This is something that older people try hard not to feel, but often do. I have no wish at all to belong to the ‘things aren’t what they used to be’ Brigade who are for ever mourning the lost world of their youth; the halcyon days of memory which may only exist in the fantasies of nostalgia. I have an image, for example of myself at seventeen in my new smart worsted suit doing my first job, having lots of energy, and (well so I thought) being noticed a lot and even being approved of. But of course I forget the bad times, only enjoying a sense of the joyful and self-centred limbo of those days of new freedoms and powers. And yet, it becomes almost impossible to have that sense of wellbeing as you live in a world where many of your generation feel beached on an alien shore.
Older people can feel very alone, not only when by themselves but even more in the company of those with whom they have nothing in common. We observe a technocratic world in which we have neither understanding nor place and with no ‘hooks’ on which to hang a conversation let alone establish a relationship.
We had visitors the other day, friends that go back to my schooldays, and we were talking about this sense of feeling that we didn’t belong anymore to the society we live in and to a culture that requires skills or enthusiasm that are beyond us. And we wish it was otherwise, not because we want to throw stones at these for us uncongenial communities that surround us, but because we would like to understand them more and even to be one with them. We are living longer and are a significantly large part of the population but sometimes feel as if we are marooned on that inhospitable island.
Temperamentally I am against any sort of ghetto and have no ambition to spend my days entirely with people of my own age, nor to think and behave as a relic of the last fifty years of the twentieth century.
But its hard work, especially as I find the pervading media orientated culture of materialism, trivial and ultimately meaningless. So I reserve the right to be critical of the commercially created world and the brutish political agenda of today, whilst trying to think beyond them and connect up with the many positive things that are happening around us, and to connect with people of all ages.
I don’t want to end my days on that island of the old.