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 (https://joannereid.ca) 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.

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