Aging in the SCA
I recently came across a lengthy post by Sir Wiglaf Wilfriding on qualifications for peerage. It’s an article worth reading and discussing, but not here.
Although I do have two quotes of his to discuss.
… To get knighted, you have to meet the standard and stay on it long enough for the knights to realize it. But once you’re there, you have to prepare yourself to fall off of that standard, and you will. You are knighted for life, and when you are ninety there is no way you can fight as well as you did when you were twenty. Aging is one of the basic facts of existence, and one of the greatest tests of knighthood is how to face this decline. In most sports, you quit, but you can’t quit being a peer. You’re a peer for life…
. . .
An interesting twist to the Laurel standard, however, is that it generally doesn’t go away with age. In most cases, Laurels improve the older they get, like good wine.
Since I’ve never been a fighter I accept Sir Wilfriding’s first observation as fact. I disagree with his twist on the standard.
Realizing his full article doesn’t present things as definitive as the quotes make it seem, I think some Laurels are not able to keep to their craft as well. Some do and some pursue other passions than those for which they were Laureled.
As a 70-year-old scribe, I have days my calligraphy looks like it’s not mine. I also have friends that already switched to other crafts because their hands shake. I’m fortunate my near-nearsightedness still has clear vision. And more frequent breaks helps my aching back. So I’m lucky I can still perform well as a production scribe.
Someday my calligraphy and illumination may no long suit Laurel standards and I may quit doing C & I. I too will seek other ways to contribute as a peer. I hope that time is a long way off because C & I is my panoptic enthusiasm. And I want to keep it that way.