Posts Tagged ‘aging’

Yesterday evening I was talking with the rest of the Terrible Trio (me, Peach and Pistol) about the bizarre behavior of aging parents. Naturally the subject of people becoming increasingly conservative as they get older entered the conversation and this idea popped up: people don’t get more conservative as they get older, they stay the same while the world passes them by.

I thought that had a lot of merit. When I think about people I’ve known a long time, who are now seniors or late middle age, all of them are as or less conservative, politically and socially, than they were 20-30 years ago. Sure, I’ve also known people who had mid- life freakouts and became fundies and whatnot, but for the most part they were skirting the edge to begin with. In fact, I find it very difficult to think of one person who over time has actually changed their views or behavior to be objectively more conservative. They just become entrenched in the views they already had.

This idea explains a lot to me. Why, for example, Hollywood (or at least the older folks running it) still expects people to be impressed by the token inclusion of “strong female characters” in stories, which of course was quite edgy several decades ago. It’s also a scary thought to me, in the way it implies that as we become chronologically older, we have to more and more actively work against our instincts to avoid stagnation. Especially because, if “stagnation” means settling into the rut of the habits you developed earlier in life, how do I know I’m not stagnating right now?

It’s no secret to anyone who follows me that my frustration with older generations can, uh, at times be, shall we say, considerable. But it is often outpaced by my exasperation with what I see as young people who act old. People who seem to have, in their early twenties or so, looked at themselves and thought, “Yeah, this’ll work,” and haven’t checked in since. Seeing no reason to ever reevaluate or change anything about themselves, they simply continue to morph into physically older facsimiles of their young selves.

The problem with that is that even if your early twenties were the prime of your life (in which case I’m fucked), nobody is perfect. If you pick a point in your life and decide that you won’t continue to self-criticize and grow after that, then you eliminate any possibility of remaining relevant, except to others who have done the same (c.f. why The Year’s Best Science Fiction has the same people in it every single year). Which… not that I can necessarily think of anything in particular wrong with that, but why? Who would choose to consciously do that to themselves? Unless it isn’t conscious because we don’t see it.

That’s one thing that scares me: not being old, but acting old and not knowing it. And not to brag, but I don’t see myself as being afraid of much. Marginally better would be to keep my had above water, and probably spending the rest of my life trying to drag my friends along with. Calling them out whenever they start pulling the “get off my lawn” crap, which some are already. And hopefully having someone to check me as well. Make sure the Terrible Trio stays terrible.

I wrote thIs on my phone so there’s probably at least one hilarious typo.

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