For anyone ‘beyond a certain age’ the modern world presents a never-ending series of challenges.
Various contributors to the organ over the years have described their experiences of having the rules that once governed the world as they knew it when they were growing up (and then tried to live by) gradually being dismantled and replaced by new ones, some of which they have difficulty understanding and/or coming to terms with.
There’s nothing new or complicated in this, of course. As time passes things develop and evolve. Part of the ‘journey’ – these days something of an abused and over-used word – from adolescence to adulthood (and then making your own way in the world) is a process of challenging the norms, pushing the envelope, testing where the boundaries are – even if it is only to work out whether there are any.
Our columnist Michael Stuart once testified to the self-revelation he acquired over a period of about fifteen years that his musical tastes had ‘solidified’ at some point in his mid-thirties and stayed there.
He had come to it by taking part in an occasional survey whereby participants sent in their currently all-time favourite individual tracks/songs and albums and noticing that his choices in both categories had not changed since 1985.
In a way, it seemed to me, Michael’s experience with music also applies to every aspect of life.
As you grow up and develop your own individual tastes, part of the process is rejecting the preferences of your elders (as if to justify the notion that progress necessarily requires a ditching of the old order) and ‘creating the new’ which you and your contemporaries then lionise and revel in.
Once it consisted of just the county game and Test matches.
Then along came one-day games, ODIs, 20/20 (or T20) and now The One Hundred, or whatever the new-fangled manufactured form of the game the authorities have recently been busy dreaming up is called.
It’s not so much a matter (necessarily) of the new forms of cricket being ‘better’ that what went before – though some might argue this is part of it: in essence it’s all about being different and new.
Crickey, what would Sidney Barnes, Jack Hobbs, Donald Bradman and Titch Freeman ever made of their modern successors dressed in pyjamas and playing a baseball-like (crash, bang, wallop or ‘tip and run’) version of the Great Game whilst being assailed from all sides by deafening rock music, fireworks, ‘big screen’ video replays whilst making £250,000 or upwards each per annum?
(And what does it matter anyway? That was then and this is now).
There is an argument that suggests the best way to cope with the latter half of life is to ‘stop the merry-go-round’ and get off (or at least ‘pause’ your existence in a state as you knew and liked it in your pomp) and forget about trying to keep up with whatever-the-latest-is. And relax.
A factor in this view is the belief that there are some eternal truths in the way human beings conduct themselves, irrespective of the apparent chaos and insanity that seems to be coming at us all on a daily basis.
That said, there is also a case to be made for living in the present and not looking back – that is, if you can remember the past, which for some of us is a debateable and/or variable feast.
I wish to announce that from today I am going to confront my likely future by acting proactively, turning over a new leaf and applying myself to an entirely new career.
I used to joke with my kids that they can put me away in a residential home any time they wish, just so long as I am guaranteed three meals a day and lifelong subscriptions to all major sporting and adult movie channels.
Slightly worryingly overnight, I happened to spot the following report by health editor Sophie Borland upon the inadequate standard of care apparently being provided by some UK residential care homes – see here for a link to the – DAILY MAIL
On a different topic – but one whose relevance will hopefully shortly become apparent – I was personally never much cop at video games.
For a while in the 1970s (or was it the 1980s) I and my contemporaries used to play a very primitive form of computer ‘sports game’ – I think it was called “tennis” because to a degree, instinctive judging of angles and the speed of a moving object was involved – in which, on a black background, by manipulation of one’s “control” one could propel a little square ‘ball’ around a rectangular ‘pitch’ (bouncing off the sides etc.) in competition with a pal and somehow score points on one’s own favour.
I seem to recall being adequately proficient at it.
More recently – a few months ago – I sat in a genuine racing car seat in the loft of my son-in-law’s house and attempted to “steer” a stunningly-realistic computerised version of a Formula One car around a representation of the Hockenheim circuit in Germany being displayed on a vast screen in front of me.
I later found out that I could have chosen any one of the Formula One regular circuits upon which to ‘race’. In the light of the carnage that took place in yesterday’s real-life Formula One Grand Prix at said circuit in the rain, I’d like to be able to report that I did well, but it was not so.
I tried and failed now fewer than six times to negotiate the very first corner of the track and instead went straight on at nearly 200 mph, careering into the safety-barriers.
Nevertheless, I am going to persevere. I can see a new pastime coming on – and indeed a means to securing myself a comfortable old age. It’s one that any of us over the age of 60 could take up, given the amount of free time we have on our hands …
See here for a link to the source of my latest ruse – as appears on the website of – THE GUARDIAN