The Lesson In Authenticity From Leeroy Jenkins

A great-grandmother fesses up

Joanne Reid
Dec 17, 2019 · 4 min read

Age is a number. Age is a state of mind. 80 is the new 60. 60 is the new 40. Don’t trust anyone over 30.

How important is age anyway?

When I was 50, I was teaching various software programs for an IBM company in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A young person asked me how someone my age knew anything about computers. It is a natural aptitude I have. I told her that I had invented computers.

I have prided myself on keeping up with the times and the memes but over the weekend, I saw this clip:

In the background, I hear a voice saying, Leeroy Jenkins. The reason I saw this is, that is my grandson playing Smite and the voice in the background is my son. I always prided myself on our shared computer geekhood but I failed to understand what they were laughing at here.

Who was Leeroy Jenkins? Was he one of the Jenkins boys from back home? No.

So I Googled Leeroy. This is a long explanation of who he is:

And a short one:

Okay, to be completely honest, I have never played World of Warcraft so it took me a while to catch on. But at that moment I knew that I had slipped the surly bonds of youth.

I had to embrace the youth I had and the middle age to which I now aspire. My intention was to write about this after coffee this morning. But first, I read Helen Cassidy Page’s story on why she started a new writing gig at 80 years old.

Helen really celebrates her age. I yap on endlessly about being authentic and think I reveal all my truths.

But I realized that I have been hiding my age, not necessarily from the world, but from myself. William Lyon Mackenzie King was the prime minister when I was born. Harry Truman was the United States President. George the 6th was king of England.

I remember beatniks, the Bay of Pigs, the Cold War, the Beatles' first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. I have learned that life is a neverending procession of delights and I always wanted to live in the moment. I was in a rush to know it all as fast as I could. I remember working on my MA in history and in desperation to read as many books as I could as fast as I could, I read the introduction and conclusion and a couple of reviews so I could absorb the gist of the book.

It is not a way of learning I would recommend. Learning should be savored. Being a Jill of all trades and the mistress of none may make for ease of conversation at a cocktail party but it does not make a person wise or knowledgeable or focused.

Why Have I Been Hiding My Age?

To begin with, I didn’t realize that I was. I never was a makeup-wearing snappy dresser. I didn’t pay much attention to how I looked, or even how I acted in public. Life was about having fun and spending time with friends. I had my first grandchild when I was 40 and that was joyous. I had my first great-child when I was 68.

All the time, I felt like I was 23. Age is like my own face. I cannot see either one without taking special steps. Seeing my face as others see it calls for the use of a mirror. Seeing my age? I am not sure how to see it.

There are moments such as when the doctor gives me a permission slip for a handicapped parking permit and attributes it to age-related inability to walk well. Since I have socks older than my doctor, I shrug it off. Age-related? This means nothing to me. Any day now I will become instantly mobile again.

Meanwhile, I have to overthink why I have been so oblivious to age that I thought I could keep on learning everything there is to learn.

How could I think I was being authentic when I write trying to present myself as a youthful thinker, a writer struggling to learn how to finish a good novel. Was I trying to pretend to myself that I was a struggling newbie rather than a lazy woman still waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect weather, the perfect idea.

Was I still trying to fake the absorption of knowledge rather than putting in the time, effort, and energy? Or am I a person who just enjoys the process? I can learn to use the lessons I already have and act my age.

Meanwhile, I am going to revisit my heroine Helen Cassidy Page.

The Life Essence

Writing about life, what life means and how we stand in life as a person. Because life is not perfect and everyone has their own values and perpectives of how life should be. All artitcles must be open to everyone.

Joanne Reid

Written by

I’m a fiction writer ( who is finally learning how to start and finish writing a novel without too much angst, gin, and tears.

The Life Essence

Writing about life, what life means and how we stand in life as a person. Because life is not perfect and everyone has their own values and perpectives of how life should be. All artitcles must be open to everyone.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade