Monday, 24 March 2014
Imagining Being Old
It is easy to feel chagrined at falling into the online rabbit hole, wasting hours with cute kitty videos and whatnot. But it's not always fruitless.
Following one link to another, particularly when starting out with a list of search results, can lead to some interesting corners of the web - places the usual sources on aging ignore.
For example, take Drex - pronounced DEE-rex. What I can discern about him is this: he is young, he likes smooth jazz, he is a gamer who may be accomplished at it. And he's not afraid to appear less than cool to his contemporaries.
The reason I know these things is that for the past year or so, Drex occasionally records his personal thoughts on topics other than gaming while unrelated images from computer games play across the video screen.
Last December, Drex was thinking out loud about what getting old is like. He's eager for the experience and wisdom he believes come with age, he tells us, but he wishes he could have that now while he's young and energetic.
It's worth three minutes of your time. Take a listen.
Interesting question he's working on: How do you think you will be when you're old?
Philosophically, Drex is way ahead of where I was in my twenties (the age I'm guessing he is). Back then, I was so fearful of the idea of death, I'd convinced myself I was the one immortal on earth. That pretty well keeps one's old age from being an issue to ponder.
Through later years, my best role model probably has been my great aunt Edith. She worked until she chose to retire at age 70 and up until shortly before her death at age 89, we maintained a frequent snailmail and telephone relationship – with occasional visits - that covered everything from the banal to the practical to the intellectual challenging.
If I ever considered it (I don't recall if I did), I suppose I wanted to grow old in her image – curious, thoughtful, engaged, self-deprecatingly funny and in her person, elegant. Some of that I have managed; some not.
The commenters on Drex's YouTube page didn't deal with his question but you and I are old enough to compare our younger and elder selves. Are you anything like what you thought you would be in old age?
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Chlele Gummer: Daybreak