It Isn’t Just the Body

Getting older | Riza Kazemi | Flickr
Getting Older – Reza Kazemi – Flicker – Creative Commons

I had a bit of a scare the other morning. It turned out to be nothing but it made me think once again about my age.

These days the news seems to be full of those my age or a bit older – especially the icons of my youth – who have died. Those kinds of stories have always been news, but my younger self only clucked over them in an abstracted way because they were not my contemporaries. The older me finds them disturbing in a “you’re moving up in the queue” kind of way.

As I move up in the queue, I no longer have the luxury of eating what I like and being cavalier about the amount of rest and exercise I get. More than that, I now find myself considering new conditions of my body, evaluating new pains to determine whether they are transitory or some harbinger of an oncoming health concern. I’m fortunate that the ailments I have are manageable using current medicine. But not all ailments are that amenable and the longer I’m alive, the more the odds tip in their favour.

Stories about how younger people are refusing their elders’ treasured antiques made me blink. I had not considered this at all and I’m left wondering what will happen to the things I have collected over the years. I don’t even have to consider whether my children or grandchildren will want them or not because I have no descendants. Everything I own will have to someday be sold, given away, or consigned to the trash.

I have already given or thrown away a great deal out of the understanding that no one but me or my late husband could find anything in them. I have tried to keep only what still matters to me; what I find beautiful and uplifting or what – like my dog Rufus’s leash or my dog Buffett’s collar or the pictures of people long gone from my life – I cannot bear to part with, though I know items like these will eventually be disposed of. They will have no sentimental or artistic value to anyone else.

Growing older has also affected my consideration of new things. My decision to acquire is often coloured less by cost than the item’s possible future with me. And I’m mindful of the burden that will fall on whomever is unfortunate enough to have to deal with what’s left of my life once I am dead.

For the present, I will continue to take pleasure in the art I have, the music I have collected, the full set of china I own and use on a daily basis. I will continue to add things I desire because of the way they call to me and I will enjoy them for as long as I can.

I have seen many articles asking “What would your older self tell your younger self if it could?” I’m not sure that my younger self would listen, but I would tell her not to get hung up on the idea of getting older as becoming physically diminished.

Younger people tend to think of advancing age wholly in terms of the body. But aging is really an evolving condition – one that taxes the mind and spirit, too. You will still need to make decisions that affect not only your present but your future. But when you are older, there is less future to consider. And that, in itself, becomes another thing to consider.

Shared World Exercise from #SciFiChat 25 Jan 2019

We had 2 hours of fun building a world for an anthology with the working title “Crab Max”.

Here’s the run-down as summarized by @DavidRozansky:

In CrabMax, a mutant coral has evolved that thrives on pollution that the Landlubbers are now trying to curtail. The Coral is intelligent hivemind that telepathically controls sea creatures and Lundlubbers in/near the water, through control of mesmerization fantasies.

The Sky Belters have taken to the aether of outer space, to escape the polluted world. They mine the asteroids in their steam-driven sky ships, and use the Earth as a dumping ground and to steal oxygen and water, exasperating Landlubber efforts to clean their world up.

For Coral Hivemind to thrive, it must force Landlubbers to pollute , building up a toxic atmosphere (for the Landlubbers). The Coral is winning the war, as it has the science of atomic energy and information technology on its side. Landlubbers live in age of steam.

The Sky Belters dumping pollution on the planet helps the Coral, but the Belters are also stealing vast amounts of water, which is of course bad for the Coral and the Landlubbers. It’s 3-way conflict

Interesting characters in this shared world idea: Land-ambulating octupi and squid who act as minions and spies for the Coral. Captain Nemo type traitors under Coral mind control. The Belters have gene-engineered roaming pterosaurs.

And the Coral Hivemind has gene-engineered a wide variety of sharks and cephalopods and other creepy terrors of the deep. The Landlubbers have been breeding dolphins in return, but that’s a paltry effort against the underwater terror, and worthless against Belters.

Pertinent to the stories of CrabMax are “star-crossed lovers” whose affections may or may not be the result of Coral mind control. Yes, there’s room for inter-species “Shape of Water” type love affairs. Oh the horror, the horror.

If you feel like participating by writing something using this world, go right ahead. Then drop the link by at #SciFiChat. We’d love to see what you come up with.