Monday, 11 January 2016
I think that's defeatist rubbish, trotted out by people who don't want to change, who cling to some supposed idyllic past and don't want to adjust to new demands and expectations.
They often justify this head-in-the-sand attitude by saying we're all "hard-wired" to think and behave in certain ways and that's that. Any attempts to think differently are doomed from the start.
I couldn't agree less. I know my thoughts and emotions have changed in numerous ways since I was young, and even since ten years ago. I couldn't be more different from the naive, submissive, muddled, careless schoolboy I once used to be. If the eight-year-old me met the 68-year-old me, we simply wouldn't recognise each other. We would seem like complete strangers.
As a youngster I was emotionally illiterate - barely aware of my emotions, let alone able to express them clearly. My opinions were sternly conservative, heavily influenced by my solidly conservative family. I was utterly naive about relationships, politics, sex, and the often desperate lives of those who didn't share my middle-class upbringing.
At what is now approaching a ripe old age, I'm all too informed about those things I used to be blithely ignorant of. Almost too well informed, to the point of weary cynicism. I'm more and more conscious of my emotions, and the depths of pain and suffering and joy and enthusiasm they involve. I don't have so many of the glib, know-it-all opinions about other people's relationships or behaviour or personal crises.
I think a person's readiness to change is boundless. All that's needed is an open mind and flexibility. Hard-wired, my arse.