(No. 69) Let's love ourselves and our community, by Stephen P. Williams
Ego and aging
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash
My day was filled with interesting work. A good day. Yet I let my aging (raging) ego get the better of me.
I spent several hours on a video call with my partner at Evertunes Studio (a fancy name for just the two of us, working over Zoom), as we designed a collection of generated music and video NFTs that are a critique of the 19th century Westward Expansion. I love this work which, like so much I do, including this newsletter so far, is speculative — I might eventually make money off it, or I might not.
It’s the creating and doing that thrill me. I’ve always been that way.
Yet, during the moments when my partner was coding on our shared screen, I looked silently at my visage in the corner, displeased. My neck wattled. My hair was thin and white. My eyes were narrowed from the passing years, though once they’d been bright. I actually felt disgusted for a moment at how old I’d become. That bled into me anticipating how much older I’d look in a decade. Standard self-disrespect. No gratitude for the beautiful colors and shapes all around me. I wondered for a second whether perhaps I’d aged 20 years overnight — because I sure had felt healthy and sparkly the day before.
And that’s the point: my perception of myself is colored by so many emotional factors. The facts of my personal appearance don’t change dramatically from day to day. But my emotions can. Today I noticed that, and I was able to bring some light into the situation.
I didn’t say “you’re enough as you are,” Stephen. Because I didn’t feel that. But I was able to say, “this is who you are today.” Accepting that, even for a moment, was soothing. By the end of the video call I was so absorbed by the song we’d created that I wasn’t even aware of my insecurities. I listened to it a moment ago — it’s still good. And I’m still here.
I have some very good news.
Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash
This is the last issue of Age: The Next Everything.
In two weeks you will receive the new version of my newsletter on aging, now called Stephen’s People. I’ve chosen this seemingly solipsistic title for more generous reasons. I feel a sense of belonging with all of you, and appreciate the moments you give to my thoughts and reporting on Sunday mornings. And I value the way our community evolves forward, picking up newcomers to the art of aging along the way and losing old timers who have finished their canvas (sorry, but it’s the truth). I chose the name Stephen’s People as a way of signifying this diverse community of readers, observers and body and mind tinkerers. This is a digital village, with a meeting place, lessons to learn, and room for lots of different people, from 21 to 121. I look forward to us sharing all we learn as, day by day, we get older. I’ll be introducing some new services, such as deep information scans of the most interesting news of the week. I also hope to highlight the voices of The People (all of us). Please email me if you’d like to contribute.
In the near future I will introduce a moderately priced paid subscription plan, for those who’d like to receive more concrete info about the practical science of aging. I’ve done 68 issues gratis so far, and I’m thinking it’s time to earn a little bit. But a version of the free newsletter will also continue, so no need to panic and run for the hills with your pocketbook! I hope you’ll continue to let me share what I’m learning about getting older.
You can check out my new Instagram feed, @stephenspeople_. Here’s a sample:
More news for the people
I’ve been around so long that I built my first skateboard out of a wooden plank and the wheels from a pair of roller skates. And that’s nothing to brag about. But I’ve noticed a lot of stories and videos lately telling older people that the key to health and happiness is jumping on a deck. More power to you. Make sure you have health insurance.
Men are just as you think they are
A study finds that men generally think they look ok, giving themselves an average 5.9 on a scale of 10. But they’re also realistic: that figure declines with age.
Simple, yet effective
My lungs felt compromised for over a year after I had COVID-19, back in March, 2020. This fellow offers a good breathing program to combat the ill effects. I can testify that breathing purposefully, inhaling deeply and exhaling thoroughly, has helped me a lot.
People, let’s free ourselves from outmoded perceptions of aging
For unknown reasons, I've spelled aging, above, in the British style.
Let’s make healthy aging a universal goal
You are wonderful for reading this newsletter. I appreciate your time and brainpower, and I hope this information has served you well by either illuminating some aspects of aging, helping you feel your hidden anger, or just making you laugh.
Keep in touch, please: firstname.lastname@example.org