I feel like I am always talking/writing about aging lately, which makes sense because I think about aging so frequently these days, at least inasmuch as I’m able to focus on any one topic for any length of time on account of how foggy and distracted my brain always feels which seems potentially like an aging thing?

(Or a pandemic thing. Or a menopause thing. Or a clickbait-culture thing. SO MANY THINGS.)

One glance at this long-running blog and it’s clear that self-absorption has been my jam from the getgo, but I don’t think I am obsessively focused on aging, exactly. I think the middle-age years are a natural time to kind of … really look at your life, you know?

If you’re a parent your kids may be transforming into sulky adult-sized humans whose dependence on you is now reduced to requests for Hi-Chew to be added to the grocery order, and the empty-nest view is no longer blurry and unimaginable but right there in front of you. If you work outside the home you may be re-evaluating your career and goals and maybe even your definition of success. If you’re a female person with a body you’re probably noticing all sorts of increasingly dramatic changes, none of which are endorsed or even accepted by the cultural beauty standards we’ve all marinated in for pretty much our entire lives.

There are things I don’t enjoy about aging, like for instance the observable physical decline (example: I very briefly broke out into a run on the beach during our spring break getaway and my right glute was like RUNNING? OH HO HO I THINK NOT, and over a month later it’s still mildly bothersome, which seems like a lot of punishment for approximately 4 seconds of jogging), and of course the no-longer-abstract knowledge that children are little for such a short amount of time and that time is now gone forever, excuse me while I get all red-nosed and watery-eyed as always happens lately whenever I think about that fact which is distressingly often.

Anyway. Plenty to bitch about, but so many more things that are actually legitimately wonderful about getting older. I feel like I really know myself now, and I mean who I am as a person and what kinds of challenges and situations and friendships and environments I find most rewarding, but also, like, what style of clothes work best for me? (A-line dress is most flattering, empire waist is a forever no.)

Overall there’s this sense of shift towards what is most meaningful, at least that’s how I perceive it. For instance, my thinking on fitness has changed so much in recent years, veering away from vanity-based motivation to a longer-view approach: I stay active and I work on flexibility because I want to be able to do all the things I love doing (which excludes running, obvs) for as long as possible. I mean, I wouldn’t mind if I could fit into 2019’s pants again while I’m at it, but that’s not the main thing anymore.

That aforementioned brain fog isn’t so great, but I’ll tell you what, even that has its upsides: entire books, movies, and TV series have largely disappeared into the ether of my memory which means they can be enjoyed all over again as if they were new. Plus, if something’s bumming me out, eventually *squirrel!* my attention is drawn elsewhere.

I noticed a thing recently when I was playing Beat Saber (the VR game I’ve been blatting on and on about), and in order to describe it I have to show you what the game looks like, so here is a GIF of actress Brie Larson playing it on The Tonight Show for some reason:

You see how the blocks are coming at her, and that there is space between the procession of blocks as they advance: first it’s this one, then it’s that one, and so on. (There’s also space between them horizontally, but I’m referring to the speed at which they travel.)

In more difficult modes the speed is greatly increased and therefore the blocks are pretty much flying at you, bam bam bambambam.

When I first started looking at the harder modes I couldn’t even see that space between the blocks; they appeared to be coming at me so quickly my brain could not catch up. The blocks were moving in a kind of blur that didn’t visually resolve in time for me to make any kind of decision — like trying to follow a directional sign as you go roaring by at 200 MPH.

But now that I’ve been playing for a while, I can see that distance plain and clear. It’s not a matter of having memorized the patterns of a particular song, either, it’s just straight-up a perception shift. Even when I’m playing unfamiliar songs those blocks now appear to have more distance. The better I get at the game, the more time I seem to have to recognize and react.

It’s as though the blocks are now moving more slowly than they did before, which of course isn’t true in the sense that however Beat Saber’s digital element movement is quantified (I assume it involves the kind of math that also has, like, letters), it remains the same during each same-mode play-through. The thing that changed was me.

Okay, sorry, I do realize this is sounding like I’m gearing up for an absolutely idiotic wrap-up, like if we would only search the Beat Saber distance of our hearts, blah blah blah fishcakes.

I just thought it was interesting, and yes, fine, maybe a little inspiring. A thing I saw one way that seemed impossible, and then the way I saw the thing changed, and therefore so too did its impossibility.

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