Accepting Age

Accepting Age
Image provided by Angela Sevin
https://www.flickr.com/photos/angela7/

According to AARP, I’ve been a senior citizen for eleven years. If you look at my family tree, however, you’d probably consider giving me nine more years or more before attaching “old” or “elderly” to my list of traits.

Age is subjective. You need something to compare your discovery with in order the determine the evolution of it, whether it be alive and inanimate. Albeit, society has its norms on this subject so I must concede that I am of an older age. Note that I state “an older age”, instead of “old”. Considering the fact that people as a group live longer than they used to, my sixty-one years of existence may be considered middle-age — unless you go by the British definition of the term. (That brings other topics to mind, but I want to research before putting my thoughts out here on the internet.)

When I turned fifty (the youngest age of AARP members) I was still thinking about all the things I wanted to accomplish and was still making intentional plans to get that stuff done. I was coloring my hair a soft hazelnut brown and wearing makeup every single day, just as I had in my twenties. Undeterred by the fact that I hadn’t been able to find employment for over five years and was lacking self-confidence about the issue, I felt there must be someone out there who would hire me. I knew my problem wasn’t my age. I had another problem that had haunted me since I was eighteen, my disability. At midlife, I thought the physical challenge was still the one and only hurdle. The thought of being unemployable at the age of fifty still hits me as being ridiculous.

Moving from Michigan’s small town to Tennessee’s small town when I was fifty-four didn’t sway me into thinking I couldn’t get a job. There are a few cultural differences between the two states so I adjusted my expectations a little to allow for the fact that I’d be an outsider for a longer period of time. (Mind you, I’m not finding fault with this difference. It’s just a distinction between the areas of the country.) I, still, couldn’t perceive myself to be older. My opinion was this: age was a chronological way of keeping track, and nothing more. As the months rolled by, my hopes of having a job dwindled to the point where I knew it wasn’t going to happen no matter what I did. I became the proverbial housewife, washing, cleaning, cooking, reading, and watching a couple of daytime programs on TV.  Tedious doesn’t even come close to how I felt about my days.

Three years ago I stopped coloring my hair and only put makeup on when going someplace in an attempt to get use to the fact that I was getting older, that the time of grandioso dreams turning into reality were gone. At first, I thought I was getting the hang of becoming a person of advancing age. Only I wasn’t, not really. I was going through a transition of sorts. Imperceivable changes in my mental and emotional assessments of all sorts of things in life were shifting. Many of the things I thought to be so important have switched to the other side of the pendulum, and of course, other aspects of life have swung the other way.

Subjects of the world at large don’t have the same urgency in my life now. I’m more likely to get caught up is the small insistence that can send my mind on journeys of abstraction. This isn’t to assert that world issues aren’t important, but I realize, now, my capabilities as an individual aren’t going to put a scratch on any of these concerns. This, by no chance, means I’ve hidden myself away, although many of my activities now are singular in nature. I’m, still, highly opinionated, but have learned to keeps these reactions under restraint. The impression I let loose, I try my best to do with prudence.

There are many things I don’t like about myself, but ninety percent are things I can’t do anything about. I’ve come to a place in my life where I believe I’m being sensible about what I should take the time to examine and maybe change in me and what to leave alone and accept.

§

Is this a wisdom seeping into me or have I become disillusioned?

 

What are your views on the subject of age?

He that has seen both sides of fifty has lived to little purpose if he has no other views of the world than he had when he was much younger. – William Cowper

 

Theme? Plot?

Theme? Plot?
Image provided by
Jonathan Reyes
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/jpaxonreyes/

About fifteen years ago, I took a mail-order course from Writer’s Digest. I wanted to write short stories for magazines but was unsure of my abilities. There wasn’t any place in the text books, letters, or worksheets where the words theme or plot were mentioned. I know, kind of weird coming from Writer’s Digest.

The first time I saw the word theme being associated the process of writing, other than a composition for school, was right here on the Internet. Several of the blogs I’m subscribed to are mostly about writing and, of course, are owned and written by authors who are much farther along in this craft/art than I am.

When I first started reading the posts on this subject, I got confused. It seemed that writer are having as much trouble defining it as I am. According the Dictionary.Com, there’s seven different meanings for the noun form alone. The three most relevant ones are:

  1. a subject of discourse, discussion, meditation, or composition; topic:

The need for world peace was the theme of the meeting.

  1. a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc., as in a work of art.
  2. a short, informal essay, especially a school composition.

The last one, of course, is the least compatible for what I’m discussing in this post but I wanted to include it so that you could see how grade-school kids would be likely to apply it.

The first two definitions look like one to me. Am I missing something here?

In my estimation, either of the first two definitions pretty much says it all. Yet, while browsing through blogs, I read all sort of elaborations. To tell the truth, they’re kind of perplexing. I’ve never thought of a theme as being complex, even when apply the term to a full-blown story. The question I ask to get to the theme is: What is the bigger picture this piece is conveying?

The term plot, although discussed at many blogs, isn’t actually defined by any of those authors. It doesn’t need to be. At least that’s what I’ve been think until I looked the word up.

  1. Also called storyline. the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story.
  2. a list, timetable, or scheme dealing with any of the various arrangements for the production of a play, motion picture, etc.

The original count of meanings was seven. Yes, five didn’t apply, although the last one could have been taken a different way so it would have been relevant to writing. What I found odd was the two I coped seem to be the same really. Authors aren’t trying to confuse those of us who are newbies. Why is the dictionary doing it?

I don’t think the components needed to write a novel have to be portrayed as being complex. Leave that for the story itself. The work should not be in trying to understand the terms of the craft. The work, as much as most of us love it and don’t consider it work, is being creative and writing it in such a way so readers don’t want to put the book down until they reach the end. Adding abstruse jargon to the mix is ludicrous.

Am I trying to simplify things too much?

 

Mucking Up the Works

Mucking Up the Works
This image is a conglomeration of three different photos.
firefox_community @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/firefox_community/
Akuo Yeh @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/akuoyeh/
JASElabs @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/jaselabs/

As is with most of us, I get fascinated by the all the different trappings computers have these days. The technology is supposed to make our lives easier, right? I admit that in several ways it does. However, many of the additives I’m coming across are pretty much worthless. And not every app or extension is compatible with other applications and programs installed on my computer.

This last week I got fed up with Mozilla’s Firefox. The thing kept freezing and crashing. Supposedly, it was all because of the program, Shockwave by Adobe. I don’t know if this is true or not. All I know is that my Firefox browser was freezing and crashing at least once a day. I do 99% of my research for my book online. Having this problem reoccurring time after time is infuriating. I’ll be on a map page studying where businesses are in a town when in a split second, the entire window with the browser freezes. I tried all sort of weird maneuvers trying to get to get some action on the screen. Even the mouse will freeze. Often, I’ve had the shut down the computer and start it up again.

I let this bedevilment go on for a few days. When the browser would crash, a box would pop up from Mozilla apologizing and asking for feedback. Dutifully and with a little exuberance, I would put my two cents in and send it on it’s way. After four days though, I decided Mozilla had screwed around so much with their product they had made it a complete disaster. Time to switch to one of the other browsers.

I had tried Chrome before, but I found it was impossible to know which apps and extensions to add that were right for my use of the Internet. Nevertheless, on Saturday I downloaded and installed the program hoping I was smarter this time, or Google had made it simpler. The darn thing was slower than mud if I used more than one tab. In addition, the apps and extensions are more ludicrous than they were before. For example: you can download an app or extension for email, download another one for a calendar, and download still another one for an address book that has more than the email address. Yet, try to find an app or extension that will do all three (other than Gmail), you probably won’t find one, or if you do, it’s taken you half of your day. Apparently I’m not smarter and Google is still full of thoughts about owning all of technology and trying to dupe everyone. Time to find another browser.

Seeing that I have Windows, Internet Explorer is already installed. I clicked on the icon and began using multiple tabs to test it. The one drawback is I have to apply my bookmarks manually to this browser. It doesn’t play well with others, I guess. I’ve had four tabs going at the same time with the performance of the browser still staying fast and clear. Once in a great while, the browser would hide for just a second while it was loading a page into another tab. But I didn’t have any freezing, actual slowness, or any crashes. I found my browser. 😀

All this hullabaloo got me thinking. Maybe you need to pick your browser by the operating system in your computer. What should a person using Linux have for a browser? Should Mac users be using Chrome for best performance? What operating system should use Firefox?

For years, IE had a bad reputation. Those were the days when you just had to have an antivirus program that you paid for if you wanted to stick with this browser. Chrome wasn’t developed yet, so many people were using Mozilla’s Firefox or Opera. Firefox was popular back then because hackers either couldn’t figure out how to put in a virus through it or, at least, it was difficult. Most of us got along find with a free antivirus program if we used Firefox. Now, antivirus programs are free for casual/home use no matter what the company is. Paid security is still recommended for commercial use though.

IE has changed, of course, so I’m learning what is new with it. Still, I’m glad I’ve gone back to something made for my operating system. 😛

 

#SoCS – 'Indeed'

I recently subscribed to the blog of Linda G. Hill. She has an ongoing activity at her blog called Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS), in which she gives a prompt on Friday and her readers who participate, write a post for that next day using the prompt (in accordance with the rules, of course). The once per week challenges like this are intriguing to me so here I am with my take on Linda’s prompt for this week.

#SoCS - 'Indeed'
Image provided by
hyena-in-petticoats @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/paperstringcloth/

Prompt: the word, ‘indeed’

I looked up the word at Dictionary.Com. The U.S. definitions didn’t explain as fully as the U.K. one. At first, I thought it was peculiar because so many words have the same definitions. After all, the official language of both countries are the same. It’s usually just the spelling that will be different, and then, only slightly.

British Dictionary definitions for indeed

indeed

/ɪnˈdiːd/

sentence connector

1. certainly; actually: indeed, it may never happen

adverb

2. (intensifier): that is indeed amazing

3. or rather; what is more: a comfortable, indeed extremely wealthy family

interjection

4. an expression of doubt, surprise, etc

The U.S. definitions didn’t have the first one, which, in my opinion, is the one most used. I think of the word as small jab to get someone’s full attention.

I envision an English country gentleman saying something like, “Indeed, this is a predicament, isn’t it.” It isn’t really an intensifier for that sentence or an addition. Nor does it show any surprise or doubt. It’s clearly is the first one, a connector within a conversation.

I’m a born American, but I often wonder if I should be living somewhere else. My speech and my written words seem to be more in line with England, or maybe not so far away, Canada. My mannerisms invoke questions about where I’m from. When I tell them the state I was born in, their eyebrows raise.

This word isn’t used often in the U.S., yet I do like it immensely.

 

 

Cut Your Losses

Cut Your Losses
Image provided by
Tim Samoff @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/timsamoff/

With businesses starting up and then ending before five years have gone by, the saying, “cut your losses” has become popular. Is this a sign of the times in our culture? Or is it a sign that my perception of life is a little screwy? Has society been this way for some time and I, just now, have started to pay attention? Or could it be that I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill?

(Yes, I am having a love affair with clichés. It’s just old age creeping in on me.)

It isn’t just in the business world that I see this inclination in attitude. I heard this phrase from the mouths of family and friends when talking about almost anything in life.

A person bakes a cake to take to a child’s party. Even though the person has followed the directions and has kept the home quiet, the cake falls during the baking process. I can remember a time when a person in these circumstances would have said a few choice words under her or his breath and would have made another cake. The person does this because s/he is fond of the child and doesn’t want that child to be disappointed.

In today’s world, the best you could expect is that the person would go buy a cake if the one s/he make had fallen. However, chances are the fallen cake would be the one seen at the party with the person saying, “I had to cut my losses. The kid is just going to have to understand.”

I’ve heard this saying in situations with personal relationships as well. A couple may have been dating for a few months and feel that they’re getting serious about each other. They start making plans of commitment, either living together or even getting married. As it often is when commitments come into the picture, there’s a tension being felt by one or both in the relationship. And what follows? More than likely, a fight of some sort occurs.

It used to be that when there was a fight (escalated disagreement), the couple would try to smooth things out, come to a compromise or one would lean toward the other’s way of thinking. And it could take a while for all of this to happen. Because the couple wants the commitment, they’d work to resolve the issue.

In today’s world, I’m seeing something quite different. Once that fight happens, the relationship falls apart. Both parties want the other one to give in. Or one of them feels that the relationship wasn’t meant to be. If there is any attempt to reconcile, it doesn’t seem to be done with much effort. Instead, I’m hearing one or both saying, “I’m cutting my losses and moving on.”

Have you heard the term, “throw away society”? This pertains to how we throw things away not even bothering to try to fix them. Your computer starts acting up. You may call a local computer repair person or someone you think may able to help you. But before you hang up or just after you hang up, you decide that it isn’t worth the hassle and go to Wal-Mart, Staples or somewhere else to buy a brand new computer. And chances are what was wrong with the “old” one was one virus that you may have been able to get rid of through help on the Internet for free.

Okay, what is my point?

I think most of us give up too soon on anything and everything in life. We’re expecting to breeze through life with not very many curves or potholes in the road, let alone the flat tires and bad transmissions. To me, this really doesn’t seem to be living life to the fullest. It seems more like we want to watch it from the best seats in the theater. Yet, having the fullest life possible is exactly what we’re expecting to have. We seem to be wanting it both ways, which, of course, can’t be done.

What do you think? Is my perception peculiar or have we become a society of quitters, lazy do-nothings?

This post was created using a writing prompt from The Journal. If you’re interested in writing prompts, you may find this site helpful.