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Fischer: Not old, and not new

By Travis Fischer,

As one of the wisest philosophers of our time once said, “The years start coming and they don’t stop coming. Read through the rules and you hit the ground running.”

When I started my senior year of high school, I walked into my local newspaper office with a consumer grade digital camera and asked if they’d be interested in hiring me as a photographer.

Fischer: Not old, and not new
Travis Fischer

Who would have guessed that would have been the start of what is now a 20-year career in the newspaper industry?

Where did the time go?

I just turned 38 years old. Normally, that wouldn’t be a particularly landmark birthday. I’m well into the age where one year starts rolling into the next and each one feels shorter than the last. You know you’ve settled into adulthood when you start to recognize routines on an annual basis.

This year is different though. I’ve just left a company I’ve worked at for 15 years to take on a new job in a new city. Naturally, as a result, my normal routines have been pretty substantially disrupted.

It’s kind of wild to have such a clearly defined break in life events. As we get older, we get settled into our routines and habits. It gets harder to think about doing different things. Now I’ve got an opportunity to really reassess what it is I’m doing and where I want to go.

Taking a new job, looking at moving to a new city (not quite there yet), I may even look into going back to school to finish off my degree.

After all, I’m still young, right?


Middle age is a trip. Not quite looking at retirement yet, but definitely no longer the kid I was when I started.

I’ve always been young at heart. I never felt the need to “put away my childish things” as I grew into adulthood. Comic books, video games, fantasy novels – I’ve generally maintained an interest in the same things that captured my imagination as a kid.

That, at least, is something I have no intention of changing. What is going to take some getting used to is that a fair number of my “childish things” now appear old and archaic to the next generation.

I’ve always been a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, the 90’s Sega mascot that has seen a nice resurgence in popularity lately thanks to a successful movie and a handful of well received games. I didn’t expect to feel my own age last week when, while browsing the internet, I came across a young gamer asking if it was true that the original video game didn’t have a save feature.

Yes, young one. Back in my day you had to play the entire game in one sitting. If you lost all your lives, you got a Game Over and had to start over from the beginning. If you turned the console off, you lost everything and had to start over from the beginning. Naturally, we did this after walking home from school, up hill, both ways, in the snow.

It used to be that having a familiarity with geek culture kept me feeling young. For years I’ve written a column translating the nuances of comic book movies, technology, and other “young” inclined topics for the elder generation.

Now, all of a sudden, knowing things about a children’s video game makes me feel old.

I guess this is how it goes for everybody. I’m sure there is a reader out there who once had to explain what “Howdy Doody” was to their kids that can relate.

It’s a lot to take in, but life happens. Things change. Sometimes it happens gradually. Sometimes it happens very quickly.

It’s a strange thing to reassess who you are and what your place in the world is, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. Getting older still beats the alternative.

— Travis Fischer is a news writer for the Charles City Press and has his whole life ahead of him, … or half of it at least.

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