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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Changes of Age, Changes of Attitude?

Sorry, Jimmy Buffett, but there are no changes in latitude involved here. I ain't leavin' Maine, and having been here over 5 years now I don't think the change in latitude from NC to the northlands can be either blamed or credited.

Not sure if it is exactly age, either, per se... I don't remember my mom, or grandmother or any other senior citizen that I have known talking about noticing a change like this. Whether they did not notice, did not consider it worth sharing, or what, I don't know either. I do know that my mom talked about it when she noticed that all of the medical personnel that she had to deal with personally looked like they had barely graduated from high school, but that was about all she ever shared about this whole aging process.

She never warned me about the hairs on my chinny-chin-chin (thought I did notice them on some older women and always wondered WHY they did not pull them out!). And she never warned me about how my attitude towards the changes in the world might change, nor that my ability to tolerate less-than-competent workers might pretty much disappear.

Do I attribute these changes to age, or to something else?

In any case, in keeping with my "Year of Transition" I am noting, and shall discuss them a bit and perhaps get some feedback. Have any of my younger readers, age mates or older friends noted anything similar or related? I'd love to know!

My childhood home, as it appears now, thanks to Google!
Background: I have never REALLY like change. I wasn't even thinking in these terms when, as a child, we went on vacation. This was a change... but in many ways it wasn't; every year we spent a couple of weeks in Iowa and Nebraska visiting and staying with my maternal grandparents, with a one night stay with my father's family who lived in the same town, and a few days to a week with a maternal aunt and her husband in Nebraska. In those days, towns changed more slowly and my family's homes changed slowly, if at all... so the places were, and felt familiar. What sticks in my mind most dramatically, though, was my feelings upon our return home. While we were visiting, I guess I was "in the moment" and totally there, because when I walked into our house there was a strange and instantaneous mental reset.... like "OH! yeah, HOME... and I realized I had totally 'forgotten' the place for the previous few weeks, as the thoughts and memories came flooding back.

As a young woman, I dealt with change and to some extent embraced it. While I would not consider myself an "early adopter" of technical changes, I was involved with computers early on -- doing a bit of programming in college, data entry (on to punch cards, then paper tape, then recording tape) in the work world. I wanted a microwave oven since my first encounter with one, at a home show with my folks when I was around 10, and eventually got one when the third of my daughters was born. I had a personal computer back in the day when the Amiga 500 was the latest and greatest for graphics,  after playing around with the Commodore and maybe another machine, owned by folks I knew.

Perhaps it is that the rate of change in increasing (exponentially?). Or maybe it has something to do with my conscious choice to plant one foot firmly in the Old Ways (in more ways than one) combined with the rate of change. Maybe my psyche doesn't like doing the splits?

I do not remember my mom complaining about change, though I do recall her not being really comfortable USING some of the new technology (like the microwave... when she watched the kids at that point, and I had left food to be reheated for their supper, I remember her putting the dish in the micro and taking it out, but having my eldest actually set and operate the machine... which was about the same level of complexity as an old fashioned automatic washer... turn the dial to set the time and push a button to make it go!).  I DO recall, as I planted that one foot increasingly firmly... heating and cooking with wood, growing our food, putting it by... of thinking of my mom as "Thoroughly Modern Dorothea" (think of the movie, Thoroughly Modern Millie, a musical set in the flapper era in which my mom came of age) by contrast.

So, all that being said, I really don't like the way the world is going! I know I am not alone in that, from comments and posts I read on the social media. But again, most of the folks I know and follow in that regard are also, more or less, "of a certain age." I wonder... (and again, please share this entry widely, as I would love to hear what folks think)... what do folks in their 20s, 30s, 40s think? Is there a demographic point when, as a culture, we begin to think that enough is enough?

And as I run my countdown year, it seems each month I eagerly look forward to changing the number on the wall, as it were. It's not just that I find myself needing more time on the farm (physical chores like building pens and housing take longer when one no longer has a young body to work with). It's not just that the hex orders just keep on coming (and thank the Gods for that!). And I hope it's not that the other folks in the workplace have suddenly taken a big dose of "stupid." But it seems each week, more things are wrong from the get-go, don't work properly, etc. And my tolerance for what seems to me to be unnecessary chaos is shrinking.

Part of what I do depends on the timely arrival of products and I know and expect shipping follies. That is something no one has control over. And, since the titles are not individually and specifically ordered by the store based on sales and inventory, one must expect a certain amount of disconnect between what we need and what we receive.

However, when we get literally dozens of an item of a type that we seldom, if ever, sell more one a single copy of.... When they call for things to be removed from the shelves, only to languish on the (limited) warehouse shelves for months... When folks who supply written materials that we are supposed to "copy and paste" from don't double, triple and quadruple check to make sure that the material is formatted in such as way as this process works, and it instead fails -- in the same way -- week after week.... well, my patience is all but gone.

So, dear readers, what say you? Is it just me, is it an age thing, or are there other explanations I have not considered?