13 September 2007

What we like is who we are

Have you noticed how we make up our minds about things? This seems to me sometimes the most profound thing about aging. Everyone talks about the aphasia and the aches and pains, but in noticing my daughter's and hence my own sensory likes and dislikes, I'm thinking there's something else that calcifies, too.

I thought of this when I was attaching my iPod, sliding cords under my shirt and clipping them to its edge. Some people would hate all those cords. They wouldn't ever think a portable stereo was worth it because of all of the stuff clattering around their bodies.

And I notice that my ability to screen background noise is poorer by the day; all the same, I still have my high threshold for loud music. My self-knowledge has helped me do things like wear earplugs on flights to mute the loud engine sounds so I arrive more rested, even after shorter flights, and I wear noise-canceling headphones when I vacuum, but I still find myself picking loud restaurants and regretting it later.

My preference for quiet -- especially when I am not at my best -- gets more acute as I age, I notice. I don't mind a bunch of cords hanging from my head and neck, but I never get in a shower before it's hot. And I know people who can talk endlessly about whether their extremities get cold or what they snack on before bed and it's only going to get more so as I go on.

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