We have not become our parents, or our grandparents – we are parents, we are grandparents, we have become everything we ever thought not relevant when we were young and now, are exactly that – not relevant to anyone but our own peer group. And we don’t like it so much. Not because we aren’t happy, fulfilled and enjoying life – but because we don’t like what comes next.
What come next? … Whatever we invent for ourselves, or death.
So, choose to be inventive or die, creative or die, enthusiastic, or die.
I choose not to die.
And I found myself smirking a bit last night – I was at a dinner party (thanks JJ + Irene for including me) of like-aged folks. One was younger than me. Everyone else older. All but one a grandparent – a mature ripened group who enjoyed eating early and going home early – yikes, we’ve become our grandparents!
Conversation was as eclectic as were occupants of that room, yet the ease with which we were easily drawn into to talking (complaining really) about the trouble with young people these days …
I wonder, if we could go back 100 years – or 200, or 500, if we might be sitting around with friends after a Friday evening dinner, that the discussion might have drifted to the trouble with young people these days …
I don’t recall at all – when I was young, in similar circumstances, discussing the trouble with old people these days …
Some things change a lot, but most things don’t change much or fast.
Earth (at 4.54 billion years, give or take a ½ billion) is old. Dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago after roaming the earth for 166 million years. They lived through global warming.
They died off, but the earth continued to flourish. Now we’ve come along and get twisted up about little things that might, at most, be a blip on the screen for a while like global warming, flu pandemics and politics-du jour, whether we should have a senate or not, a pipeline or not – these are really not long term anything.
Life is so short, notions of ‘long term view’ of anything is ludicrous.
Long-term would be millions of years, or at least hundreds of thousands. We have been here barely nano-seconds. We began standing erect 200,000 years ago, but behaving humanly started about 50,000 years ago. Imagine, 150,000 years to going from standing up to being ‘primitive human’. And yet, I remember not that many years ago, doing the entire reverse of that in a few hours on a Friday night …
In that time we’ve come from hunter/gatherers in the Great Rift Valley of Africa to everything we can figure out today – in just 50,000 years.
Mere moments in time these are nano-seconds indeed.
What is our 100 years or so that each of us might live? A mere 1/5,000th of a nano-second.
Humanity is young. And not to imply we are stupid – but given the many mistakes we all keep repeating, perhaps we are slow to learn.
In 50,000 years we’ve started wars and finished them – but haven’t yet learned how not to have them. We’ve learned how to populate the world but haven’t yet learned how to keep it safe and stable, or healthy, or to even feed everyone.
We know so much but we don’t know how to fix our bodies, or our minds, when they become faulty. Like ants in the hill, our bodies get carried off – so easily replaces by so many new ones.
No rush to figure it out – we’ll all be gone soon. Some important things take thousands of years, or tens of thousands.
We only have 100.
There is no rush to aging, no sense of urgency to advance or step on the gas.
There is a cross-societal desire when young – that nothing can happen fast enough; replaces in middle age by a conundrum about how slowly we get things done or how impossible it is to change much which – we lament how slow change comes while at the same time wanting our bodies to age a little slower, that going a half-step slower and being a little more mellow and reflective will produce just what we want and need – gently aged cheese.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -17C / 2F, sunny and colder (expected to stay that for the next week or so), light breeze, the long hill has been plowed and sanded (yay!), steady footed we explored farther that most recent days
So - did you really mean "peddle to metal"? Are you trying to sell your car, or did you mean "pedal to the metal" - to go as fast as possible? Or perhaps you wanted "pedal to the mettle" possibly meaning you're going to quickly raise your own standards? Or even "peddle to the mettle", likely meaning you're selling out. Just having lost Pete Seeger this week, I am reminded of his cover of the wonderful "English is CRAZY" song that you can find at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lCO4vBjneE. Enjoy (again), CM, Calgary, AB