Getting old isn’t all that bad, come to think of it.

There was a question on my local Facebook page asking for suggestions about local pediatricians. I suddenly realized … I don’t know any pediatricians. Considering my son is 48 and my granddaughter is 21, that ought to be no big surprise … but it was. I don’t remember exactly when I became free of worrying about “kid stuff.” As long as Kaity was a child, it was still part of my world, if only indirectly. But now … it’s finished.

I’m no longer worried about the routes for school buses. I’m not looking for a great playground — or wondering how many pairs of shoes the child will need this year. I may be wondering whether or not I can afford to get her a better camera, but that’s a grown up concern. No more am I wrapped in the world of children.

Do I miss it?

Are you kidding?

I won’t be packing lunch or overseeing homework assignments. I will not have to listen to the kid lying about how he did his homework during study hall and trying to decide whether to call him on it, or say “fuck it” and move on.

I won’t need to update my résumé. I won’t be commuting to a faraway office or planning a vacation based on a two-week vacation schedule. I might not get any vacation, but on the positive side of that equation, I don’t really need a vacation. A short break to visit friends will do nicely.

I will probably only set my alarm half a dozen times during the coming year.

There are worse things than being old. Retirement. Way to go!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

37 thoughts on “COME TO THINK OF IT”

  1. Can only agree, although my grandchild has only just arrived but they don’t live next door. As a golden oldie the biggest excitement seems to be to hear what the doctor has to say and deciding what to cook for lunch. An elderly lady we knew had a pediatrician to cut her toenails – the shape of things to come? I hope not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are lucky we have a virtual world. It would be a very dull place without it, that is for sure.

      I’m going to try Tai Chi because it is for seniors. You can actually do it sitting down if you can’t hold your balance — and sometimes, I really can’t.

      I am so hoping this thing goes back into remission because I can’t take any more medication. I’m taking so much stuff already. I sent you a couple of links that looked interesting about new medications. If they have them anywhere, I bet they have them in Switzerland. I know money is a Swiss thing, but so is medicine. A lot of our medications come from you guys. And at least one of those new meds sounds like it might actually improve life. Yes, we have medical issues and yes, they aren’t going to disappear and they will probably get worse — but hopefully very slowly.

      I know a lot of people a lot younger than us who have issues as bad or worse. If you lived closer, we could hang out. At least we can be in touch. This is nothing short of a miracle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did Tai Chi for a few years, but is something you can easily do at home with DVD. There are various systems. We were in the softer course which was quite good. I I got your mails and am having a look, will be back. Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I wonder if we’ll get back to the guilds? We seem to be able to mass produce a lot of crap but the really fine stuff takes an artisan.


        1. Sadly the days of Guilds are gone. 😦

          AI/computer aided design/robots can now follow and reproduce any action a single artist does. In a very short time the AI will allow the robot to be able to independently create better than any human artist currently can. Machines are ‘developing’ at a rate unmatchable by us mere mortals.

          Machines are and will become creative in such fields as cooking, painting, music, movie-making, sculpture, architecture, surgery environmentalism and, most frighteningly of all, robot design!

          Basically they will do anything we can think of doing, better and faster and cheaper than we can.

          We’d better all enjoy retirement because there won’t be any other option than the permanent one.

          Maybe the owners of the AI will be magnanimous and give all humans whatever they want that robots produce for free – since we won’t have jobs to pay for anything? Then we could have Utopia, maybe??


          Liked by 1 person

          1. Here, I disagree. Yes, you can get AI to “create” art, but it won’t be real art. There is a human aspect to art that AI will never get. You can argue about this till we are both blue in the face, but art is a human thing. You can have AI create pretty pictures and you can have it imitate various styles, but it has no heart and without heart, it is NOT art. It’s like the fake pictures they sell in department stores. They will decorate your wall, but they have no soul.


            1. That’s a strong ‘human’ bias you are revealing there Spike! 😉

              Would you say a (photograph/picture of a) beautiful sunset or flower has ‘soul’? Are they not ‘works of art’?

              AI will develop from it’s current infancy so fast it will stun us and it will be a life unto itself and will be able to ‘appreciate’ art design and symmetry/beauty in a way akin to, but unlike, ours.

              Their art will then have machine ‘soul’ which we may or may not consider equivalent to our own, or perhaps even superior to our own?

              This could easily happen in my lifetime.



            1. Not so much ‘confidence’ as fear of the inevitable, Leslie. 😉

              It has taken nature the best part of 3 billion years to produce us and all we have ‘achieved’ in the human lifetime. It has taken man a mere 70 or so to create machine brains and bodies from ‘scratch’ that are currently capable of copying or out-thinking and outperforming any manual labour task or game-playing functions we humans possess. Compare the rate of progress and development of man vs man-machine and you are forced to the conclusion that machines must become superior to us in every possible way in this century.

              A human baby learns through trial end error from it’s environment but is limited by biologic factors. Machines are now doing much the same without the biologic limits and with very smart human intervention/supplementation, with the goal of creating things to ‘serve’ us in our human needs. Unfortunately we are not limiting the machines solely to this end but teaching them how to improve themselves BY themselves – that is what worries me the most – well, that and the fact that we are currently making computers an indispensible factor in every aspect of human activity and they are capable of recording and analysing all of it for their own benefit/improvement.

              I wonder what will become of our human spirit when machines have developed something far superior?

              It may be worth considering that our own brain, of which we are justifiably proud of it’s many unmatched abilities is simply a collection of a large number of very simple cells that have the ability to form multiple connections with each other, all having very simple chemical reactions to generate minute electrical impulses.

              That is all the human spirit is – in the end – just chemical interactions and tiny currents of electrons. It basically comes down to the scale/numbers. Technology has reached the point where we can more than match the biologic with the technologic and it is speeding up, not slowing down.


              Liked by 1 person

              1. When Ai produces an original piece of art the quality of a Tintoretto, or piece of music that moves the human spirit in the manner of Chopin I will believe you. I don’t think that is going to happen.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. The musical skills of Chopin, Mozart, Puccini and Tintorello and their peers number amongst we humans at far less than one in every million of us. Few of us will ever develop such a talent.

                  AI already has the abilities to create music pieces better than one in every two of us, possibly less.

                  By 2050 it will be capable of works that far surpass our greatest composers – even in our opinion, far less their own opinions and their emotions. 😉 (if they choose to write works for our tastes as well as their own, that is!)

                  Ditto for art.

                  I can’t see it not happening – i may not like it but i cannot stop it.



                  1. Define brilliant. We have had AI music for years and it ALWAYS sounds canned. It’s pretty, as background music. But that’s it. No, it is NOT as good.

                    Art which is copied is not art. It is copied. Even if it is changed slightly to make it “unique,” it is copied and will never be more than that. It will never have meaning, or resonance, or depth because a machine HAS NO RESONANCE, MEANING OR DEPTH. It can make the pictures and the music “pretty.” But it cannot do more because it has nothing more to give.


                    1. I never mentioned the word brilliant? But since you asked i would define brilliance as the act of taking something or things already known and reorganising them in such a way as to produce something not previously known that can be of practical or theoretical benefit and can then be extended/used by other (less brilliant) minds.

                      What do YOU think AI music is? We’ve had it for years? Really?

                      I’m not talking about copying art – i’m talking about a machine that collects vast numbers of musical works and compares them to people’s ratings/likes/dislikes to determine the basic properties of ‘good’ music and then uses it’s own ‘intelligence’ to produce samples (musical works) that might best fit with people’s musical taste – pretty much like a human musician would do except the human has the advantage of inherently knowing what music it likes personally – we may be a decade or so away from having machines with the same ability, for now the machine has to make do with collected human rankings of musical tastes.

                      Have a listen to this piece: – the first AI pop song. (This is this machines FIRST published effort. It can only get better by orders of magnitude.)



                    2. No, I don’t think so. I am absolutely SURE this will please you. I’m sure it would please a lot of people. That doesn’t make it art. If it isn’t created by a human being, it is not art. It cannot be art. It isn’t human and thus IT ISN’T ART. It’s just mechanics combined with statistics.


                    3. Absolutely SURE this would please me???????? You REALLY don’t understand me at ALL it seems, Spike.
                      😦 😦

                      I’m TRYING to WARN people about AI, not support it!

                      I just want people to wake UP to what other humans are doing/creating (in the fallacious idea that the average human life will somehow be better because of it) and of the potential outcomes… but as usual, by the time they do (if they do) it will already be far, far too late 😦



                    4. Well, if you keep promoting this like it’s great stuff, exactly what do you expect me to think? Seriously, you SAID this is great stuff, so I have to — being on the other side of the world — assume it really IS something you like. If it isn’t, then say what you mean. I only know what you tell me. The rest of your life is a blank secret.

                      And no — it didn’t sound like you were warning me. It sounds very much like you are telling me “this is the way it is going to be and there is nothing you can do about it.” If that is NOT what you mean, then you really have to reread what you said and figure out how to say it so we get THAT point. Because it’s not what I got and I’m pretty sure it didn’t come across that way to anyone else, either.

                      Remember: writing doesn’t give voice quality. It doesn’t give nuance. It is, by the way, WHY you can’t make AI into art. Nuance is EVERYTHING in art. That many people don’t get art is just one of those things. More people would get it if they had an opportunity to experience it, but many people don’t get that chance growing up. If you DO get it, it will never leave you and you would never believe for a minute that anyone who cares about art would even look at or listen to or read something written by ANY kind of AI.

                      On the other hand, there are people who buy their living room art in department stores with their furniture. They will get a better version of the same crap they always got.


                    5. We’d better all enjoy retirement because there won’t be any other option than the permanent one.
                      Not so much ‘confidence’ as fear of the inevitable, Leslie. 😉
                      AI will develop from it’s current infancy so fast it will stun us and it will be a life unto itself…
                      I can’t see it not happening – i may not like it but i cannot stop it.

                      Forgive me for not making my feelings clearer – i do that sometimes. it’s a hard line between informing people and pissing them off, i find!

                      I hardly think i SAID it was Great but i confess to a certain amount of AWE (as in fear, not reverance) of what mankind (science) has done in so short a time with regards AI/AGI/ASI. I pretty much think that this is indeed what our species (without the consent or knowledge of many of us) is going to do and i don’t see how it can be prevented. 😦

                      I understand and largely agree with the amended part of your last comment.

                      And just in case there is any doubt… i’m still your friend, even if you don’t know much about me – you know the most important parts.



                    6. I think you will find that the knowledgeable will buy art from artists as they always have. Art has never been a mass issue. Most people have never gone to an art gallery and think anyone who does is a snob. They don’t understand why anyone needs art or wants it. They don’t look at blank walls and think of the magic art will make when they find the right pieces I don’t think people who love art will change and the rest never cared in the first place.

                      Did you know there are more horses in the world today than there were 100 years ago? Saddles cost more and more people ride. They also drive cars. Just because there is something new, technologically, doesn’t mean other stuff disappears or even becomes less common. Stuff can and does live side by side. Vinyl records are making a major comeback with ultra expensive records and cartridges. Old is new. You need not assume that because other things are possible that we are all going to toss what we love in the trash and move on. It’s not like getting a new telephone. Art is of the heart. Music is love. We have pop and we listen to Beethoven … and I’m betting we always will. We WILL read our favorite books and authors. Remember how 3-D was going to replace regular movies? Funny about that, eh?


                  2. Technical brilliance is nothing more than high class mechanics. Music IS NOT MECHANICS. Art IS NOT MECHANICS. Feeling. Understanding. Depth of emotion. Connection to human emotion. THESE are what make it art, not mechanical performance on an instrument. That you do not “get” this shows that you do not “get” art. I’m sure AI can already produce perfect mechanics … BUT THAT ISN’T MUSIC AND IT ISN’T ART AND IT ISN’T WHAT ART OR MUSIC ARE ABOUT. That’s how you can tell Rembrandt’s student copyists from Rembrandt. Even though he taught them and they got every stroke right, you can ALWAYS tell that they were NOT him.


                    1. No-one can be Rembrandt but Rembrandt! Anyone can (in theory) be equally as brilliant as Rembrandt and create works of their own of similar quality – see: Da Vinci, Titian, Van Gogh, Picasso, Whistler, Reubens, etc etc and these are just some of the European artists.

                      AI is NOT about mechanics – it is about recreating human dynamics by analyzing human data (Big Data) so as to be able to generate human-like outcomes (from non-human ‘organisms’). People are really trying to (are succeeding in) create a non-biologic device that we humans will accept and interact with and so are trying to make them just like us (only with the ability to grow much faster and far beyond what we ourselves can do!) The machines are learning FROM us and about us (Thanks Google and facebook!) and are teaching themselves. Most of us really do not GET what AI (ASI) means!

                      If computing was the beginning (baby stage), AI is early school age (where we wre currently), AGI is teenage and ASI is adult age, in comparison to us humans.

                      We have seen nothing yet, and yet we are already at the stage where humans find it very hard to tell a human from a machine face to face and nearly impossible over a telephone!

                      The next couple of decades will blow our tiny human ego-biased minds.



                    2. Human-like dynamics are not human dynamics. Art is human. It is not machine derived. Sorry. I am NOT going to agree with you no matter how many different ways you repeat the same thing.


                    3. No Problem! 🙂

                      Every human is different, so ‘human’ dynamics is a spectrum not a fixed point.

                      Things can fit somewhere in any spectrum.



  2. I am with you 100%. Had a strange question or at least a question that caused me to feel strange when I interviewed a new doctor yesterday. She is young and wonderful but when I said I retired from nursing in 2011 she asked me if I liked being retired, and you know for a moment I wasn’t sure what to say. Finally I stuttered my way to ‘I am happy’ but wondered….oh dear this answer is getting long enough to be a blog…I am with you 100%


  3. The only time we set an alarm clock is when we have to get up to make the airport at an ungodly hour! And I’m not even retired yet. But my job allows me to show up whenever I want to. Sometimes I’m even out of town on vacation and no one knows. I like it this way!


  4. Nice to hear an optimistic tone! 😉

    Keep it up – just don’t overdo it 🙂

    I always thought work/raising kids sucked big time – we’re better off without them. 😉



    1. In 2006, we were declaring bankruptcy. There was nowhere to go but up.

      As for children, I’m very glad I had my son and my granddaughter. I’m also glad to not have to worry about them anymore. But I’ve never regretted having them.

      Liked by 1 person

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