Monday, 24 August 2015

Fizzing furiously

Do we really live life more intensely when we're young? Is it really true that as children we feel everything more passion-ately, more vividly, but as we get older we're more phlegmatic, shrugging off with a brief flicker of interest things that once got us so aroused?

Of course it isn't. Oldies feel things just as acutely. We may not go rushing off to protest rallies or dance the night away (though some of us still do), but we're just as emotional and passionate as we ever were. Things can still stab us in the heart or knock us for six.

You only have to listen to a few oldies exclaiming about some pet grievance or some cherished political opinion to realise that they're not exactly burnt-out old cynics happy to let life drift past them with an indifferent "So what?"

I constantly amaze myself with my continuing passions about life's vicissitudes. In fact it's because I've lived so long, and know how little has been done to resolve problems I've been aware of since I was a small child, that I get so angry and forthright about the need to fix them. Often angrier than when I was young and thought these injustices would soon be put right.

And it's because I've lived so long, and can recall a more enlightened time of full employment, better working conditions, generous welfare benefits and cheaper housing, that I'm utterly distressed at the way we're hurtling back to a Victorian era of struggle and deprivation, and I'm incandescent with disbelief and outrage. How could anyone of any age not be passionate about this wilful political vandalism?

No, my emotions certainly haven't dried up with advancing years. On the contrary, they're fizzing as furiously as they were in my naive, pubescent self.


  1. I think I get more pissy with age.

  2. Susie: I'm not exactly pissy, but I do feel very strongly about a lot of things and I'm less and less likely to be indifferent.

  3. Unlike you, I have become more indifferent about the political arena and agendas. I think when I was younger, I saw the world through the filter that if such and such were done, you could change the world. After living life, I've found that most people either don't want help or to change. Again, this has just been my experience.

    However, there are many things that I appreciate and feel more intensely now that I would likely have ignored in my younger days.....nature, works of art, the innocence of a child. I bawled my eyes out last night watching a news clip about a man who planted 4 miles of sunflowers along the road in Wisconsin, in memory of his wife who died of cancer.

  4. Bijoux: I often have strong emotions around those things as well. Lost-looking dogs or beautiful sunsets or fluttering butterflies. And what a wonderful story about the guy planting four miles of sunflowers. That sort of story can churn me up as well.

  5. Fizzing well here....a chap in an office I was visiting asked me about how things were in England and was given the works.
    When I had finally stopped he said
    It really upsets you to see your country like that, doesn't it.

    Yes, it does.

  6. Helen: Exactly. The state of England right now is heart-breaking. Hard to see any positives as the average person's quality of life goes down and down. Your office colleague must have been quite stunned by your thorough disillusion!

  7. this post hits home for me!
    i agree with every word.
    only where you use england i use the u.s.

    i was a 'child of the 60's.' we came out of high school with a feeling we could change the world! and in college i participated in a sit in against the viet nam war. such energy and passion we had.
    and IT DID change things. that seems so long ago. but i'm still at it.
    today... my cause is the cruelty of animal factory farms...
    captive orcas around the world in stupid amusement parks...
    and the trashing of the planet... its resources and wildlife.

    and as you say... there is the ever widening gap of the have and have nots. that's always been with us. but it seems so mean in this day and time... when we're more educated. you'd think we'd have learned something by now how to take care of each other.
    still ...
    the power mongers among us. forever more apparently.
    great post nick.

  8. Tammy: I'm with you on all those "causes". I've been a vegetarian for 40 years so I'm doing my bit to avoid factory farms. I ought to go vegan but I like cheese too much!

    Did you see that Costa Rica is to close all its zoos and release all the animals?

    Indeed, the ever-widening gap of haves and have nots. Despite our supposed democratic political systems.

  9. I think the sooner we wake up and admit we're all living in oligarchies the better off we'll be.

    I see our prime minister, the sinister and frankly dreadful Stephen Harper has upped his net worth by 5 million dollars since he took office. This is only the worth we know of. Off shores and trust accounts might litter his basement.

    I choose my activism very carefully, there is only so much energy.


  10. www: What with Stephen Harper and Tony Blair, it looks like a political career is now a good way of enriching yourself.

    Oligarchies indeed. I feel I have virtually no influence on the government that's controlling so many aspects of my life. I'm just a voice in the wilderness.

  11. I agree with Bijoux. I have run out of hormones. See my current post for how it used to be :-)
    Apologies for not be around much lately - real life, etc.

  12. as i get older i say less about the troubling things. I have been laughed at so many times it's not funny so now i just seethe quietly.
    i have also got better at taking actions like writing to politicians etc.

  13. Scarlet: You've run out of hormones? Do you need an optimum level of hormones to be passionate? Surely not?

    Kylie: That's sad that you've been laughed at so much. Presumably by people too selfish to care about the rest of humanity. I'm also a mixture of quietly seething and taking action. Not much of the action though, for the reason I gave above - too often I just feel like a voice in the wilderness.

  14. oh nick!
    i hadn't seen that about costa rica! how wonderful.
    baby steps. baby steps.
    but i want GIANT LEAPS!
    thanks for telling me that. i had somehow missed it in not watching the news.
    it gets too much for me... and then i stop. then i watch. then i stop.
    i'm too sensitive for my own good. it's not an age thing.
    i always have been.
    my 'helping' comes in the form of petitions and letters to powerful people and corporations... and financial support of trustworthy organizations like sea shepherd and some others. and our local no kill shelters.

  15. Tammy: Here's a link to the Costa Rica decision:

    I would say you're normally sensitive, not over-sensitive. It seems to me quite natural to be upset and despairing over the wretched state of the world. I could anaesthetise myself by ignoring the media entirely, but then I would also miss all sorts of useful and interesting information.

  16. Nick.. No we dont
    We live life more vividly when
    We have kids
    We lose aloved one
    We become ill then recover
    We take drugs
    We take time to think
    We are in love

    Thats when we do it xxx

  17. John: I agree, all those things as well. Of course oldies still experience all the usual day to day emotions like grief, love, misery, disappointment etc, and just as intensely as the young. How can anyone seriously say oldies are just passion-less lumps of wood?

  18. Let us face reality Nick. The welfare state is gone for ever. I was never part of it any way as ours was what was called a mixed economy for near half a century which left the public sector employees well off and screwed everyone else. The latter paid for the former's being well off incidentally. If we ever get to meet, I will tell you horror stories about our (that is fellows like me in the private sector ) income taxes of those days, We are still paying the pension benefits for those fat cats and I for one do not mind the passing away of the socialistic pattern of society.

    Today, my only child a son is an entrepreneur competing with others of his ilk and prospering just like millions of others are doing. More people have come out of poverty now than it was possible for in those days. There is still poverty but it is rapidly disappearing.

    I have adjusted to this scenario as have millions of Indians young enough to be my grandchildren.

  19. Ramana: It sounds to me as if the type of society you're describing wasn't in any way socialist but was just another variety of elitism. In a socialist society people should have similar incomes, but if public sector employees are earning more and getting bigger pensions, that isn't socialism.

    I'm sure there are many horror stories about the public sector, but equally there are many horror stories about the private sector - like people earning so little they need top-ups from the state to survive, or people on zero-hours contracts with no sickness benefit or holiday entitlement.

    I'm glad to know that your son is doing well, but unfortunately a lot of other people aren't doing well, however hard they work, which is why I still believe in a welfare state.

  20. Gain, I'm going to make a plug for individual variability rather than generalizations. Some people became less excitable, some more, some stay the same.

    Although, I did read an interesting study that shows people generally becoming grumpier with age. Especially men. I swear I'm not making that up.

  21. Agent: Indeed, individual variability always defies slick generalisations. As you say, in reality we could be anywhere on the spectrum between hyper-excitable and deadpan.

    Are older people grumpier? My father was certainly pretty grumpy. But I loved my maternal granny for her perennially sunny disposition.

  22. See, your dad vs your granny are what I mean about individual differences! The research just shows a statistically significant difference. So, on average, people (especially men) become grumpier as they get older. There are always those who don't fall into that pattern.

  23. Re Costa Rica's a bit more complicated.
    One government department was going to close a disgusting zoo in the centre of San Jose run by another government department. That department appealed to the courts and the matter is now in limbo.
    There is a lot of support for closing that and all other zoos...but as that includes tourist traps calling themselves refuges and hotel resorts as well it is going to take some doing to overcome those lobbies. step at a time and we'll get there.