Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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OMG... the silver Aardvarkians

10 November 2017

I'm getting old.

Yes, my once-luxurious locks of wavy hair have thinned (okay, let's not lie, they've fled en-masse) and their deep, rich chocolate brown colour has been replaced a shade of what some might call grey, but I prefer to call "platinum blond".

Of course this aging is such a gradual process that, on a day-to-day, week-to-week and even month-to-month basis, it generally goes unnoticed.

However, I am a far different creature today than I was some 40 years ago, when you'd find me pulling all-nighters while pawing over the latest CPU instruction set manual or spinning up a tight nest of wire-wrap connections on the back of a new prototype circuit board.

To be blunt about it, I'm an old man with a 30-something man inside, fighting to get out -- but pausing for a rest at more regular intervals.

And... to my surprise, it appears that many of my readers fit the same bill.

The responses to yesterday's column was indeed a bit of an eye-opener.

It is one thing to watch yourself grow older and to become used to seeing an old man in the bathroom mirror each morning but I really don't think I was quite ready for the realisation that many of Aardvark's readers are in the same position.

It seems that the percentage of "silver former geeks" within the ranks of those readers is much higher than I'd imagined.

Since most of us came here through a shared love of and involvement with computers at an early stage of their evolution, I guess it's to be expected that many of us would be "old codgers"... but I only realise that now, on reflection.

That got me thinking... how many of the sliver-geeks out there are actually using the new-found leisure time that retirement brings, to get re-involved with tech-type stuff?

I'm pretty sure that the hard-core Aardvark readers will never have given up on getting their hands and their minds dirty with hands-on involvement in technology but has retirement brought about a renewed engagement with such things? Are you now spending more time than ever, tinkering with electronics, 3D printers, software and the like?

Or have you swapped such "intensive" activities for a more laid-back lifestyle, preferring to enjoy the benefits of such technologies so as to allow more time for newer interests?

I'd really like to know the answer to this... because perhaps it'll give me a little insight into where I'm heading as I continue down the path to oblivion that we are all walking, one step at a time. Hmm.. now that's a cheery thought eh? :-)

I wonder how many of us have actually retired at all.

It's been my observation that people with active, inquiring minds never actually retire or slow down to any appreciable degree as they age. Numerous studies have shown that active minds are far more resilient to the effects of dementia and other cognitive declines so I suspect most of us will dodge that bullet -- leaving the aficionados of TV soap operas as far better targets for that sort of thing.

So today's question is: what is the most annoying aspect of aging?

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