We all have epiphanies; those times when we realize that we’re older than we think or feel. Many of us look down at ourselves and see what we used to look like. I shop the smaller sizes first and then realize that I’m no longer a junior; I don’t feel any larger. I don’t often look in a mirror as I wasn’t raised to care about looks, but one day I was walking by a mirror in a store and just stopped and stared at myself and wondered who is that old lady? I don’t feel old and I don’t think of myself as old. When people in their thirties started calling me Ma’am, I wanted to correct them; they couldn’t be talking to me.
Then I look around at the children I babysit for or helped raise and they’ve got children. There’s just something fundamentally wrong with that; where are the dirty faces and sticky fingers, what are they doing running around with jobs and kids. Why are they looking at me as if I couldn’t possibly know what their lives are like and how hard it is to raise a family now. What? Have they forgotten that I raised my children and worked at a job as well as at home? Do they think the world just started with them? Of course they do and so did I at their age. They won’t believe that someday their children and nieces and nephews, etc. will look at them the way they look at my generation with a kind of amused contempt and wonder what they could possibly know about their lives and their problems.
I guess this is something every generation goes through. We want them to learn from our mistakes, but not only do they repeat ours , they find new ones to make. They’re convinced that because of technology and how its changed the world that humanity has changed too. They haven’t yet discovered that human nature and needs are pretty much constant. We want to be needed and loved; we want to make a difference and leave something behind us. We want the world to be better for our kids than it was for us. If we look back and read what people were writing a hundred years ago or at what our parents said to us, we’d discover that nothing has really changed.
Times change and yet they don’t. We prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We put aside a little for a rainy day and hope that rainy day isn’t a deluge. The sexes flirt with each other and wonder “Is s(he) the one? People buy homes and get educations, granted in things we didn’t know anything about when I was younger. We thought electric typewriters were high tech!! My generation demanded that the voting age be lowered to eighteen after all if it was old enough to fight, it was old enough to vote. We demanded equal pay for equal work and respect across racial and gender lines. We wanted it all now! We’ve discovered that nothing worthwhile comes easy and change comes slowly for a reason.
Sometimes when I look around at the things that have changed, I think maybe the younger generation is right, it is a different world. Then I watch an old TV show or movie and realize that what is acceptable to say or do in public may have changed, but the reasons behind it haven’t. People still gossip about each other. They still love and they still hate. They still judge others and leap to conclusions based on appearances or beliefs. Those that claim to be the most tolerant and were when they were younger are now some of the loudest in their hatred and intolerance. The lessons still haven’t been learned. If one group doesn’t have free speech, no one does; because if it can be blocked for some, it can be blocked for all. Trying to keep people from expressing and acting on their beliefs (as long as they don’t harm anyone else) is just as wrong when the left does is as it is when the right does it . Neither side has a monopoly on tolerance.