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  • Robert Farago

Getting Older's Not for Pussies Pt. 2

Time wounds all heels

Getting Older is Not For Pussies failed to convey the full extent of the physical challenges manifesting in the latter part of the aging process. Body parts wearing out, going wrong, failing. Robert Palmer’s Man Smart, Women Smarter captures the psychological impact…

A little boy sat down and cried An old man passing asked him why He said I can't do what the big boys do Old man sat down and he cried, too

My parents spent much of their last years doing what they called “doctoring.” Along the way, Dad gained a pacemaker. Mother received a heart stent. And that was the easy stuff. Before my mother passed, she had regular injections straight into her eyeball.

Oy vey.

You’re probably thinking I’m going to present wisdom as the upside to getting older. Maybe. That depends on how you deal with the radical change in time perception.

When you’re young, time passes slowly. Waiting (yes waiting) for your birthday or, less wonderfully, your SAT tests, is like watching a sailboat race.

Sure, time flies when you’re having fun. But the gaps between fun bits is often the dictionary definition of interminable.

When you reach adulthood, time perception accelerates. You don’t notice it so much because a) you’re busy b) you spend a goodly part of your time stoned or high and c) you’re getting shit done.

Hopefully you’re OK with me using the word “you.” And hopefully you’re ready for the jump.

When you hit your 50’s and 60’s, you’re the Millennium Falcon, engine coughing and sputtering, until WHAM! Time goes faster than your ability to understand it, never mind control it.

I have a rectangular container for my daily drugs and vitamins. Seven slots. It’s empty in approximately five minutes.

Hang on. Where the fuck did my week go? No c’mon. Seriously. What the hell did I do this week?

There’s a significant productivity downside to this warp speed life. If you procrastinate about anything, weeks and months go by in the blink of an eye without that thing getting done. The mañana void sucks you in like a black hole.

The upside to the femtosecond lifestyle: patience.

Well, that’s the word young people use for being able to wait. But it’s not patience per se. It’s the realization that time is going by so fucking fast you’re not aware of the time between events.

And you know you won’t be aware. So you put your hands in the air because you just don’t care. Examples…

When I moved to Austin ten years ago – huh? – the heat was frightening. When will this agony end?

The current heat wave has been here… a while. It’s supposed to last… a while. No worries. It will be gone before I know it. Literally.

This is my 110th post on Substack? GTFO. All I did was write one yesterday. And the day before. And the day before. And, I guess, 107 times before that.

And now another downside to getting older: memory loss. When did I last wash my sheets? A week? Did I shower today? Wait. The dishwasher’s full? I bought that corn four days ago?

The combination of time compression and memory loss is insane. I have no fucking clue about a great many things going on in my life. As far as I know.

Another example: I order something that’s promised for delivery in, say, four weeks. Four weeks go by. I forget I ordered it. BA-BAM! There it is. There what is? Oh yeah. That.

You might see cognitive delay/deletion a surprise and delight event. It usually is. But you also lose the ability to prepare for things.

A friend of mine is flying into Austin Thursday. The last thing I knew I had a month to figure out what we were going to do. My god, he’s here tomorrow?! Yes, question mark and exclamation mark.

OK, so, the getting wisdom as you get older bit…

With time going so fast, time contraction makes it damn near impossible to hold onto all the fucks you used to carry around. All those goals I used to have? That bucket list? Those fucks are gone. I’m not at zero, but I’m close.

In their place? Writing this post. And now Crash is barking. Time to take him for a walk. And now I’m back. Where was I? More to the point, when was I?

That mindfulness that you young people try and pursue is no longer a choice. It’s how I live my life at my age (64). Either that or I’ll get depressed at time gone and time slipping away. And get nothing done.

I could end this post by trotting out “youth is wasted on the young” and tell you whippersnappers to slow the fuck down and savor every minute of your life while time is on your side. Fuck that shit.

Go for it! Live life as if you’ll live forever. If you do, when you realize that you’re racing down the slippery slope to oblivion, you’ll arrive at that point in time as someone who’s got cool stories to tell. If anyone’s got the time to listen. OK then, remember. If you can.

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