I notice age more during discussions about pop culture and anniversaries of historical events. The former might not register with me at all, while the latter fills me with nostalgia. I also try to learn something new every day because IMO old age comes when people are no longer interested in the world around them. Among my family members, that tends to hit in the mid-to-late 80s. Still, my drive never came from external pressure. I’ve always been naturally curious.
Sometimes, that precociousness caused problems. I’m slightly younger than Star Trek, and grew up watching TAS. Once I moved on from whatever reading was supposed to be for kids my age, I started on my older brothers’ books (lots of sci-fi mags, anthologies, and comics), and then my mother’s collection. Since she was a librarian, I got into a lot of works by Asimov, Clarke, Cherryh, Herbert, Heinlein, Butler, and Pournelle. We were all into classic movies and thrillers, so Ludlum, le Carré, Archer , as well as Koontz were also faves. Never really got into King, and one Clive Barker story (“The Body Politic”) has haunted me from the time I read it, so…I chose sleep over going any further down that road.
Now it amazes me to consider how many younger years were spent seeing various themes of drama and trauma as entertainment or history lessons. On the plus side, they included some survival and crisis management skills. Now I’m focusing more on sharing life lessons with my Millennial nephew and his peers.
What’s also interesting are various types of invisibility that come with aging. That’s been noted by women in general, and women of color in particular. Although mobility gets more challenging sometimes, I keep the possibility of imitating agent Trinity in mind as motivation to stay flexible and continue with physical therapy. No, not thatTrinity - the other one.
For me, those years went by in a blur of working and making career moves. Now I’m all about this:
My childhood home outside of TO had one too. In its retirement years it was our mailbox. And also a great way to see who was driving in, by hiking yourself up and shoving your upper body out to look. While being yelled at by your mother.
And thus confirmed what I long suspected: two glasses of wine, or a liter of beer, make me sweat when I sleep. Damn my aging body!
Which makes me all the more pensive, since our generation will be the oldest one to see the end of the glaciers, if we’re lucky. If we’re not, then it will be even sooner and even the Boomers will also see it.
Heck, in 1985 you could still get cars in Austria that needed leaded gasoline. They weren’t part of the European Union then (which also didn’t exist, only the European Community).
You do remind me of the good the EU does, by the way. Little things like the Schengen Agreement, so that I don’t notice crossing from Germany into Austria, or when I crossed the Brenner by foot into Italian territory.
I ended up quitting again in Brennero/Brenner, due to bad weather, ugly industrial town feeling, the omnipresent highway noise, and, well, missing my old terrier. Getting older means not giving a fuck any more about goals, sometimes, and remembering why the fuck you’re doing it in the first place.
I love McCaffrey’s worldbuilding. Epic tales that made me need a map and a chart to follow a story always had me hooked. When considering SFF works, fans had to rely so much on their imagination back then. Film adaptations (if any) came many decades after publication, so those classics gained new fans. Meanwhile, some of us who enjoyed the novels first became very concerned about the casting, plot changes, etc… Thanks to technology, that timeframe is much shorter, considering The Peripheral, The Power, and The Wheel of Time adaptations on Amazon.
I still get a kick out of watching flicks featuring Ray Harryhausen’s animation, though. The same with classic Godzilla movies and Ultraman episodes with villains in monster suits. Considering how far special effects have come sometimes makes me feel old…
I’ve been going through my old books, too. Books I remember buying new, but now the pages have all gone yellow like some Edgar Rice pulp novel when I was a kid. Were paperbacks printed on particularly acidic paper back then?
The words printed on them haven’t necessarily aged very well either. The Chronicles of Amber, for example. I don’t remember it being so sexist when I first read it. It’s been more than 50 years since the first one came out.
Biggest thing I noticed, which I missed entirely when I was young, was the way she evolved over the course of the series. The initial books, especially the first 2, had some pretty cringey male-female interactions, shaking and slapping hysterical women to get them back to sensibility. But as it went on, the strong female characters came to the fore, the intentionally very diverse cast, the way gay relationships are absolutely integral to the functioning of the weyrs, it felt much more of a modern sensibility starting with the Harper books and on. You can just feel her social conscience awaken and evolve. It’s kind of reassuring that there is hope.