Getting Old

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that those who cannot handle technology are…. old. Or getting old. Or are too set in their ways to adapt. So they are old. Old. Old. Old.

I am turning 40 in a couple of years, but because my husband, my friends, and most of my batch mates are turning 40 or have turned 40, I can’t help thinking that I am as good as 40. What’s two more years? They zip by so fast, I might as well be over the hill, or under it, or have my life beginning—as the sayings go.

I can’t help feeling a sense of panic, however. I just wrote an article about men in midlife and while writing it, I realized that my husband and I are entering midlife! Wait! What?Where did our “young” life go? Why is life zooming by so quick, I can’t even catch my breath? I don’t feel middle aged! How is middle-aged supposed to feel anyway? When I read “middle aged” as a character’s description in a book, I imagine Miss Marple. I know, I know, she’s OLD aged, but you get what I mean.

I have two young girls—one is a baby—shouldn’t I still be young based on that? Middle-aged women don’t balance babies on their hip while dragging a six-year-old along with the other hand. Or do they?

Last Sunday, my teenaged cousin was standing over my head as I wolfed down my lunch (no leisurely lunches for me just in case the baby needs to feed or be carried or just be plain demanding and only wants Mama) and said in a horrified voice, “Manang, you have white hair!” Groan. Yes, I do. Lots of it.

But what made me pause and really think about this aging bit—and actually write about it here—was when I had to adjust to using a new computer. Phones are actually easy to figure out. I go through a slight panicky stage when things are new for like a few hours maybe and then I ease into it and am okay but the trackpad scrolling of the new MacBook totally got to me. I couldn’t do it. I know, I know, it’s not even that new. Whenever I use someone else’s computer and the trackpad scrolls the “natural” way, I freak out a little bit. But when it was on my computer and I had to write an article, I was actually getting knots in my tummy and my chest started hurting. Why couldn’t I get the hang of this scrolling thing? It’s supposed to be freaking “natural”! That’s what the setting is called!

So I told myself — no, I can do this. I refuse to let it beat me. I will not let it cement the reality that I am indeed old. My husband says if you let technology beat you and you can’t adapt to it, it’s a sign of old age. But a small voice inside me keeps saying, I am great at adapting! I already gave up on inspiration and forced myself to write when my babies were asleep, I gave up on working on a computer and began writing articles and blog posts on my phone using my THUMB, I gave up on peace and quiet and channeled whatever focus I had left on putting words together despite Hi-5 singing in the background or a noisy preschool with screaming kids running around me. But I can’t seem to adjust to this $%^$% trackpad scrolling thing!

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So I told myself I would train myself to use the “natural” scrolling direction.

Cue anxiety.

Yesterday, I gave up. Feeling totally defeated, I changed the direction. And now, I am much happier. Older, yes. Hitting middle age, yes. But I know that I can adapt when it’s important and stay stuck in the old ways when it’s not. Maybe that’s the wisdom of aging? If it is, then this shouldn’t be too bad, right? But maybe I should get myself to a salon and cover up the white hair anyway.

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