Friday, August 26, 2022

Remember When People Thought 50 Was Old?

My friends and siblings and I have discussed that we feel (and sometimes look) younger than our parents did at similar ages. Some of it's the increased emphasis on diet and exercise; add to that modern medicine and we can age more gracefully. 

If you're close to my age (which is 71), then your parents may have lived through the Great Depression and sorrows of World War II. Communal stress ages everyone.

We also define 'retirement' differently. Travel, new hobbies, maybe even a second (or third) career. When I swim at the Y, there are hordes of 'older' people exercising. At least a dozen white-headed people walking through my neighborhood daily -- usually more. If you're over a certain age, do you remember your parents exercising? 

And that, like most things, brings me to writing. There are plenty of young writers. However, there are also lots of people who write books after retiring.  As someone who produced a lot of stories on a typewriter, I firmly believe that the ease of production is at least partially responsible for the swelling ranks of published authors.

I started writing seriously in the mid-1980s -- first with plays and screenplays, later novels. I had a really busy first career and knew I'd have to stick with that for a good while. Sometimes when I was taking courses in fiction writing or working late to write a few more pages, I'd think of other things I could be doing. Like sleeping.

Other times, I'd be in an art museum and think of all the great talents in the world and wonder why I thought I could ever sell what I wrote. I don't know why art museums conjured that feeling more than libraries or bookstores.

The other side of that view was hockey player Wayne Gretsky's quote, which I placed near my home computer: "You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take."

I'm still aiming the puck toward the net.

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