Guest Blogger Tamar Orvell: Happy 90th Birthday Rabbi Jack Cohen
Guest Blogger Ian Bertram: Preparing

Guest Blogger Bob Brady: It's About Time

While I am away in New York City for a couple of weeks, a fantastic group of elderbloggers and elderblog readers agreed to fill in for me. Today it is Bob Brady. A native New Yorker, he has lived in Japan since 1971, and on a mountainside above Lake Biwa since 1995. On his blog Pure Land Mountain, he writes about his experiences there and events in Japan, with occasional glimpses at the wider world.

At age 68, part of the fun is watching my mind to see how and what it's remembering, what it thinks is important at this stage of life. Often these days I find myself pausing in mid-thought - wondering, for example, what I had come upstairs or downstairs for. The answer is there in the vicinity of course - and will present itself - but immediate answers are less important than they used to be, now that there's time to enjoy thinking.

Younger, less experienced folk might call this trait forgetfulness, but it isn't that at all; it's simply the mature recognition of higher priorities. While going up or down the stairs I'm often thinking other, more important thoughts, on subjects far more interesting than a quotidian objective. By this time in life, my mind is increasingly conscious of what matters.

In contrast, back in my student days when data volume was everything and thought itself was a new experience to a hungry mind, I was in such a rush to fill my head with anything that had even a hint of worthiness that I'd remember stuff for no particular reason; reasons are nebulous creatures when you're young. No surprise that I wound up with so much junk data in the long-term inventory, all just tossed in there unallocated. So what's happening now is logical enough: my mind is defragging.

In addition to doing the usual daily tasks, my new consciousness is busy screening input, checking the old algorithms, filing, discarding and rearranging, streamlining the operating system. My mind no longer wastes time trying to remember things it didn't used to know were best forgotten. It has a fast recycling function now; comes with the mature upgrade. It's running smarter and more systematically, and it's about time.

The focus is on the actual reality right at hand these days, as opposed to the received reality and fantasized future of youthful yore. My mind has learned to appreciate the difference. Now that I am at last who I've been becoming all these years, and am organized enough to appreciate the local scenery, I'm closer to now than I've ever been. I'm realizing that my greater interests are deeper and of longer duration. Like gardening.

So as I say, I'm not being forgetful when I don't remember where my glasses are, or have at my tonguetip the name of that actor who was in that movie based on what was the title of that bestseller by that author whatsername - it'll come to me, no hurry, unless it wasn't that important, which is mostly the case. No, this elderhead isn't losing anything, it's just getting wiser about what it holds dear.

When you get out of beta, you appreciate the clarity.

EDITORIAL NOTE: While I am away, The Elder Storytelling Place is on hiatus. You can read past stories here. And if you are inclined, you could send in stories for publication when I return. All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.


What a marvellous reframe! Thank you Bob.

Exactly right!

I agree with the other comments. Thanks for a different perspective. I feel better already! Dee

You made my day Bob!
I know I'll remember to read this post again.

This is great...

That was a delightful analysis of the mature brain. Now I have a good excuse for not remembering stuff.

I like this!!!!! I*t makes perfect sense.

A great analogy! And funny, too. I can just feel my mind moving all those little squares around while it defrags (like the defrag used to show in Windows 98).

What a terrific piece of rationalization. I'm almost 10 years older than you, and so my mind is getting less cluttered all the time!

Out of Beta.....what a good way to look at it.

I agree completely but I suspect that you will concede that forgetting the number of your departure gate may not be unusual for those of us in the "over 65" division but it sure as hell is inconvenient. I try not to get upset about "little things" like this but missing the last flt out for the day/night and sleeping in the air port can be "a right pain in the arse" as my Brit cousins would say. Literally!


Good one. I make lists all the time, on large sheets of paper. Hardly go out of the house without a sheet in hand. Have to remember all the things I need to do, and which garden needs a shave & haircut. But I always made lists-no different now.

Ah yes, but I still remember the words to all those songs from the fifties.

What a great way to look at a very common occurance. You've made me feel so much better. Thanks!

Nice to see you here Bob. All the way from Japan. BTW How are the monkeys doing with their projects in your garden these days. Those guys sure don't forget anything. They don't need a reminderer or a post it note to eat up the fruits of your labor.

I guess their priorities are in order.

I so enjoy your blog and that of your brother's. Am delighted to read you here.

You do have a unique way of presenting your thoughts as you've done here that I especially like. Thank you!

The comments to this entry are closed.