July 12, 2010

Playing above the grass

From an article in The New York Times, this resonates with me: "Thomas R. Cole, author of a cultural history of aging, said he hailed anyone who, borrowing a phrase from his mother, age 85, 'is playing above the grass.' ”

What better way to put it? The ultimate division in life stages in five words. Far less of a cliche than keeping your head above water. Biggest problem is for those of us who never thought we would, regardless of circumstances, live to see past our 30th, 35th, or 36 birthdays. It's 15 years on now, and I hadn't anticipated this longevity.

Neither had several of my friends (a commonality I never expected to be growing each time I mention it). Thing is, we all forgot to plan. Live past 35? Really? From the age of 17, I somehow conjectured that twice that age would be about as good as it would get.

It seems I gravely miscalculated. Post-chemo, the miscalculation is all the more vivid. What has proved to be dead-on, though, is that about the time I was turning 35, the world I had known was becoming more and more lost and the world as it has come to be has taken over. Hey, I was an English major.

Apart from being the first family on the block to have a microwave; play Pong with the TV set sporting a green-on-black display; own a VCR old enough to record the original not-ready-for-prime-time SNL gang; and possess a home fax machine -- the better to see each week's football spreads, technology and I have not been fast friends.

Sure, the first computer moved in in 1985 -- and I've been editing on computer almost since my work life began -- but, honestly, I preferred it back in the day when I didn't feel electronics had showed my brain the door. I like to be smarter than the machines with which I'm involved.

The longer I play above the grass, the less likely it seems I have any interest in keeping up with the latest widgetry. The user-friendly concept and I seem to have had a falling out. I want my computer to be like a car: when I was 16, I could drive one just fine, and for the most part, nothing has changed on the dashboard to change that.

That's more than 30 years in real time. Thirty years in computer land is another story. While I can still operate the original computer, which had the best word processing software I've ever encountered, all the latest twists and wrinkles leave me cold.

It's a brave new world out there, and somehow, I forgot to prepare for it.

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1 Comments:

Blogger the only daughter said...

idon't want a kindle and irefuse to acknowledge any and all of the idevices. well, except for the wee little ipod shuffle. ihave grown quite fond of that little gadget. but many of the rest? gaaah.

11:46 PM  

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