“When an older person dies, a library burns.” (African proverb)
I have always had an affinity with people who are much older and much younger than me. This is partly due to the fact I often didn’t feel like I fitted in with people my own age. My musical tastes were not in keeping with my teenage friends, as I enjoyed mostly classical and Scottish music when I was young. Where that came from I will never know, but there you have it, I started out being weird way back then! Living in a rural community in the 60’s in Australia meant it was not cool to be different, not cool to be ‘other’ in any way at all, not cool to like study (yep, I was pretty nerdy!) and generally speaking it could be quite lonely. I was more mature in my thinking than my peers (they used to say boring), and because of this found it more fun to hang out with older people or small children. I spent a lot of time with grandparents and aunts and uncles, and this also sealed my future thinking in many ways. These people, and my parent’s peers (the parents of many of the kids my age), became my real friends, many of them (if they are still alive) I am still good friends with today. For a few years as a teenager, smoking and drinking beer helped me fit in, but after a while, the shallowness of needing to do this to fit in took over, and the perceived ‘fun’ wore off. There is so much history in the lives of the elderly and an equal amount of innocence and joy in young children. I love the contrast, and the fact that at both ends of the age spectrum, there is an honesty that is raw and open; they are living truly authentic lives. Children are the open books, waiting to be filled with information and lived experience to make up the libraries; our elders are the libraries full of the information and lived experiences, filling up the books. Why our society generally treats them with such disdain and so little respect is beyond me. A quote I used to have on my filing cabinet said “Don’t criticise your parents, one day you will become them”. I would change that to “Don’t criticise your elders, one day you will become old!” And listen to the young, they have so much to offer, and what they offer does not come with the same amount of negative baggage many adults are carrying. Learn, love, respect… each other, our elders, the young, and ourselves. This is a very simple approach to life, which would make so much difference if we all did it. As Billy Connelly would say though, ‘don’t get hung up on eating too much high fibre bread as it will probably only give you an extra couple of weeks to live, and at the time in your life when you are back to wetting your pants!’ Life is short; we live until we die, so we’d better on with it.
Finally today I offer the Versatile Bloggers Award to all my blog followers, and in particular to Life on La Lune in keeping with her theory. There is no need to follow any rules this time; I know many of us have previously been awarded this honour, but I thought to share it again, in honour of the three buses theory was a worthwhile idea.