So today I thought I’d have a bit of an experiment with this new AI stuff that is being reported on. I created an account with OpenAI to try out their ChatGPT chatbot software.
After logging in, I made the following entry: “Things I notice about aging.” The response I got is shown here in italics.
As a language model, I don’t have personal experience with aging, but I can provide some common observations and changes associated with the aging process:
- Physical changes: As people age, they may experience changes in their physical appearance, such as gray hair, wrinkles, and age spots. They may also notice changes in their body shape and size, as well as changes in their mobility and stamina.
- Health changes: Aging can bring about changes in health, such as increased risk for chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Additionally, the immune system may weaken, making it easier to get sick or develop infections.
- Cognitive changes: As people age, they may notice changes in their cognitive abilities, such as slower reaction times, decreased memory and concentration, and reduced processing speed.
- Social changes: Aging can also bring about changes in social relationships, as friends and family members pass away or move away. Older individuals may also become more isolated, which can have negative effects on their mental health.
- Emotional changes: As people age, they may experience a range of emotions, including increased feelings of gratitude and contentment, but also sadness or anxiety related to aging, retirement, and declining health.
It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these changes in the same way, and there are steps people can take to maintain their health and well-being as they age, such as staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, engaging in social activities, and seeking medical care as needed.
After reading the response received, without being overly wordy, I decided to give my own response on each of the five points shown. As a reference, I am well into my 74th year (for whatever that may mean).
- Physical changes: Well, it seems I still have most of my hair, although it is less populated up there. As my hair has always been quite light blonde it’s hard to tell how gray it may be, however there is no question about my beard, it’s gray and lengthy (last shaved in November 2015). Have some wrinkles, and yes, a few age spots. My basic body shape has essentially unchanged for many years as I have been overweight most of my life, although the underside of my upper arms has gained some extra motion when I shake them. Mobility and stamina will be covered under the next item.
- Health changes: I have developed arthritis, slightly in both knees, majorly in my left hip, which is awaiting a complete hip replacement (maybe this year). These of course affect my mobility, and combined with my weight, causes my stamina is affected to some degree. After many tests, the ticker seems to be working well, albeit being just a little weak. Circulation in my lower legs is not great, necessitating the wearing of compression stockings daily. (I look at it as providing a little extra leg protection when on my motorcycle.) Interestingly enough, my immune system remains strong and has a habit of telling sickness and infections to generally “buggar off” (and usually they do).
- Cognitive changes: Not sure how my reaction times have changed, as I can still get really mad at myself or my computer in just an instant. In other areas though, like driving, my reactions are good, although my responses have become more tempered and experiences learned over the years have provided me with the knowledge that “stupid is as stupid does” and getting pissed off at it ain’t gonna help. One area I really notice a change though is in my memory. I often say, tongue in cheek, that I suffer from “part-timers”, where I forget things part of the time. This can be so frustrating. For example, I can be talking about someone, can see their face in my mind clear as anything, and their name will not come to me. Then sometime after the conversation is done, Bing, there is the name. Aargh!
- Social changes: This is definitely an interesting one. I have lost, and continue to lose, my share of friends or family as they die (I’m not always comfortable with the term “pass away”), and it can create a major change when they are gone. I’m the oldest member of our family line, and have been for the last ten years. I stopped working when I retired for the final time just over four years ago changing my social interactions somewhat. I’ve been a member of Kiwanis since 2001 and a couple of motorcycle organizations since 2017 along with a Canadian Veterans group. However, the kicker came in 2019, when COVID basically said, “y’all just stay home and forget about any social life”. This has been a hard one to recover from as many folks are a bit “gun-shy” and are still not ready to get out and meet other people again. It takes time for sure. It also shows up in the fact that although we were in the habit of traveling to Malaysia to visit our family and friends, pretty much every year, we have not been since early 2020 and probably not until 2024. Not seeing two of our daughters and seven grandchildren is hard.
- Emotional changes: A couple of expressions that have been around for many years are, “real men don’t eat quiche” and “real men don’t cry”. Well, for me, I’ve loved quiche all my life, however the crying thing has really come to the fore in the last ten to fifteen years. TV, movies, and real life all have, at times, the ability to open up the tear ducts. Guess older eyes need more lubrication. With regard to feelings of gratitude and contentment, I know that I’m grateful to still be looking at grass from the green side and to have Kim, the love of my life, at my side. Also very grateful for her patience with yours truly (I’m sure it must be sorely tested at times). Can’t say I have a great deal of anxiety or sadness with growing old, however I will admit to occasions of frustration when I find that I am unable to do something I’ve done all my life. Having said that, I’m thinking that I’m not quite over the hill yet, so let’s press on.
Okay, there you have it. Some thoughts about aging. Is that everything? Of course not, however you do get the general idea of what goes on in my head.
So, what goes on in your head? I invite you to share with me, and others who read this blog post, your thoughts or experiences about aging.
Thanks for reading. Catch you again in a future post.