Happy birthday to me

Happy Birthday to me.  39 years.  Wow.  I was talking to a group of high school seniors a few months back when I realized that I graduated from high school before they were born.  That 20 years looks a lot different from this side than it did from the other.  I tried to tell them that, but I doubt many of them believed me.  Maybe one or two of them will remember our conversation 20 years from now.  I won’t hold my breath.

The thought of getting older doesn’t bother me too terribly much.  Today I’m in a lot better shape physically than I was 10 years ago.  Some things don’t work as well as they used to, my oft-separated shoulder being a case in point, but overall I’m much healthier.  For sure I wouldn’t have been able to ride 100 miles on a bicycle 10 years ago.

Mentally, I’m a lot calmer than I used to be.  I’ve never been a screamer, but little things used to bother me much more than they do now.  I don’t have a defeatist attitude by any means, but for the most part I just let stuff happen and don’t worry about it.  I probably don’t have enough stomach lining to allow little things to bother me.

What worries me the most about getting older is the possibility of losing physical or mental agility.  I’ve noticed that my body doesn’t heal as quickly as it used to, and I can’t do my standing back flip anymore for fear of separating my shoulder on the launch and the pain causing me to land on my head.  Mentally, I’m sharper than I was, but I find it harder to learn new things.  Not because the learning is hard, but because I have difficulty finding the enthusiasm.  I’m in danger of becoming a mental couch potato.

The solution is to force myself to learn new things.  That’s a large part of the reason I’ve been working with Linux, learning ASP, and taking a conversational Spanish class with Debra.  Certainly these things will be useful by themselves, but the most important part to me is to keep learning new things.  As long as I’m learning, I’m living.