OPINION | GARY SMITH: As the calendar turns, self-examination suggests why we don’t do more of it

New year inspires (limited) introspection

With the old year safely behind us and another notch on the birthday gun belt about to hit, it seemed to me like as good a time as any to do a quick inventory. Unless, of course, I realized you shouldn't ask the question if you don't want to know the answer. Which is fast becoming the case.

I tend to keep these things pretty high level, since digging into the details just reveals somewhat unpleasant truths best either ignored or discussed with medical professionals (and then ignored).

And while not necessarily in depth, the inventory is a little bit more extensive than what I tend to do every morning. My morning review is, basically, "Am I actually vertical or do I just think I am, and if so, how long does that look like it's going to continue?"

Since there are still some demands on my time (attendance, at least to some degree, generally being required at most places of employment) the answer to that question likely needs to be something other than "who cares?" But that day is coming.

Still a quick inventory, running from lowlights to highlights seems to be in order. And it's important to understand just how much of my current state is new and how much of it is a long-standing issue.

For example, my knees. Shot, but shot for some time. I've reached the point where it's not "if" but "when" on at least one of them moving on to wherever knees go when they're not on the team anymore. Though, in truth, it hasn't felt like either of them have been "on the team" for some time now.

My back: Again, not great, but not great for some time. Apparently there is no option to replace, so I may just have to go with what I've got until I get to my overall expiration date.

Hearing, bad and never good. Eyesight, see "Hearing." And realize that if I physically had to do it, I likely couldn't.

Hair and teeth, on the other hand, are OK. Grey (the hair, not the teeth, though, with the eyesight issues, I could be wrong), but I've been told that, thanks to my hair, I look like George Clooney from the eyebrows up. So, I've got that going for me. Which is a lot like saying my earlobes look like Brad Pitt's. I mean, nice, but probably not exactly what draws people to either of them.

With those out of the way, I can start focusing on slightly bigger-picture issues. My memory, for instance. It's not ... wait, what was I talking about? Yeah, I know, cheap joke. But I'm in journalism, so cheap jokes are likely all I can afford.

Still, I have discovered I tend to forget things. Like why I came into this room. Or what I planned to do once I got there. Or how to get out. OK, that I still know how to do, but you get the point.

However, the question becomes, is this a new thing or a lifelong issue? And what were we talking about again? I know, I know, wasn't that funny the first time and isn't getting any better. I'll have to remember that.

Which leads us back to the original question. And, again, if I'm being honest, I've got to admit it might be a little hard putting my finger on exactly when my memory started to go. I've failed to pick up at least one of my children at school enough times that there might have been some lasting psychological scars if it weren't for the fact that, when I did get there, he was playing basketball with a fairly large group of students whose parents may have also missed a box on the checklist.

Now that's odd, because I do have a very good memory for some very arcane things. I hate to admit knowing Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover were both Quakers and professional golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez's first name is Juan takes precedent over remembering to pick my kid up from school. But ... there it is.

So rather than try to pretend my forgetfulness is a new thing, I bravely embrace the fact that I've always been forgetful. Which allows me to virtual signal my humility.

You've heard of a humble brag? Well, I'm bragging about being humble.

Which means that my knees, back, hearing and eyes may be shot, but I do have one thing going for me.

My ego is still very much intact.

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