I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Evolution of a post

Chuckanut Ridge by Melanie
My friend Melanie is a good photographer and sometimes takes pictures that have a mood to them I love. This one shows a hiker almost to the top of a ridge, among tall trees and long winter shadows. I looked carefully and realized with a start that it is me in the picture. It could have been anybody, but it's me; I sure like the feeling it evokes.

It got me to thinking about how much our world has changed: hardly anybody carries a regular camera any more, and the pictures taken by our smartphones are as good as most of us ever need to capture the moment. That's just one part of the change that has evolved since the beginning of the Information Age. Everywhere I look people are fixated on a tiny screen, doing... what? I know what I use my cellphone for, and the least of it is for making phone calls. In the twentieth century (you know, long ago), I got my news from the morning paper, which was delivered to my doorstep. I rose out of bed, put on the teakettle and went looking for the paper. I'd climb back in bed and read while I drank my morning tea. My partner was, even then, asleep next to me while I began my day. We've always been opposites in that way; he's a night owl and I'm a morning person.

These days, I still make my tea and bring my laptop back to bed with me while I peruse the news and read the papers online. The best part is that I can pick and choose where I want to go with information. Once I've read the headlines, I usually find some tangent will capture my interest. Yesterday I happened to see a mention of Ann-Margret, who I remembered is the same age as me. The article is entitled, "Still a Beauty at 76," so of course I had to find out what she looks like today. I watched a video of an interview, and I hardly recognized her. Wondering why, I did a little research to find that she has been "under the knife" from plastic surgery plenty of times, in an effort to retain her beauty.

That little excursion into the internet took awhile, and I found that plastic surgery for women my age is common, especially when you don't want to let the ravages of time get the best of you. But is it worth it? At what cost (and I don't mean monetary, necessarily) do we put all our belief that just a nip here, a tuck there, will make us look like we did when we were young. Nope, it doesn't work that way.

I must admit that it's a little distressing to see how quickly my body is beginning to age. It's a constant battle to stay healthy, to keep my weight down, and keep going out there exercising every day. But the alternative is to give up. Just a couple of weeks away from my regular routine means months of effort to climb back to what I was able to do before the layoff. Is this just another form of denial? I know how much better I feel when I can walk briskly with the ladies on Saturday mornings, how much I would miss the hikes if I couldn't join my fellow seniors on Thursdays. So the effort seems worth it, for now.

Change is inevitable, I know that. It's now been three years since I made my last skydive, and sometimes I marvel at how little I miss it. It was at the center of my life for more than two decades, but I've moved on. Will it be the same with other aspects of my life? Most probably. And I will adjust and find other pursuits that fill me with joy. Just writing this blog post gives me some of that, and I find it to be an activity that helps me figure out what's important to me at this very moment in time.

I'm looking forward to watching the Oscar ceremonies tonight, although what I usually do is listen to the opening monologue and then turn the sound off so that I don't have to be bothered with the interminable commercials and drivel. I like to look at the gowns and after having seen most of the movies, I have my own ideas of who should win what. I'll sit in my favorite chair and read my current book, Katherine Graham's autobiography. After I watched "The Post," I went to my library's website and put a hold on the book, and it recently became available. I wanted to find out what she actually thought about being the first woman to run a major newspaper and how she coped. It's really well written; she won a Pulitzer Prize for it in the 1980s.

Graham lived to be 84. She was attending a conference when she fell:
Mrs. Graham suffered a head injury when she fell on a concrete walkway outside a condominium in Sun Valley, Idaho, and never regained consciousness. She had gone there for a conference of business and media executives.
Graham's obituary from the New York Times is informative and made me really look forward to reading about her. Thinking about her death, it makes me ponder what might be the best way to exit this life. Katherine didn't seem to worry much about wrinkles or her health; she was active and involved right up to the end. That seems to me pretty much perfect. And at 84, she had lived a very full and meaningful life. It was not without difficulties and drama, of course, but that's pretty much true of any of us. I highly recommend the book, and the movie.

There was a time, not so long ago, when this post I'm writing wouldn't have been possible. I've spent some time this morning doing a little research on the internet so I could provide my readers with more information if one desires, and even the post itself wasn't possible before the advent of the information age. Being involved in publishing during my working life, it was available and even necessary in my job, and I had to learn how to write online. This blog is very satisfying to put together, and it keeps me connected to the wider world. What a great time it is to be alive! Steve Ballmer sums it all up quite well in this quote:
The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.
And so, with that, I'll leave you to your own devices, while I finish reading the news and Sunday comics (I never miss them). My partner still slumbers, my tea is gone, and it's time to begin the rest of my day. It is my hope that today will bring you all good things, and that you will be surrounded with love and light. Be well until we meet again next week.


Marie Smith said...

I am thankful to have met you through your blogs, Jan. The internet has expanded our lives in wonderful ways! Have a great week.

Linda Reeder said...

I am missing the sunshine that was so glorious yesterday. We had been promised more, but now clouds and perhaps rain are sneaking in. Change happens, even daily and hourly.
We will still go into the city as planned to participate in the March to the Match, unless there is a downpour. It doesn't pay to get drenched and then have to sit in the cold. At the soccer match we will see Jill and Irene. Today is Jill's birthday and we celebrated as a family last night, with dinner out and then ice cream sundaes back at our house. Jake and Jan joined us and it was good to get the seven of us together for some fun.
I will hurry back home to watch the Oscars too.
I like that quote from Steve Balmer. Technology has opened up my life, brought me information and entertainment, and friends like you.
Be well and happy.

Rian said...

DJan, you are right about that picture. It draws you. And it would make a great cover for a book (it would draw me to pick it up... I find covers very important when perusing books).
As for 'nips and tucks' as we get older, it can be helpful... especially in the movie profession. Have you seen Jane Fonda lately? I've been watching Grace and Frankie... and Jane really does look good. But it's not for everybody. My money and my choices lie elsewhere.
And as for technology I love it for the most part. It has some drawbacks, but in general it helps people connect... whether to other people or to information. 'Information at your fingertips' is amazing. Enjoy your Sunday!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I knew right5 away that photo was of you! It is lovely and you should get a copy and have it framed:)
I think I would prefer quick to drawn out for death...but we will never know what our next minute will bring so I don't linger on that thought too much.
Today we are back from our walk to the mailbox and beyond this am. Far Guy is woodcarving at the table, Chance is laying down behind him so to keep a close eye on him. Time for me to get busy neighbors coming over this afternoon to play cards. I will watch the awards tonight...hope it is not to politicky...I may turn the sound off too I like to see the dresses:)

Buz said...

"And so, with that, I'll leave you go your own devices..." That made me smile, even though it's a little sad to think the original meaning of the phrase will soon be lost forever (and must already be lost to gadget-raised youngsters). And yes, that photo would make a great book cover.

Anonymous said...

What a joy it is to read your posts my new friend! It's true, the information age is about possibility. I use the Internet for research, online classes and to connect with other like-minded blogging sisters. I will look forward to reading your book recommendation, perhaps the Kindle version, if it's less expensive (I must admit to still enjoying the weight and feel of an actual book in my hands though).

Hugs for now from still brrrrr New Hampshire...

Linda Myers said...

It can be time consuming to be curious on a Sunday!

Elephant's Child said...

Enjoy your day.
I love the way the internet has simultaneously shrunk and expanded my world. I can reach out to people who would otherwise have been inaccessible for the shrinkage, and almost unlimited information for the expansion.
Mind you, this dinosaur does carry a camera.

Red said...

That is a good photo! Now to me, age is in your head. Yes , you've got to stay active in both mind and body. Yes, we are at the stage in life when some life altering changes in health could happen. An 86 year old skating buddy suddenly ended up with pneumonia and a lung problem. He's fighting back and will make it . Why? He's kept himself in good shape and is a hardy man for his age.

Glenda Beall said...

Although I fight the use of technology every single day I have to have my computer. But I saw where older style cell phones are coming back into vogue. Well, I still have my flip phone and just can't seem to give it up. It is small, not bulky, and all I do with it is make phone calls and receive phone calls. That is really all I need.
I have now a smart phone that I find is helpful with a quick check of my email or to google something, but I hate carrying it with me. It is too big and it is heavy so it weighs me down. I use it as a small computer that is mobile for the most part.
I wish I had done a little nip, tuck about ten years ago on my face, but it won't make much difference now. I am a fan of Jane Fonda who has kept herself fit both physically and mentally. I wrote about her tonight on my blog post that I have yet to publish. Have a great week.

Mary said...

I can relate to much of what you've said. I've always felt these movie stars who get so much plastic surgery look hideous. They never even look like themselves. And those big poofy lips...gross!
One should have the confidence to age gracefully and if their concern is a career...well haven't they made enough money or if it's having a husband with a wandering eye to the younger...well is that really a good husband?
Anyway yes we are aging and I for one, love the freedom to be me, wrinkles, loose muscles and all. My only concern with aging is disability and dementia, as both of those is a game changer and so far so good. But I know it can all change in a moment, so I try to enjoy it all especially the little things.
I too love the Internet and am hooked to my iPad like some are to their phones. My old eyes prefer the iPad.😊

Galen Pearl said...

You are so much fun! I wish you lived closer to me because I would love to hang out with you. Maybe go on a hike. Or sit and drink tea.

Yeah, that plastic surgery. I understand the temptation as I watch my face slowing sagging off my cheekbones and jawline! And I don't begrudge those who give it a try. But I think I'll just quit looking in the mirror and let my face do what it wants.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, the Oscars have now been presented and I'm wondering how they fit the list you had in young mind about best picture, actress, actor, etc. I'd seen only one picture--the Ebbing, MO one--and found it so provocative and evocative that I thought about it and the questions it raised for days afterward.

The ill health that has been part of my last 12 years has certainly changed my face. But I don't mind showing my age. I've worked for this look!!!!

And yes, I think that as we let go of one thing--be it skydiving or walking or driving--we find that something else becomes dear and precious and worthwhile. That has been my experience. Peace.

Mage said...

What a wonderful post. I too was involved with newspapers doing layout, paste up, and line illustration. How archaic it sounds.

Yes, I liked the book vastly better than the movie. If they had started the film where he died and she inherited the paper, I think the whole would have had more impact. I admired the heck out of her, aand in my recent book purge, it was not one I got rid of.

Trish MacGregor said...

Insightful post, as always!

Rhapsody Phoenix said...

Yes many women now art slicing and dicing into their faces and bodies to retain the fountain of youth only most look horribly mannequin-ish. Some have had terrible side effects. In todays society it seem a sin to age. The natural phenomenon is unfortunately scorned and those in the spotlight are falling prey to the bullying and harsh criticism that mutilate their self-image and self-esteem.

I am one that still walk with my camera. I never leave home without it. I seldom use my phone as i find the picture quality is not as on par as the camera itself.

Hear is to aging with grace. It is quite something to watch yourself age, evolve and transform. My hair is now 65% grey. I am often encouraged to color it black. I cannot be bothered. I have learn to adjust to this new hair and how it has transform my face. At this juncture in my life health is more paramount than grey hair and perky breast.

have a grand weekend.

Anonymous said...

This is a very informative post. I myself would love to regain the beauty of my youth, but don't want plastic surgery. Let me age gracefully.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I do like that picture and it is neat to know it’s you on the trail. Time is flying so fast now. You mentioned your last sky dive was 3 years ago, and it sure doesn’t seem that long ago. I recall how you wrote about that and how difficult it was to make a decision to bring that fun to an end. I had to look back and found a comment you left for me on my blog on March 9, 2013, five years ago. I am so lucky that you found my blog which allowed me to find yours. I’ve been enjoying Eye on the Edge ever since! Thank you for your weekly posts and for the kind words you leave for me. Have a great week ahead! John

likeschocolate said...

Looks like spring is in full swing in your little corner of the world. Still waiting for it here!