With my job I interact with people several decades older than me, and recently I have had some more intensive interactions with tweens. Not tweens as in pre-teens, but tweens as in between middle-aged and old.
Since my mother and friends are all middle-aged, and they are basically as old as it gets for the people I socialize with, being around second-time tweens has been a new experience for me.
These are people who are retired but don’t need walkers, have gray hair but don’t drool, have an overall friendly disposition but haven’t been grandparents for too long. Tweens.
They are all so nice to each other. They don’t seem to resent each other or wish someone was working faster or give orders. They just live together in a tween utopia where there is no “I” in “team.” They are a team that combines leisure and efficiency in a way that only a tween team could. It gives me something to look foward to in my happy tween age.
At the same time, it has opened my eyes to the inevitability of slowing down. Some people can prolong it for longer than others, but eventually, none of us can think as quickly as we once could. Every day I saw that it took them a while to understand that there was some type of system in place, and once they understood that, they couldn’t learn the system as quickly as I was able to.
It makes me worry about all the hours I spend in front of my computer, especially now with this job. There are several days where at the end of the day, I stare at my computer and have difficulty understanding what I’ve written. All that light from the monitor just enters my eyeballs and blinds me to the meaning of the symbols that I, myself, have created.
I’m not a scientist or a mathematician, and I wonder what I can do to prevent the slowing of my cognitive skills. What can I do so that I don’t ‘lose it?’ What kind of mental and physical exercises should I be doing to stay healthy and sharp?
One day, I will experience a moment where I realize that some failure I have committed will have happened because of my age. I fear for what that moment will do to me, and how I’ll cope with it.