EDITORIAL NOTE: Since sometime in 2003 when I first began thinking about creating this blog, I have kept a notebook, a journals if you will or maybe it is what used to be called a commonplace book - now a collection of many.
These are where I make notes and lists, write down thoughts and notions and questions, paste clippings, copy quotations and ruminate on ageing in general, for myself and for possible blog posts.
It is a way of not losing what often are no more than little wisps of ideas to think about later. Eventually, you get to read some of this stuff but there is much, much more that never gets beyond my initial jottings.
For several months I've been thinking that some of this material might be worthy of your consideration but sometimes ideas don't become real until they have a name.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, “Mental Doodles” popped into my mind. I like it. And so, now and then I'll write a Mental Doodles column wherein I drop two or three scribbles from my commonplace book on you and you can make of them what you will.
Here goes. See what you think.
UNRELIABLE MEMORY: Most old people complain about unreliable memories although it's generally not important stuff we forget, just misplaced keys or something similar. Irritating, for sure, but now I have identified an advantage.
I can rewatch television shows and movies and enjoy them as much as the first time because I can't remember whodunit. This happens most frequently with favorite TV shows such as (recently) The Good Wife and NCIS. Sometimes I don't notice until halfway through the show that I'm watching a repeat.
Just so you know, this is not the same thing as watching favorite old movies and knowing not only what happens next but exactly what the dialogue is - The Third Man in my case. That is a different kind of pleasure.
CROSSING “THE LINE”: You never know when it's going to happen to you and no one can put a date on it for you because we grow old in appearance (and other ways too) at different rates.
But the day arrives for each of us - unpredicted, unplanned but inevitably - when you step across an invisible line and from that moment forward, anyone can take away your adult privileges.
They will fire you from your job or not hire you. Because you are now old. They will assume you can't hear well just because your face is wrinkled and shout at you. They will say demeaning things to you like, “And how are we today, young lady?” Because you are old.
Politicians will regularly try to take away the benefits you have earned. Because you are old. And so much more you won't like. Because you stepped across that invisible line and now you are old.
THE MYSTERY OF OLD AGE: Being healthy. Only minor afflictions, mostly ignorable. What will go wrong? How bad will it be? Will I be able to handle it? What am I supposed to do to prepare?
Maybe nothing goes wrong and I just quietly die one day. Since there is no way to know, does that mean I'm wasting my time wondering about these things?