.


  1. I absolutely find it absurd, and ridiculous that “kids” (b/c that’s what they still are) can talk about “Netflix and Chill” or can participate in “Netflix and Chill” behavior, but when they’re asked about what it REALLY means they can’t bring themselves to say the words: “have sex”, or “have casual sex”, or whatever else it can be taken to mean. I believe that if you can’t say those words, than you should not be participating in those kinds of activities (b/c Lord knows that you are too irresponsible to deal with the consequences of those actions, should consequences arise).


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