We have a lot to learn

In January, I updated my long-standing personal blog with what has become a traditional end of year summary/look the future. I know it’s probably not the done thing and most people with an enthusiasm for social media would berate me for doing so, but I’m linking to my blog, within my blog.

I always feel somewhat nervous about directing people there; although really I should feel safe in the knowledge that noone is *that* interested in my life that they will trawl through and read half the things I’m nervous about being read. I’m now in my 8th year (wow!)  and am proud of the 708 entries documenting my attempts to survive being a teenager and, later, working out how to be an adult. In hindsight, being a teenager was a lot easier. Emotionally, it had its moments, but practically- wow! We are so sheltered when we are young, especially if one is as lucky as I have been in having the wealth and support of my parents behind me.

As I get older, what strikes me the most is an increased awareness of age itself. Slowly I have become more aware of the fact that people age, and die, and with it, society changes. To quote my own blog (how ridiculous) “It’s lonely men which gets to me the most […] A man buying a meal for one in Marks and Spencer used to have me nearly break down right there. (20/06/2010)”

This was something I genuinely experienced during my time at Marks and Spencer, which I began in 2005. Specifically, it was single, elderly men that got me, buying pratical, one-person shops. Those buying food for two (why are they here alone? Is their wife ill? Have they ever had to do shopping before now?) got me just as bad. The thought of my grandad learning to operate a washing machine at the age of 80-something because my grandma was too unwell to do so? Seriously, welling up just thinking about it.

What pulls at my heartstrings is the combination of men on their own (because all men, young or old, need looking after, bless ’em), and being of a certain generation where they have never had to deal with such things as everyday domestic chores. I don’t find it sexist or an indication that equality has triumphed, I find it touching. Because the generation to which our grandfathers belong are unique. My personal experience is of men who are dignified, polite, and friendly: the lovely old man who struck up conversation with me while waiting for the bus, every single gentleman who continues to wear a tie just to go shopping- it makes me smile every time.

Most recently, watching Christopher Lee’s acceptance speech at the BAFTAs made me well up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2Od_8xyDLI He is so humble it’s inspiring.

Here’s to a generation of adults that people my age can only dream of emulating when we are that age.

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