Saturday, January 30, 2016
The Riddle Of The Sphynx? Old Body, Rockin' Brain?
Waxing too philosophical this morning - too - something else - a better descriptor - but I can't remember the word; which brings me to the heart of the matter.
Growing up, parents, mentors - those older than you - don't think to explain the concept of aging to the young. Who knows? Would you have listened if they did? I wouldn't have likely. Still and all, one enters the world of aging with little emotional and/or intellectual provision for the coming of the time when you have distanced yourself so far from your youth that it is hard to see yourself in those much younger than yourself.
This has become more than clearly obvious to me since I fell under a new editor within the organization for which I write.
I have been writing professionally since the early 1980's when I went to work for my father writing advertising copy, but before that, I had practiced my craft writing children's books. None of these ever sold, but the practice of putting thoughts into words and words onto paper, was certainly important.
Even after I left advertising to pursue my Biology degrees, I wrote no less than three published papers during my tenure at the university. Once I became gainfully employed as a teacher, I had another article published. Then, after several years concentrating on motherhood, I began writing and blogging again on a consistent basis. I have written and researched hundreds of post over the years, which have, in turn, been shared thousands and thousands of times. When I had time, I'd even submit to online magazines like "American Thinker" where I have also had several published posts.
Apparently, today - I'm guessing because Americans have the attention spans of mosquitoes - writers are taught that, instead of a paragraph containing 3 to 4 sentences woven together to create an image in the reader's mind, a paragraph should consist of 1 or 2 sentences composed of verbiage exciting enough to forcibly propel the reader onward through the piece. This procedure should be undertaken using the least amount of words possible in order to convey a skeleton message suitably deliverable to the dumbed down populace.
I don't write that way. My 20-something editor, however, does.
In fact, he not only doesn't appreciate the need for an actual paragraph, he would prefer that I provide him with unnecessary and disjointed quotes from my interviews to simply pad a piece, when the article could have been written much more concisely with fewer words in a paragraph type format to give the reader some context for the story.
Last night, I - unfortunately - had to correct at least two of his edits because they were simply incorrect. In one, he had misidentified a quote and in another, he used a word that was simply inaccurate to describe the process about which I was writing. This did not appear to go over well with him and, what I can only refer to as an 'editing war' broke out during which I was told to re-write parts of the article that simply made no sense to me at all.
So, here am I. I really need the money I am making for writing - as paltry as it is - and I also need more writing credits in order to find better work. I am uncertain, however, how much I'll be able to take of this 'new' way of writing before actually referring to this young man as a 'whippersnapper'.
I guess part of the matter is this: I have finally reached the point in my life where I have more to look back on than to expect. I have finally reached the point where those employing me are not only not likely to be my age, but be much younger than I - which can be difficult depending upon the personalities involved. It's hard to admit, I suppose, that I have finally reached the point where my expertise - the things I have learned over a hard-earned lifetime - will be seen as 'unnecessary' or 'cumbersome' or, dare I say it....'old fashioned'.
We all know that after a certain age, we (most of us) begin to think less of ourselves and more of others - namely our children - but we don't stop to realize how much less others will think of us as we age. This is quite a face-slapping moment.
The last several months have been physically hard. After a knee dislocation I suffered at the hands of my inattention to the horse I was riding, I've been alternately pleased at my recovery (my proudest moment being when the young Physicians Assistant told me I was recovering as well as some athletes they work with though they don't usually do ACL/PCL surgeries on adults over 40 - I was 52), and frustrated that I'll more than likely not be able to do some of the things I've done previously. Yes, my ice hockey career is finished, but then so is my ability, in some ways, to physically protect myself from others who might want to harm me or my kids (and yes, we have to think about such things in these times, it's sad to say).
There's no way to stop the physical aging process. Plastic surgery is for movie stars and those with less self-esteem and more money than they should have, and it doesn't retrograde your aging bones and joints.
It's not only a shame, but a conundrum as well, that while my physical parts deteriorate, my brain processes, uploads, deciphers and analyzes more information than it ever did in a younger body more concerned with motion than intellect. So, as with others my age and older, I am struck with the knowledge that, while my gray hair signals to the young a sense of infirmity and anachronism, had my brain a body of its own, like a ninja, it would beat theirs senseless in a matter of seconds. It's how to live with this knowledge, I suppose, that is the true problem of aging.