Blake Snow

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How to stay young at heart (aka “aging gracefully”): Don’t knock it ’till you try it

credit: dungeons and dragons

credit: dungeons and dragons

Growing old is a weird as you imagined it. Not that any young readers ever think about getting old. As a tenderfoot, I certainly didn’t. Yolo!

In any case, onset aging baffles me. The body can’t move like it used to. The brain increasingly forgets things. And it’s perplexing to watch younger generations do things in ways you and your contemporaries can’t relate.

Take Let’s Play videos, for instance—one of the most popular and fastest growing types of television. Also called playthroughs, they work like this: A usually male, early twenty-something records himself offering play-by-play commentary on whatever video game’s in front of him. Some playthrough commentators such as Felix Kjellberg of Sweden, for example, reach a weekly audience of 39 million viewers (!) and make a reported $12 million per year. #BigBusiness

My reaction: When I was your age, we used to play video games instead of watching strangers doing so online! Admittedly, this is a twenty-first century incarnation of “Stay off my lawn!” “Pull up your baggy pants,” or “Get a job, hippy!” By thinking this, I realize I’m showing my age.

Deborah Moore examined the phenomenon recently while trying to persuade her 11-year old daughter to actively play games instead of passively watching them. (Imagine that, gen-xers—a parent struggling to encourage her child to play more video games.)

“The whole concept seemed bizarre to me,” writes Moore in the latest issue of Utah Geek Magazine. “For months, I tried to steer [my daughter] away from these videos. But finally, I accepted that she loved them and sat down with her to watch and give them a real chance. It didn’t take long to see why she loved them.”

As Moore soon discovered, her daughter was using Let’s Play videos to commune with like-minded people, discover new games, and maybe even enjoy some good ole fashioned toilet humor—a staple of many Let’s Play videos. Even though Moore admits to not understanding playthroughs’ appeal, she respects their place in this brave new world and even manages to bridge the generational gap by trying them.

“If I want my daughter to understand my interests, it helps if I’m willing to listen to hers,” she concludes. “Sometimes we may even gain a new interest together. If not, at least we learn a bit more tolerance.”

Bravo! If only more “old people” were so daring.