Saturday, 13 August 2011

Still fumbling

As I've said before, like many oldies, I don't really feel I've grown up yet. I feel as if I'm still a fumbling adolescent, forever groping my way through the complexities of life waiting for the sure-footedness of maturity to alight on me.

Well, I'm still waiting. Whoever's meant to be handing out the sure-footedness seems to have forgotten me. So I just have to carry on fumbling behind a pretence of worldly wisdom and carefree poise.

Someday, about forty years later than expected, I shall finally say goodbye to all those immature habits that secretly embarrass and bemuse me and become adorable and sophisticated.

All of a sudden I'll be much more generous, articulate, patient, understanding, adventurous and good at cooking. Just like that I'll know exactly what to do if someone drops dead or the person sitting next to me at the dinner party is a neo-fascist or there's a stray cow in the back garden. Nothing will phase me, nothing will send me running for cover, nothing will leave me like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I'll just stride in and take control.

And pigs will fly.

When I was young, I always assumed grown-ups were mature and responsible and infinitely knowledgeable. It never occurred to me that they might be fumbling along unsteadily the same as myself, trying desperately to make sense of everything.

Today's young people are not so innocent. They can see quite clearly that adults are often stumbling around like drunks in a pub, knocking things over and talking nonsense.

They take whatever adults say with a healthy dose of suspicion and are more likely to work out for themselves what life's all about. Which can only be a turn for the better.

Grown-ups don't know everything, and never did.

33 comments:

Macy said...

I've matured! I'm much happier in my skin than I was 30 years ago, and as a result, much more accepting of fools, erm I mean others.

I still don't know everything, but I'm now able to see that it's not as important as being able to samba.

Wisewebwoman said...

Odd that, Nick,that we ascribed such wisdom and knowledge to our elders as we grew up and now see them as the same fumbling fools that we can be, uncertain and unsure.
I don't think there is anyone that has that inner security, some are just better actors.
I'm not one.
XO
WWW

Scarlet Blue said...

Can I use my 'wibble wibble' comment again?
Sx

secret agent woman said...

I'm sure I'll always be stumbling a . I'm okay with that. I still feel like I have gotten to a pretty comfortable place in myself.

kylie said...

as i say so often to people younger than myself "you get much better at faking it"

meno said...

Still stumbling myself, maybe not so much as i was as a younger woman. i don't think i'll ever outgrow it.

Nick said...

Macy - Ah yes, being able to samba, very important indeed. That and knowing how to filch an extra large slice of chocolate cake.

www - I think some people have that inner security, but far fewer than we imagine. Certainly as we get older we all learn to fake it with style.

Scarlet - Why not? They're probably the most famous words in the entire history of British poetry so they deserve to be repeated. Archie Duvet, what a genius he was!

Nick said...

Secret Agent - It definitely looks like you've reached a comfortable place. Given your profession, you should have sorted out a few basics by now!

Kylie - Absolutely. Of course I'm just kidding when I say I'm permanently fumbling. Actually I'm a master of every situation I come across.

Meno - It's all the well-meaning stumbling that makes human beings interesting. If we handled everything flawlessly, how boring would that be?

Scarlet Blue said...

That's a matter of opinion, Nick. I believe wibble wibble was totally eclipsed by wobble wobble, the philosophical offering from Lord 'Jelly-Nuts' Jenkinson- Hazelton in 1957.
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - Hmmm, a worthy alternative, I agree. But many critics have said that "wobble wobble" was spoilt by the early signs of insanity that culminated in Jelly-Nuts' fatal leap from Clifton Suspension Bridge in 1964.

Scarlet Blue said...

Tsk, what do the critics know!! Who could beat the Jelly-Nuts's ephemeral juxtaposition betwixt an unbalanced wedding cake and the mathematical theorem of the great Hattie Harris-Tweed?
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - Good point. That was a pièce de resistance and no mistake. A coup de théâtre in fact. Hattie was quite a character. Her quadratic equations were legendary.

Scarlet Blue said...

Agreed! Got to go in for my tea now...
Sx

Grannymar said...

There is one thing I'm sure of Nick, and that is that I know nothing. If I did know it, I can't remember it any more!

Nick said...

Scarlet - Must you go so soon? Oh of course, you have to get home before the looters take over the streets.

Now where were we? Ah yes, stumbling around like drunks in a pub....

Roses said...

I'm relieved to find its not just me!

For years now I've been hoping to 'settl down & become normal', like everone else. Now I know other people are just faking it. Well, good luck to them.

I'll just carry on hand be me. It have way more fun now.

Nick said...

Grannymar - Every time I think I know something, I find the goalposts have shifted and I've got it all wrong.

Nick said...

Roses - Oh, come on, I know you're not really that scatty and erratic. I think you're just faking it.

e said...

the phrase, "Fake it til you make it," applies to me sometimes though as others have noted, I'm comfortable in my skin these days.

Nick said...

e - That's good to hear. I don't think I've ever been truly comfortable in my skin, there always seems to be some other person struggling to get out....

John Gray said...

nick
I am 48
I feel
28
and I look 58

go figure

Nick said...

John - That must be from such traumatic incidents as almost having your eye poked out. It puts years on a person.

Seriously though, men often look older than they are. It's that stubborn refusal to slap on the moisturiser every night....

nursemyra said...

I was well into my twenties when I realised with a shock that my mother didn't know everything after all. She totally had me convinced for the longest time.....

Baino said...

So true, even now with adult children, sometimes they ask advice and I have to answer "I don't know" they have this expectation that as a parent (and a grown up) I should have all the answers and I have to keep reminding them that I'm still learning. Kinda like it though. I'd hate to evolve into a self assured, smug and probably grumpy old woman. I'm happy to stay in tune with the child within.

Nick said...

Myra - Me too. Parents in those days really fostered the idea that they were authority figures who were seldom at a loss about anything.

Baino - We're obviously so good at giving an impression of worldly wisdom (and hiding our mistakes) that kids are still liable to be fooled.

Rummuser said...

I am more into mumbling to myself now a days. Stumbling around is part of my life anyway with my bust hips. There is a certain charm in mumbling around I am told! Fumbling? I must give it a serious shot.

Nick said...

Ramana - I also do a bit of mumbling to myself. As Woody Allen said, I talk to myself because I'm the most intelligent person I know.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I've always believed that someone else should be in charge as most grownups are blowing it bigtime.

Nick said...

Heart - The politicians certainly are. And most of the time they don't even try to do things better, they just excuse their incompetence.

Jenny Woolf said...

I entirely agree. I'm slowly coming to the horrible suspicion that I may NEVER be grown up. What's a bit alarming is the way that people who are younger than me now seem more grown up and worldly wise than me.

Nick said...

Jenny - I notice that about younger people too. They seem to know all these things that have completely passed me by! Or maybe they're just faking it as well.

Liz said...

Who wants to be grown-up really though? You have to be serious and sensible then and not dance and skip in the puddles.

Nick said...

Liz - Goodness, I wouldn't want to dance and skip in the puddles. I might get WET.