August 31 additions follow the photo.
This is a work in progress – check back in a week. The General topic of “The Stairs” is here, handwritten, brief: Dick B 1940. As noted, this in the 1940th post since I began this space in 2009; before that, I had 1940 earlier posts following 9-11-01. 1940 is my birth year. It works for me!
The title reflects the below photo, which will later be explained.
August 31, 2023: On the same day I published this post (Aug 24), we left for 6 days in northwest Minnesota. I knew what I wanted to use to complete this post, but simply ran out of time. Briefly, below is what I planned to say.
Age: Those who know me at all, know that I’m 83 years old, which is 2 1/2 years older than President Joe Biden, our U.S. President for whom I have immense respect. Yes, he’s “just a kid”.
Age manifests in different ways for all of us. I see a fair number of fellow citizens every day, some of them every day. They know my reality; I know theirs, generally.
We don’t get old at a given pace. I’m oldest of 28 cousins; six of them have preceded me in death, the first 23 years ago. All died of natural causes, some unexpectedly, others more slowly. A seventh has been permanently and totally disabled for many years, in a nursing home. Life happens.
I picked the above photo to demonstrate the reality of personal life as a older person. August 22, I gave a brief talk at the podium of this church. I had to navigate four steps. What I noticed was there was no side rail. The side rail is useful security for me. I walked up with no problem, I had to walk down, too. The next speaker, younger, offered a hand, and I accepted. I would have done okay by myself, but was glad the personal ‘railing’ was there! I’ve seen accidents happen on steps.
Long and short, having a few extra miles on life’s chassis does have its downs, but by no means is being older necessarily a disability either. My cousin who died at 51 in 2000 certainly didn’t expect to die. Life happens.
Age is no more a disability for me than for anyone else, and I find silly the preoccupation with age in leaders.
Communication: As noted in my letter, I started my amateur career with blogging in September, 2001, 22 years ago.
I am very aware of the huge change in ways of communication since 2001…and even before then I came up with a phrase which I think is my own: “we have more ways to communicate less”.
Between 1985 and 2001 I edited a small newsletter for a nationality affinity group. We did six issues a year. It wasn’t until after 2000 that there was a first reference in the newsletter to a website, or to an e-mail address. Those who got the newsletter certainly knew about technology by then, but most relied on hand-written letter, and the U.S. mail delivery of printed newsletters for their written information.
Going forward, Facebook, the first of the mass social media means, first appeared in 2004, followed in short order by YouTube (2005), Twitter (2006), iPhone (2007), and on and on and on.
Ironically, the mushroom of ways to communicate has had the effect of isolating us even more than in the old days. We communicate in sound bites, and then only selectively. We don’t have to answer phones, or consider other opinions than our own. We can and do self-isolate. The days of the old weekly newspaper come to mind, when every word that was printed was pored over, including ads, and local social news, and even letters to the editors which might dare to have a difference of opinion. Nowadays, we don’t have to contend with such things as competing ideas. And it is not healthy.