Don’t you love old photos? Photos from a time when you just felt good. You had a happy life and knew where you belonged. And most of all you felt safe and loved.
When I look at this photo of me with my Mother and Father and try to recapture how I felt, I somehow know that life is not the same anymore. Do you know what I mean?
In under two weeks I turn 50. A big deal?
Not really, though there IS pressure from friends and family to celebrate the day as though it is. “What have your family planned for the big 50?” they ask expectantly. Their disappointment is palpable when I confess that I don’t think they’ve planned anything. The 31 October, 2013 will come and go without a blip on the world radar. In my world at least.
I’m not really feeling sorry for myself, just pondering. Apart from my daughter, hubby, Mum and Dad and a couple of close friends…(and a few relatives who may briefly mark the occasion with an “Oh, it’s Vikki’s 50th today”), people will get up, go to work and school, get cranky, be bored and sit looking up at the clouds with only the faintest knowledge of what is happening in the lives of those around them. They will judge, despise and store away information about those they come across in the heartless, cynical way that people can adopt in a vain attempt to elevate themselves to a higher level by putting others down.
It’s a different world now…..and it will never again be like that Saturday in September, 1967 at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It’s not just that life is now lived at a whirlwind pace. It’s not that parents are missing in action in order to chase the lifestyle they aspire to. It is that values have changed. Even the most centred teenagers I know have a sense that there is something wrong with this world, even when they have never known a different time.
So, what’s the answer? Is there one?
In the 1950s, those clean cut guys and gals creating rock and roll we’re told their music was ‘of the devil’. In the 60s and 70s, all that free love and sex was frowned upon and then AIDS came along in the 80s as the ‘punishment’. Each generation has its positives and negatives, it’s fans and detractors.
As Baby Boomers are criticised for their hedonistic selfishness, I can’t help but laugh. Ours we’re the easy times. We knew we’d get jobs, travel, have enough money to buy a house and keep loads of good food and wine on the table. We weren’t greedily grabbing it all, it just came to us.
But they were also the generous times, when people would talk to each other in the street, invite others into their homes without being suspicious, be open and honest and admit when they’re wrong. Yes there we’re bullies. Yes there were crazies and criminals and drugs. But generally there was fun and warmth and the enjoyment of making the most of the moment. Hence the big line from the song in the Big Chill, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”.
Is that such a bad philosophy?