For the most part, I really don't have problems with getting older. Sure, I worry about the future; about money and the environment and how the crazy weather we had this winter is just an early warning sign of things to come. I think about what it's going to be like to be old, and whether I'll be able to just check out in my sleep like my father-in-law did, or if I'll be tethered to a bed in a nursing home, full of bedsores and lying in my own urine until the next overworked and underpaid aide comes in and smacks me around out of sheer frustration. If that's how it all ends, and I'm lucky, I'll have Alzheimer's and won't have a whole lot of awareness of what's happening.
But for the most part, getting older has freed me of many of the things that bothered me when I was young. I refer to myself as fat in my crusade to take back the word from people who use it as a value judgment associated with all kinds of things I'm not, like lazy and gluttonous and gorging myself constantly on MacDonald's hamburgers and Dunkin' Donuts. I no longer feel like I have to try to be tall and thin and WASP-y with silky blond hair even though I'm short and chubby and Jewish and have hair that's thinning and never behaved anyway. Instead of competing with other people at work, I can be the "elder statesman", explaining to younger colleagues that getting up at a full-division meeting and complaining to your boss' boss' boss that not having full development access to the system isn't fair is not the way to get what you want.
Some of this is luck. I'm fortunate in that I was laid off from my last job just before the economy went into the crapper and managed to luck into a related but very different area in a company where a department was being built from scratch and having a pulse and a brain was enough to get hired. But it's required sheer, hard work and 80-hour weeks to build the skill level that I've needed. If anything happened to this job, it remains to be seen if any other employer would look past the crows feet and the size 16 and the gray that creeps back into my temples barely two weeks after I have my hair done.
For the most part, I have no regrets about not being young anymore, except that there are things I would do if I were young now and the same person I am now that I would never have had the guts to do then. I first had the inkling of this in the summer of 2009, when I spent two weeks at the Hilton in Cologne on the company nickel, taking the train to work every day and muddling through a city where I didn't know the language at night. The hotel isn't far from a youth hostel, and the city was full of backpackers enjoying a European Adventure before jobs and marriages and families tied them down. I sometimes found myself envying their youth and freedom; their ability to drink beer and go dancing till the wee hours and make temporary European friends, some of whom might even become permanent. But in my own little way, with a full weekend on my own, taking photos of goofy things like cigarette machines and pastry cases and sidewalk artists and shop windows decorated with hookahs and photos of Aishwarya Rai...and tourists clutching cups of Starbuck's while standing in front of a charming German café; I had my own mini-European Adventure.
Like so many other bloggers, I was intrigued by writer/photographer Todd Bieber's request to spread the word about the roll of film he'd found in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, and his quest to find the owners. I wrote about it, and reposted his videos, here and here.
I actually got word a while ago that he'd found the owners of the film, but haven't had a chance to repost the video until now:
Thanks to Todd for giving this particular oldster the chance to vicariously enjoy his European Adventure. And if you read this blog and you've found Todd's film, e-mail him at brooklynfoundfilm-at-gmail-dot-com. Then hide your own roll of film (if you can still find film!). Because infinite projects like this don't have to always involve cats.
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