No statistics today or links or research or quotations from experts. Just a couple of observations I'm wondering about, mostly just for fun or, perhaps, some enlightenment among us.
A MYSTERY OF SLOW
One of the things I have done all these years to inform this blog is monitor the ways I am changing as the years pile up. It's not as dumb an idea as you might think as the one lesson I know for sure is that if it – whatever “it” is at a given time - is happening to me, it is happening to thousands and, probably, millions of other people.
A limitation to that monitoring turned up after my cancer surgery 14 months ago: I sometimes can't work out now if a change is the result of that big-time interruption to my life or just a normal part of getting older.
For example, the crepe-y skin that has appeared almost overnight just about everywhere on my body – even my knees – turned up during my recovery. It is due to expected loss of muscle mass, so I put that in the cancer box.
The reason for a new slowness, however, is up for debate.
It's not, as far as I can tell, that I walk more slowly or even need to rest part way through an activity – I've pretty much recovered my energy. It's that I seem to so easily stray from the business at hand. The internal monologue goes something like this:
[RONNI – VACUUMING]
Oh, look here. I've been searching for that book all week.
She sits down on a stool and flips through the book for 10 or 15 minutes)
That's not a one-off. Such distractions happen while making dinner, too, or halfway through sorting laundry or (more internal monologue)
[RONNI – WRITING A BLOG POST AT HER COMPUTER]
Did I remember to pay the cable/internet bill? I'd better check.
Sees headline about Woodward book and clicks link to read about it. When finished, she clicks the next headline about the Senate Kavanaugh hearings. One hour later:
[RONNI – STILL AT COMPUTER]
Okay now, what was I doing before those news stories?
Even with that thought of getting back to the original task, it is not unlikely I'll recall that I didn't take out the trash earlier so I do that or telephone a friend or do something else until I take myself in hand and concentrate again.
This stuff can happen off and on all day. It seems to take forever now to get through my daily to-do list. It's not that it's longer than in the past. In fact, it's often shorter due to some adjustments I've made to what's important and what isn't.
Nevertheless, I rarely, these days, am able to check off all the items and it is due mostly to following distractions wherever they lead me instead to finishing what I've started.
That might be a result of a lot of anesthesia over the past year affecting concentration or, it could be reduced executive function in my brain - not uncommon as we get older.
Is this familiar to any of you?
HOW DO YOU DREAM OF YOURSELF?
It is well known, of course, that everyone dreams but you wouldn't know it by me. Even when I occasionally wake with the wisp of dream in my head, it is trailing off by then and gone before I can grasp it.
So it was a surprise, a few days ago, when I woke with a picture, a short video really, in my head of me getting off a motorcycle and leaning it against a red-brick wall.
While doing that, I noticed a man about 10 or 15 feet away, leaning against the same wall. He had clearly been watching me ride up and smiled in an appreciative manner.
I couldn't miss that he was gorgeous and maybe about 10 years younger than I, not so much that it would necessarily be an impediment to – whatever.
Nevertheless, I went on my way in the opposite direction, immediately had a thought that I shouldn't pass up saying hello to someone as attractive as he was and turned to walk back toward him.
Then I woke up. (What a shame.)
It should be noted that I've never ridden a motorcycle, except once as a passenger, and my response to the man in the dream, reversing my direction, as mild as it seems to me now, was more brazen than I recall being in my dating years.
I'm not interested in interpreting the dream – I don't believe in that. Here is what has been on my mind about it since that morning:
I was the age I am in waking life, 77. I was aware of that in the dream, it was a feature of the dream, and in a passing moment, I was pleased at the grace I could feel in my movements as I got off the bike.
Because I rarely remember dreams, I don't have a history of what I have felt about myself in dreams. Age or capabilities have not been features. I just was. More, perhaps, that I was my internal self, I think, rather than being a certain age or recognizing any particular physical sensations either of youth or old age.
What I am wondering is how you experience yourself in dreams. Are you ever older or younger or different in some ways from what you are when awake? Has that changed as you've gotten older?