Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Mid-Life Chrysalis.

Today's blog was inspired by some less than constructive feedback I received for one of my previous publications. Initially I was disheartened, to hear that it was simply "crap" set me back a bit, but whereas before I might have given up, this time it gave me an idea for todays dose of drivel. Now indeed, the article in question might have been crap, or "wishy washy" as was added, but I also started to think about the generation gap amongst people who read things and how age defines how the content is ingested and understood, or not misunderstood.

See, now I'm now 35, flirting dangerously with becoming middle-aged, it seriously creeps up on you. It feels like only yesterday I was in a shop with my mum, looking for a 40th themed present to buy someone....would it be the pint glass....the tankard? I must have been about 9 at the time and I started to wonder what I'd be like when I was 40.....what I'd be like when I was old. Well, the funny thing is, I don't feel that much different, deep down, the only thing that's really changed is that I have to look after myself. Why do we even invent milestones anyway? And what's our obsession with even numbers? I bet you like your televisions volume to be set to an even number, don't you? Enslaved by numbers.....none of it makes any difference actually, I'll just shut my middle-aged cakehole, no wonder nobody listens to us.

So back to the point.....are middle aged people's opinions wishy washy (it's probably just me, don't worry)? What does that even mean? I like to think that I've transitioned to the point where I'm able to offer a more balanced opinion, but is that what people wben want to hear anymore? I read an article last week about how the Internet and social media is so awash with opinion and saturated with over the top analysis, it basically manifests itself to become hyperbole, where unless something is "crap" or completely "amazeballs", the rest is just white noise and doesn't even register. Actually it was more to do with a Kate Bush concert, but the premise was the same. Here's the link, make your own minds up:

Now, I've been young, we all have, you may still of the things I noticed was that for a while, I thought I knew it all. Then every few years I'd have an epiphany, nothing deep, but just to remind me that I'd actually been talking complete nonsense for the last few years. It's probably just our automated way of keeping us grounded and making sure we don't get too big for our boots....not everyone has these epiphanies, clearly. Now I'm not trying to say that young people's views aren't relevant, but they can be misguided and driven by simply trying too hard to get noticed in amongst the crowd. Then we have the 60+ year olds who a lot of the time, are pampered with respect, dished out irrespective of their character.

So that leaves the 30-59 year olds (roughly, you should know by now by research is minimal....well zero actually) who are largely ignored, seems like a waste of wisdom and brain power to me. You get songs like Youth of Today proclaiming that someones views aren't appreciated because they're not a respected figurehead (I don't know who Amy MacDonald was singing about, but my middle-aged paranoia screams she's singing at me! I'm occasionally told that my parental skills are old fashioned, because I don't believe children should be spoiled with sweets and possessions blah blah blah. Bob Dylan probably squirms a little every time he hears or plays 'The Times They Are a-Changin'. Much like we should be nice to the people on the way up, we should also understand that we're all on the same path and will experience many of the same thought processes as we evolve within ourselves. 

The article I mentioned earlier was by Charlie Brooker, I love Charlie Brooker.....but all he did was regurgitate a notion that has been the case for years now, as brilliantly written as it was, just in his own style. The media does the same  From what I can see, content on the internet is like music....just a bunch of notes thrown together to create something listenable, it doesn't matter how many genres we create, it's still just music. Frogs, frogs are at it too. Did you know there are approximately 4,470 species are frogs? The difference between them all must be miniscule.....where am I going with this exactly. I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't be afraid of being bland, normal....just say things the way you see them.

My main point is, and I do have a point (!), is that middle aged people are surely the generation to be listened to. They still have the energy and are asking themselves the important questions about life, and how they can be better people. The naivety of their youth has dissipated, they've suffered enough of life to bring them back down to earth but have yet to yield to the harshness of it all and end up just minding your own business, being completely submissive. 

A good example of a clash of generations and beliefs happened last week when John Lydon (formerly of The Sex Pistols for those who don't know), lazily (in my opinion) labelled Russell Brand a "bumhole" for his recent ideas on how to bring about political change. He said the "revolution" that Brand was so keen on happening, would make us all "homeless". Now, I've watched a lot of The Trews (Russell Brands YouTube channel). He's amazingly articulate, passionate about what he's talking about, balanced and most importantly, spreading his message for the greater good. He's even donated the proceeds of his latest book (called Revolution funnily enough), "will go to creating social enterprises that are not for profit". He's also very funny and people of all ages are listening to what he has to say, that's not an easy task. 

Bearing in mind the last thing previous to this outburst I remember John Lydon ever doing, was a 'Country Life' butter commercial, I know who's side I'm on. Lydon also seems to have gone back on the attitude and beliefs that made him famous in the first place. My next blog will actually be a piece on whether you can indeed be taken seriously after doing a butter commercial in your pj's, there's mileage on that topic.

For me, Russell Brand is proof that middle-age brings an awakening to us all. You're not in a 'thinkers no-mans land'. It's an important stage of our life and should be embraced, more so than being bashful or battle wearily submissive. If you want to have your say, fine. Just don't get caught in the ever expanding trap of trying to get noticed by being sensationalising when a simple message will do. I think sometimes our thirst for progress and to simply be heard, is actually holding us back from communicating in a way that's real.

The biggest bonus of it all is that it's a time when most people have kids, so we can share our actual wisdom with them, it's the way forward. See my rubbish article; 'Has Equality Ruined Families?' for some more pointers.

If you think this was another load of wishy washy crap, feel free to share in the comments box.

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