Earlier in the week, a blog troll commented on my advanced age and apparent inability to engage in effective argument. I let the comment stand until he returned to the comments posing as me. As the email address in his original comment was fictitious – troll’s seem to have the courage of their convictions right up to being willing to actually stand behind their comments – I applied my troll rule to it and then IP banned him for the posing. (As he was commenting from a CrackBerry, I might have banned all comments from the RIM servers – an understandable mistake for someone as old as me.)
The attack on my age was interesting. In a recent consulting meeting, I was told by a thirty-something that few people my age were as technologically astute and blog aware as I was. It wasn’t said as a compliment – but rather as an attempt to shut down my argument that the net was the principal place for us to focus our communication energies. The thirty-something wanted us to focus our energies on the print medium as people my age were more comfortable with print than the interweb. I pointed him at a specific Monday Memo from Roy Williams that would challenge his opinion.
Like most people in their middle age (I’m 51), I don’t view myself as old (in spite of my occasional comment to the contrary). And I confess to being surprised when it is used against me. I appreciate what Doc Searls, in his post, Getting Restarted says about his age,
What’s different now is that I’m far more capable, energetic, optimistic and eager to change the world at 59 than I ever was at any earlier age. And I can’t imagine not feeling this way for the duration. Or I won’t. (What’s the upside to pessimism?)
I’m also sure my 20-year-old self (bad student, barely scraping through college, imagining no clear career opportunities, worrying about the sorry state of the world, heading toward an too-early and ill-considered marriage) would be gratified that this is where I am now, even if it took so damn long.
I have no sense that my ability to be a productive member of society has in anyway diminished. (However, I have displayed some curmudgeon-like tendencies that need to be brought into check.) Hopefully, the full bandwidth experience of my life, from incredible highs to incredible lows and everything in between will allow me to effectively contribute to both the Generous Web and the 3D world I live in.
My age doesn’t seem to determine my preferences in music either. I’ve just asked two of my three teenagers whether I could join them for the Switchfoot concert in Toronto at the end of February. (The other child won’t be a teenager any longer when Switchfoot plays in Ottawa – where he’s going to school.) I’m a sucker for killer guitar sounds, great voices and catchy arrangements. (I’ll let you know what the teenagers say. If they let me join them, I’ll buy the tickets. If not, they’re on their own.)