As my 70th Birthday
approached I found myself having to come to terms with reality. Im
very good at fooling myself. Most people are.
I once fooled myself
into thinking I was a bodybuilder This was when I was younger. I went
to the gym with the big guys. I lifted weights and I used the machines
and so forth. The net effect was stronger arms and legs. The other effect
was that I went up a bra size, not in front, but from muscle development
in my back. I also gave myself a knee injury from which Im still
recovering, (Dont try to press more weight than you reasonably
can and expect your bent knees to hold. Ooops!)
My other self-delusion
was that I could do Martial Arts. I claim that I got my pink
belt. Not true. It was white, the lowest rank and I never got any higher.
I cant remember dance moves, Tae Kwon Do moves, Tai Chi, or anything.
I dont have a visual memory. I cant see pictures in my head.
This is a known condition called Aphantasia, a condition where
one does not possess a functioning minds eye and cannot voluntarily
visualize imagery (Wikipedia) If you cant see pictures in
your mind, then you dont have the necessary mind map needed to
do a chain of movements and youre sunk!
In computer war
games you need to map. There are vast terrains and missions to do all
over them. I was heavily dependent on the online Wiki database that
exists for my then-game, Guild Wars. For Missions, I depend on PUGs
(Player User Groups) which join briefly to do a Mission and then leave.
I carry my weight, Im a good fighter. I just cant map. I
have no functioning minds eye.
In reality, it doesnt
matter how much makeup I slather on, or whether I go to the hairdresser
or not. Im still seventy years plus. When I went to the hairdresser
last, we got to talking so she just kept fussing. When she was almost
done, she picked up the curling iron and, because I was a sigh Senior
Citizen she made little tight curls all over my head. My hair is getting
rather thin and is white. This was interesting, not my normal style
but there you go. Then, I went to a reception for volunteers at jazz.fm
and my friend, Danny Marks, hauled me up on stage where I did a rousing
version of The Midnight Special. I rocked the house. The spotlight on
those tight curls and sparse white hair made me look BALD in the resulting
photographs. Im still 70 and counting, so thats par for
Another thing that
does not improve with age is short-term memory. If I need to do a bunch
of things such as the list below:
o Buy a table.
o Send a Get-Well card over the Internet.
o Add items to grocery list.
o Tell Don I cant make it to the computer Beer Bash this time.
o Make egg salad for sandwiches.
I get stuck on buy
a table over the Internet to the detriment of all the other items
listed. Then, another item will pop up at random, so Ill do that
and worry vaguely that there is something else I need to do. Bit by
bit. most of the items surface, triggered by who knows what, until,
with luck, I get most done.
By the time Ive got to items 3 and 4 Ive forgotten item
5. It will surface later when I get hungry enough to remember I meant
to make egg salad sandwiches. You can only deal with this fragility
of short-term memory philosophically. Remember what you can and let
the rest go hang. Some charitable researchers say that this weakness
comes from having too much information in our heads. Too bad you cant
do head cleaning the way you can do house cleaning.
In my family, we
look about 10 or 15 years younger than we are, until one day the boom
descends, and we suddenly look older. People dont realize that
I am at my attained age of 70 plus. Its about time, however, that
I started realizing it. Ive started looking at older faces with
a more discerning eye, looking for the beauty that is there, if you
look for it. We are so predicated in this society on youth, on idolizing
youth, but one day thats all gone and it aint comin
back. I had to revise my self-image, which was permanently set at about
age 45. That was a reset from many years when it was permanently set
as a 16-year-old boy! I was a tomboy when I was a kid. Took me a while
to grow out of that too.
So, I was permanently
set at age 45. Well, Im not 45 It was hard to give that up. I
had a bout of depression and then I decided Theres not a
darn thing I can do about it. I had to accept something that I
could not change and that wasnt easy. It was a real reality check.
Here I am and, apparently,
Im going strong. Things that used to interest me no longer interest
me as much. Im not as competitive. I take up some new things.
Im still growing plants and reading and knitting and sewing a
bit. I go out every 6 weeks to my computer guys beer bash with
other old geeks and demi-geeks like me. We sit around and talk about
whats wrong with Microsoft. Why we may or may not like Linux and
so forth. I have a few other social outings too. Its a good life.
Im very lucky to be alive and reasonably well, even if Im
Im 86 as I edit this entry, slower and I tire easily but Im
still writing and podcasting a bit and taking online courses. Im
still war gaming. This time its World of Warcraft which I play
online with my sister in British Columbia. I only go out on Zoom where
I facilitate a short story book club and a Coffee, Tea, and Chat group
on Wednesdays for Sunshine Centre for Seniors. Im still reading
as well as writing a bit of Science Fiction. Aside from arthritis and
well-controlled Diabetes 2, I am healthy. Stay tuned. I may update this
in 10 years :-)
© Sonia Brock 2007