Outpaced

It has happened and I could not have imagined it.  I have finally hit that age where the world I identified with is outpacing me.  I remember years ago when the music seemed to change for me. I always enjoyed the classics along with new sounds; then what I thought were the new sounds were already the classics.

Now I find myself liking older man clothes and wearing sizes I always imagined being too big because my belly tends to cooperate with my mouth too much while eating.  I also have less of a tendency to want to follow trends and could care less about setting them.  Well, that's not totally true; some trends still seem cool, unless "cool" is no longer cool to say either.

I said "dude" the other day, a word that comes and goes from my vocabulary, and wondered when I quit saying that so often.  I was speaking to a younger cousin last year about new books I had read and he replied that he had read them as a kid. "Man, when did you get so old," I thought to myself.  Wait a minute, do people still say the word "man"?

It doesn't end there.  The cities, the towns, the highways, the small back roads are more populated than ever.  I was in my late twenties/early thirties when I first noticed this change.  Once pastures are now teeming with tract houses and apartment complexes, strip malls, theaters, hotels, etc.  It's difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that there are children growing up to whom this will be normal.

When I was that age I remember my grandfather driving me around pointing out all he places he, my grandmother, father and aunt had once lived.  Not so many years ago I drove around to places I once lived as well.  Instead of the home I lived in after being born, now there stood a church, the second home I lived in remained though the outside was changed by new ownership over the years.  Some apartments I lived in had fared well; others looked a little run down. I guess some areas of town were kinder than others during the passing of time.

There are days when I feel a little like those apartments, even though at age 42 I am still less than half the age my grandparents lived to be.  Sometimes I think about what they saw in their lifetimes and begin to realize just what I've seen in mine.  I can't imagine a technological pace that continues to double as quickly as it does now; let alone such an event as a technological singularity occurring; that is if it hasn't in some way occurred already.

For all the progress, I also feel like that cover of MIT's Technology Review with Buzz Aldrin and the words, "You Promised Me Mars Colonies. Instead, I Got Facebook." was right on target.  I am glad to see a private company beginning to ferry supplies and hopefully soon people to the International Space Station.  I think it's cool that at least two companies have now formed with plans to mine asteroids.  I like the idea of space ports being built in multiple places in the United States and in other countries for space tourism and further exploration.

But when I think back to the time before the Internet, and cellphones, before the space shuttle came and went, before cars had computers (never mind my first Coleco ADAM, or IBM PC/XT clone desktop computer); way back when I watched a black and white television in my childhood bedroom, or marveled at the first time I watched an Estes rocket fire...well I might as well say it; even at only 42 I feel quite ancient when I think about the world this younger generation is getting to experience.  

They will know so much more than I can imagine.