70 Years Old. WTF!
There, I said it again. That's my mood at this moment. I'm here, computer on lap, looking out my bedroom window. What I see is gorgeous. What I feel is great. And then I think: I'm 70 years old. And then I think: WTF!
And then I think it again. WTF!
It's inconceivable! Just like Sicilian in The Princess Bride says. Inconceivable! Wasn't I thirty years old just a half hour ago? Or maybe that was forty. Or fifty. It's all flown by so fast.
And now, here I am, 70. Seventy. Sev-en-ty. Man, that sounds old. But I don't feel old. I just feel like---like WTF!
Oh, yeah, I said that before. Maybe that means I'm old. Old people repeat themselves a lot, don't they? Well, WTF, I'm going to say it again even if it is a sign of senility.
I just don't get it at all.
Really. Seventy? Me?
I was a teenager once. Really. I knew exactly what it would like to get old, back then, the same way that I knew everything, back then. Wrong.
I knew what old was. It was thirty. When you reached thirty, it was pretty much all over. And then I got to be thirty, and I found out that it wasn't all over. It was just starting. And I realized that my teenaged self was an arrogant idiot.
There I was, around thirty-two. I should have been dead. Or doddering. Or whining about miserable about how sad my lot was. And I wasn't any one of those things. I was really happy. Having the time of my life.
"I can't believe how stupid I was in my teens and twenties," I said to my grandmother, the redoubtable Nana, about whom you may hear more stories than the one I am about to tell if I ever stop adding qualifying phrases and get on with it. (TODO: Nana) "People are always talking about going back and being young again," I continued. "There isn't enough money in the world to pay me to be that stupid again."
Nana, approaching ninety, thought for a long minute. She lived in Florida in housing for Senior Citizens and had gotten married and divorced in her eighties. That's the kind of lady she was. "You're right," she said when I finished describing her. "When I think about how stupid some of those sixty-five-year-olds I live with are!"
That gave me hope that I might have another fifty years of good life if I could manage to be like Nana
Now I'm seventy, (Seventy!) and except for arthritis and assorted mainly physical complaints seventy is better than thirty. Or seventy in 2012 is better than thirty in 1974. It's nothing like what I ever thought it was going to be even with Nana's life as a model. (TODO: What did I think it was going to be?)
Now I want to try to explain to you, and to me, what I'm trying to do besides looking out the window and typing. What's the master plan?
Here is December 31st, 2012, one day after my 70th birthday. The day was celebrated quietly. No fanfare. Not significant, the way I'm making it significant right now. That significance is an excuse for what I'm doing.
My seventieth birthday? A quiet dinner with my wife after a day spent relaxing, installing Linux and a couple of virtual machines on the SSD that my kids had given me for my birthday.
Does your idea of 70-year-old include a birthday spent installing Linux and virtual machines on an SSD?
It might if you're not thinking just a 70-year-old, but a 70-year-old geek.
(WARNING! Non-geeks can skip to the next paragraph, which will continue in English. Or skip to the end of this parenthetical digression, which, (you will find if you count (nested) parentheses) will put you right before the next paragraph. See, I wasn't just installing Linux and virtual machines on an SSD. I was installing Ubuntu 12.10, "Quantal Quetzal" on the SSD I had just put in my Lenovo W520 Notebook, with its Intel Core i7 8-core 2+GHz processor, 6GB memory and 15" screen. And it wasn't just any old virtual machines. I was running a virtualized, clean install of Windows 7 Business, a virtualized clean install of Ubuntu 12.10 that I intended to use as my principal development environment, and a copy of the Windows 7 machine that I'd been using for the past several months (TODO: Explain) that I have virtualized using VMWare's vCenter Converter Standalone Client that I had downloaded (Thank you VMWare!) And here the opening parentheses close.)
I seemed to have digressed and was about to apologize, but on reflection, no, I didn't digress. I'll save the apology for another time and instead I'll explain why I seemed to digress, but really didn't. See what I did? I said I was going to explain, and I didn't. I went the other way. I've gone from explaining why my digression wasn't a digression to a back-reference to "When Harry Met Sally." Which is another digression. See what I did?
What I did was write an example of what I plan to write as part of what I'm calling Project 70: a plan to take all of the random, and sometimes interesting shit that runs through my head and write it.
Because I think that in seventy years I've learned a few things worth writing down.
Because I've lived a life that has had some interesting and amusing bits, and that's worth writing down.
Because I'm learning and experiencing new things and I forget them almost as fast as I learn and experience them. (That's not because I'm seventy, although it has gotten worse. But we all forget things. I remember being a kid and looking back at some stuff I had written when I was even more of a kid and being surprised at what I'd known--and forgotten.)
But mainly because I love to write, and I write enough. I've used all kinds of tricks (TODO: explain) to get myself to write more and Project 70 is the latest trick.
Project 70 is about changing the one thing in my life--my not-writing-enough habit--that I most want to change. And then using that change do some other things. Or just to write.
Project 70 is not about being seventy. It's just an excuse for a project that I think might be fun.