OLD...in a youthful world

I was prepared for being old because of reading about it a lot and 
knowing some old people. As I experienced all the traditional aging 
signs - teachers and policemen seemed younger, people said "sir" a lot - 
I noticed that inside I still felt young.

My faculties seem largely intact and the physical attributes changed so 
gradually that I even risked hitting fast balls in the batting cage at 
age 70. I have had some heart attacks that made my condition worse but 
after surgery it isn't too bad.

The conditions that go with becoming part of another disadvantaged group 
are mainly the same as with the young, disabled and women - people talk 
over you to your companion and usually talk slower and louder.

Although we all get (have?) to be young, only most of us are privileged 
to be old. Of course those who don't are dead or blank. I find it 
fascinating because I keep looking for the conventional effects of 
aging. Diminution of sensory acuities, lessened sexual compulsion, short 
term memory impairment, deteriorating physical functioning: significant 
as these may be, it is a lot like blindness - a more insidious problem 
is how one is mistreated, or at least misunderstood.

It's not as bad to hear a bit less well as it is to be patronized. I 
still wonder if it might not be more politically correct to say 
"matronized." It is easy for non-old people to lump together all persons 
over a certain age; more careful observers discover that the fact that 
somebody is more stooped doesn't necessarily mean they have also become 
more stupid. Just as there are no "instant trees" so one cannot have 
fifty years' experience by the age of 35.

Although I still find formal schooling oppressive as well as boring, I 
have continued to learn in my dotage. I am monolingual and have never 
been good at memorizing, but I regularly undertake acquiring new 
disciplines. In their early days, I purposefully avoided involvement 
with computing machines but when they became non-elitist I embraced 
them. I learned the Braille alphabet, but not the ability to read it by 
touch. These practices are part of "Brain Aerobics" and I hope this 
book's exercises will help the reader perform the rituals that might 
help make many-to-many communication universal.