Wednesday, 16 November 2011
The Generation Game
Youth and the quality of youthfulness are comparative terms. While it seems natural for instance, for one person to be able to do at 50 what they could at 20, for others it is not merely physically impossible, but unthinkable that they should wish to do so.
The quality of agelessness is one which has its source in a host of different things, but for me, it has something to do with having an interest in anything and everything. Never closing one's mind totally to any idea, however bizarre or unlikely and being open to persuasion.
Another reason for the sometimes childlike behaviour of some fairly ancient people has I believe more than a little to do with still having parents, even at quite an advanced age.
In this way, despite the relentless march of time, you are still someone's child and there is still the feeling that not all of life's problems are yours to solve alone.
Even if the actual input of the remaining parent or parents is minimal, there is still the feeling that there is an older (wiser) generation to turn to if the need arises.
Yesterday, a cousin rang me with the sad news that his father (my father's last remaining brother) had died on Monday. He would have been 103 had he survived another five days.
My father's parents had eleven children, my mother's parents four, and this was the very last of them, which suddenly brought home to me the realisation that we, my brothers and my cousins, are now the senior generation. Suddenly we are not children any more. Suddenly we have reluctantly to grow up.
A salutory thought, and one I don't relish.
While I am not about to try to stand on my hands I really don't want to be 'old' just yet.
I'm racking my brains to find another way to 'kick over the traces', just give me time, I'll find something.
"You are old father William, the young man said, and your hair has become very white, and yet you incessantly stand on your head, do you think at your age it is right"?