That old fart was a young fart, once

posted in: Life and things | 12

On this last day of 2012 I’m indulging in a little bit of reflection.

When I was younger, old people used to annoy me. They’d get in my way, putter around when I wanted to hurry. They’d shuffle along, backs bent, maybe a walking stick in hand. Silly old farts.

Like I said, maybe I’m getting ‘old’. These days I look at those old people, hunched over their canes, shuffling along, and I wonder what they were like when they were young. They’ve lived a life. Been to school, fallen over in the playground, kicked footballs, built billy-carts, had a cat or a dog or a horse, or maybe all of them. And then they were teenagers, bopping along to Buddy Holly or Bill Hayley. They went to the drive-in, snogged (or shagged) in the back seat of the car. Perhaps they sat in the back row of the pictures on a Saturday afternoon watching serials of Tom Mix or the Shadow.

Those folks might have had kids, gone through the trials and the joys of childbirth and raising a family. Now maybe there are grand-kids, perhaps great-grandkids.

There was a time when those backs were straight, those legs strong and active. Maybe, like me, the brain in that old head thinks it’s still thirty. Or twenty-one.

These days, I don’t have much time for the emails circulating amongst us retirees listing all the things ‘we’ used to have. So what? Time stops for no man. Life goes on. I remember my mum saying (in the eighties, I think) that she wouldn’t want to bring up children in ‘this day and age’. And she’d cite the cold war, and drugs and cars and crime and and and. This from a woman who married in the Great Depression and lived in occupied Holland through WW2 with five small children, before packing up the whole kit and caboodle and migrating to Australia in 1955. I hear it now, too, from people my age. Sure, I feel sorry for today’s kids in as much as they’ll find it harder to buy a home, they’ll have to cope with pollution and global warming. But my generation had its own burdens. Every generation does. And for every generation, it’s the same – and yet different. They’ll cope. It’s their life, their choices and they’ve never known anything else. And they never will.

I also don’t have much time for older people who won’t even try to cope with computers and the like. Sorry, but it really isn’t hard. It’s a matter of choice and the benefits of the internet far outweigh the drawbacks. The ability to easily keep in touch with friends and family is probably number one.

So I guess it’s possible I might be one of those with a bent back and a walking stick sooner, rather than later. But my brain won’t be old. Of that you can be sure.

Happy New Year, folks. And remember, that old fart was a young fart, once. Live life to the fullest. Try things. If you don’t like them, stop. Life is not a dress rehearsal.


12 Responses

  1. talain45

    Lovely post, nice reflection and couldn’t agree more. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Mona Karel

    Ya know, we drive down the street, passing all those old farts, and nearly every one of them has an incredible story, if we can pry it out of them. When Tom’s brother was here last year, he opened up some about being in an Army at war, and gave me a whole new perspective. But even the ranchers, or those who taught school for fifty years, have war stories, if we can steal the time to listen to them.
    I was actually born during the Korean War, and grew up in an era of what we can look back on as peaceful. Yep, fortunate in that fashion and also lucky to see something of the world while I was young enough to appreciate it.

    • Greta van der Rol

      Yes, that’s right. They, too, have their story. In a previous life, my ex’s father had survived some horrific times in Ukraine during the war. I wish, now, I’d listened properly. But all I could see was him dumping all this pain on me and I didn’t want to know. With my parents it was quite different. They never talked about the war.

      • MonaKarel

        My father never talked much about WWII, though he would about Viet Nam. A lot of the Viet Nam vets I’ve met are really quiet about their experiences

        • Greta van der Rol

          It seems it’s a known syndrome. It isn’t just war veterans, it’s people who have lived through traumatic times. Holocaust survivors, POW inmates – even people living through an occupation. They often move away and often don’t talk – especially to their kids.

  3. Bill Kirton

    As usual, I find myself agreeing with you, Greta. I’d differ in one area, though. I’ve always thought my generation (in the UK at least) was perhaps the luckiest of those I know about (i.e. my grandparents, parents, kids and grandkids). We were babies and toddlers in WW2 – so not consciously affected by it all, then teenagers when such a thing was invented, beneficiaries of the Welfare State and Beveridge, sexually liberated but pre-AIDS, awarded grants for free secondary and tertiary education, able to choose one of the many jobs on offer and security once you’d got one, etc., etc. OK, along came Thatcher to bugger it all up but on the whole, I still do feel like one of the lucky ones.

    • Greta van der Rol

      Again we agree, Bill. I’ve always felt that way, too. Born after the war, part of the rebuilding push, able to get work etc. And in the Lucky Country, too. Yes, and that’s one of the reasons I won’t complain. Even so, we had National Service, Vietnam, the Iron Curtain, the rising use of drugs, a huge road toll from cars. So there’s two sides to everything. Cheers to being an old fart. At least we got there.

  4. MonaKarel

    I figure we can sit around talking about the way we were or we can do something about the way we are. I seem to be living my life 50/50 doing both!

  5. juliabarrett

    Very true. Each generation faces its own challenges. But we just keep going. If I make it to 90 I plan to climb Everest.

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