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Friday, May 24, 2013

Quinquagenarian: quin·qua·ge·nar·i·an (kw ng kw -j -nâr - n). n.

octogenarian: someone in their 80s
septuagenarian: someone in their 70s
sexagenarian: someone in their 60s
quinquagenarian: someone in their 50s

As of today, I am officially a quinquagenarian. I was kind of hoping it would be quintogenarian, since I like Zachary Quinto's portrayal of the new, younger Spock, but you can't have it all.

That may actually be one of the toughest life lessons I've learned. See, I want it all, and I want it NOW. No, really. Delayed gratification is a real skill these days with our instant-everything society. Heck, I was telling my brother about the water damage to our ceiling today (hot water heater sprung a leak - quite a mess) and I was able to a) take a picture of the ceiling damage from where I was sitting, b) using my tablet, and c) send it to him immediately through email. I suppose I could have turned on the webcam feature and let him see it in real time. That would have been the ultimate in instant communication. Being as old as I am though, it didn't occur to me to do something *that* fast.

Twenty-five years ago, when I was twenty-five, we didn't have tablets with cameras in them. We didn't even have digital cameras. The closest we had to instant pictures was a Polaroid camera, and even then you had to be present to see them. No internet in my house; NSFNET wasn't created until the next year, and my first PC was a Commodore 64. I fell in love with layout, desktop publishing, making newsletters... if only I could have figured out how to make a living doing that stuff, I would have been on top of the world. BBS and email, however, were some time away yet.

One thing I've learned recently is how to crochet. Not only do I have to wait for the finished product, but I have to actually work for it. Not that it feels like work. I find it as fun and relaxing as desktop publishing. Maybe I'll open an Etsy shop... but I digress.

There are some real drawbacks to instant communication. It's far too easy to type something and hit Enter without stopping to think about it first. You think you're being funny, or clever, or smart, or what have you... and the person on the other end reads it in an entirely different way. Hence the creation of emoticons, which can also be misinterpreted. It's almost like living in a small town in a way; everyone thinks they know everyone else's dirty secrets because - oops - everyone forgets just how many people their Facebook or Twitter posts can go to, and just how fast it can reach them all.

Still, I have to admit that I love being able to have instant access to news updates, what family and friends are up to, a new recipe or DIY hint for killing mold and mildew; the list goes on and on. As long as you're careful about which sources you trust you can get some really good information. The world is at our fingertips... or something like that.

So anyway - where was I going with this? I'm not sure. Getting old and forgetful, you know. Basically, I'd like to say I'm happy to get over sixty eighty happy birthday messages and be able to "Like" and/or respond to them all in a few minutes time. On the other hand, I worked long and hard to earn my quinquagenarian status, and I'm proud of it. I wouldn't trade away one day of it for all the instant gratification in the world.

My heartfelt thanks to every single one of you who have been a part of my life at some point in the past fifty years. I hope you'll hang around for at least the next ten... can't wait to see what it's like to be a sexagenarian!