In Praise of Fidgeting

In Praise of Fidgeting
I have often sung the praises of taking advice from our elders. Eat your vegetables – that turned out to be a good tip, proven by scientific studies to make you live longer. Get some fresh air. Go for a walk, preferably amongst greenery. Those are other oft-heard suggestions from parents and grandparents. Now this ...

Text Neck, now Birder Neck 3

Text Neck, now Birder Neck
I come to you with my head hung in shame… Correction: if I could move my neck without wincing, that would be my contrite posture. But I can’t. Not just my neck but my head and shoulders have been locked in painful spasm. I beg your forgiveness because My New Old Self aims to offer ...

Birding Lite 2

Birding Lite
I am tentatively considering taking up the hobby of birdwatching and I have Sonto Tembe to thank. This field ranger can spot any animal in the bush, but his specialty is identifying birds. I was lucky enough to be guided by Tembe on an early morning walk recently. Only later did I learn that to ...

Time in nature can make you happy 6

Time in nature can make you happy
A new study has shown that spending time in nature can make you happy. Admittedly, this wasn’t a controlled and monitored experiment. There were no randomised control trials. However, while the sample was small, the lack of quantative data is made up for by qualitative research. Here is a brief summary of the findings of this ...

Waking at night (you know why) 2

Waking at night (you know why)
More people in Africa have cellphones than toilets. This statistic comes to mind when I wake up in the middle of the night. Which often happens when you get older. There’s no gender divide on this one. Both men and women tend to experience interrupted sleep as we age. You know the reason most of ...

Healthy Aging + the Future (if we’re still here) 1

Healthy Aging + the Future (if we're still here)
“Healthy aging” is a good way to describe what we all want from life as we get older. We don’t want to be old for longer. We want to be – or at least feel – young for longer. Sure, we want longevity. As long as it comes with good physical, psychological and social health. ...

Studies show… Duh! 4

Studies show... Duh!
I love it when something I’m already doing turns out to be good for me. Especially now that I’m endlessly checking out advice on how to avoid all that bad stuff that comes with aging. My eyes are riveted by headlines such as “Chocolate protects against memory loss”. I never fail to click on links ...

Gaga can go gray but grannies can’t go Gaga 2

Gaga can go gray but grannies can’t go Gaga
It was my niece’s 13th birthday party and about a dozen 12- and 13 year-olds were playing a party game. (How heartening that children still do, when so often they’re all just staring at their phones.) The game called “Who Am I?” starts with a name stuck on your forehead (or back), then you have a limited ...

Aging, Change and History 1

Aging, Change and History
South Africa is not usually an international trendsetter but in one area the country has recently been a world leader, with the United States belatedly following its example. That is in dealing with historical symbols of racism. Nearly 150 years since American slavery was abolished by the Civil War, the US is only now getting rid of ...

Much ado about manuals 1

Much ado about manuals
What is it like to get old in South Africa? It’s okay when the lights are on – but since late last year the country has been experiencing rolling blackouts known locally as “loadshedding”. Every block in the national grid has a 2-hour daily slot without power. So you listen to the radio or check your phone app to find out if loadshedding is on. If ...