Feeling My Age

Lately, I’ve been feeling old. Not sore or sick or extra tired. I’m in good health. It’s just a feeling like I’ve lost some ground against time that I’m never going to get back.

During the summer, while playing airsoft with Michael and Chris, I tripped and scraped up my knee something fierce. It hurt for a couple of days, a scabbed over shallow scratch that looked angry and upset. It remained discolored until just a few days ago. I don’t seem to heal as fast as I used to which again, makes me feel old.

Also, after getting back from the cruise, I decided to grow my beard out again. It grew as quickly as ever, but there’s quite a bit of white in it. When I look in a mirror, a middle-aged man looks back.

It doesn’t seem like we should be entering the end of 2021. Heck, it doesn’t seem like we should be that far off for 2010. It’s not just the pandemic that’s messed with my perception of time.

When we’re young, it’s easy to talk in pop culture references, because pop culture targets the youth. These are like inside jokes with society itself. I guess they’re just memes, but it’s funny how often pop culture references come up in regular conversation, and how old you can feel when you accidentally say something that would have been hilarious 10 or 15 years, but now just make people tilt their head, wondering what you’re talking about. Memes almost always age like milk.

Earlier this week, I was taking apart my gaming computer to upgrade the fans. Putting it back together, I needed to plug in a cable on the motherboard which was in a really difficult position, beneath one of the radiator fans. Chris saw me struggling and said, “Do you want me to do it?”

Friends, I have never needed someone to help me with manual dexterity. I’ve been plugging in difficult cables since I was 6 years old. Chris didn’t mean to make me feel old or feeble, but I couldn’t escape the feeling. If I can’t put my computer back together after I take it apart, that’s going to close off one of my joys in life.

I stepped out of the way and let him try. Fortunately for me, he struggled as much as I did. In the end, I wound up removing the fan and doing it myself. But that feeling of being unable to pursue my hobbies because of age has stuck with me.

In Synthetic Dreams, one of the core concepts of the story is the main character dealing with their fear of dying. I’m not sure that’s what I’m afraid of as much as I’m afraid of becoming incapable of doing the things I enjoy, or losing some aspects my intellect and noticing it. I often define myself by what I do, or even what I’m capable of doing. How will I define myself when those old definitions are no longer true?

It makes me think of my parents. My Dad as 19 years older than my Mom, but he often seemed younger than her. My kids never got to meet my Dad, and when they knew my Mom, they knew her as the old Grandma. I want to age like my Dad, but I suspect I’m going to wind up more like my Mom.

I’m not sure what to do about any of that. Diet and exercise and hope it’s not too late to get in better shape? Maybe. Just not worry about it? It’d be easier for me to sprout wings and fly.

Today, I didn’t attend SiWC like I thought I would. I did not feel up to it. I’m waiting for a package which should have been here Wednesday, but was delayed to today, and now FedEx isn’t giving me a date at all. Between that and a couple of other things going on in my head, I haven’t felt like writing or socializing at all. I feel old and grouchy and I don’t feel like I have the energy to pretend I’m neither of those things.

Tomorrow should be better.