Flutterby™! : Old age and treachery...

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Old age and treachery...

2003-01-27 16:48:48+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Dave Winer has been musing about age versus youth. Yesterday he talked about how age views the arrogance of youth, and today he says:

Old people are cursed by memories. So much bullshit begins with "I remember when."

I've been looking for a segué to talk about my grandfather, and age in general. On my recent trip to New York I stopped in to visit with him, and hear stories. Stories which have lead me to tons of observations about community and service and the like; among other things, he was a volunteer fireman for something like 58 years, getting out of bed tens if not a hundred times a year to help people, and one of his recent giggles was taking a first aid class, having his files reactivated, and getting a "Fireman, First Class" certificate at 84.

And he was wearing a T-shirt I airbrushed for him back when I was in my teens: "Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill, every time."

One of the things I notice in his tales, and in the tales of various other of my friends who are "older", is how the arrogance of middle age gets dropped. The idealism of youth comes through again in old age as people reflect back and realize that the façla;ade of middle age, when we believe our own lies in order to accept the choices we've made, is unnecessarily limiting. While the aspirations and beliefs of youth aren't realistic, neither should they be quashed or forgotten.

While it might be important that we be aware that there are limitations, celebrating the cynicism of middle age rather than realizing that in another decade we'll look back on that age and feel ignorant once again, sometimes coming back to our original beliefs, is no victory.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Dan's Life Dave Winer Community Dan & Charlene's January 2003 New York Trip ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-01-29 21:59:28+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

Gotta wonder, though, when someone writes: "Sure we're sending our young boys to die. That's relatively easy. [...] Ooops. Old people die too. Makes you stop and think."

Kill young boys now! Its easy!

#Comment made: 2003-01-29 22:26:28+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'm willing to cut him a little bit of slack for that 'cause he was obviously going for effect. I think. But it is reality that for all of the "save the childrruuunn" hollering that goes on in this country, our culture considers humans from 18 to 25 or so mostly expendable.

Mostly, though, I think that in 20 years Dave will be looking back at himself with the same arrogance with which he views those two decades his junior now. Which he might even realize.