Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Die-hard oldies?

Another cliché about oldies is that we're all opposed to innovation, to progress, to any movement forward. We distrust all innovation as new-fangled nonsense and fiercely defend the status quo - or better still, some golden age of fifty years ago.

Well, in reality this is just another tired stereotype and actually we fall anywhere on the spectrum between "golden past" and "golden future".

Some oldies want to go hurtling back to the sixties and beyond, clamouring for a return to the death penalty, beating in schools, imperial weights and measures, pounds shillings and pence, a ban on abortion, homosexuality as a crime, and all the nostalgic features of their youth.

They rail against political correctness, the European Union, uncontrolled immigration, the internet, gender fluidity, sex-changes, feminazis, and anything they don't understand or are scared of. The world has gone mad, they insist, and they're not going to join the madness.

At the other end of the spectrum are oldies like me, dyed in the wool socialists, feminists and egalitarians who embrace any change that's going if it means less inequality, less exploitation, less unchallenged privilege, less indifference to the poor, the sick, the disabled, the mentally ill.

Oldies like us welcome the benefits of the internet, the loosening of gender restrictions, respect for marginalised groups (aka political correctness), foreigners staffing the NHS, better working conditions, and the stimulating exposure to other cultures. We've no desire to lurch backwards into a more insular and strait-laced era.

Apart from anything else, we're thinking of the young and future generations. We want change of all kinds so they have more opportunities and more exciting lives and not lives that are once again stifled and shackled by die-hards and traditionalists.

I want broader horizons, not narrower ones.


  1. My open mind comes from people ...plain and simple .....talking and reading about people

  2. John: Indeed, you have constant contact with a huge range of people so that encourages you to appreciate their personal circumstances and not make insensitive judgments about them.

  3. Yep, "Stay curious and open to life." That's me. :)

  4. I see innovation and advancement as mostly positive things.
    While we may look back with fond memories, it's usually through rose-tinted spectacles. If we really were thrown back to the 'good old days' we'd certainly find a new appreciation for how far we've come.
    The only area where I find myself frustrated is when change happens just for the sake of change rather than because a problem is being solved.
    It's necessary as part of my job to keep up with new technology and I try hard to do so, but as I get older I'm finding it more difficult to learn new things.

  5. Jean: That's an excellent motto!

    Dave: True. If we were suddenly thrown back to the "good old days" we'd get an awful shock. For a start, no internet and everything that relies on it. Cars that go rusty. Offices thick with tobacco smoke. We'd soon be screaming to get back to 2017!

  6. It's easy to look back at the good old days with nostalgia, but as you said, there was a lot wrong with it. My husband and I often mention things from the past that would shock our kids now.

  7. I don't even know what constitutes an "oldie". When does one enter the fold? Both my parents are mentally and physically as fit as the proverbial and - in my mind's eye - they are younger than I am (in years). Have you ever experienced being stuck in some sort of weird time warp?

    As to the "good old days" - for me they were good. Very very good indeed. Not better, not worse than now - different. I tend towards old memories, nostalgia - sometimes bordering on sentimentality. I also stand amazed and wonder whether there will ever be a time again like my/our lifetime where change has been coming as hard and fast as it's been for the baby boomers and their parents.

    However, with a wink and a nod to your post: Makes me smile when the Angel shows me some piece of new tech and claims it's "intuitive". Intuitive? You've got to be joking. Still, give me some white goods or a vacuum cleaner and I will, intuitively, know where the on switch is.


  8. Bijoux: That's true. Especially of a time when homosexuality and abortion were criminalised. How many young people today would believe it possible?

  9. Ursula: It's a matter of debate, isn't it? I would say you're an oldie at 60, though if you're still fit and healthy you won't look like one.

    I suppose for some people, their youth really does seem like "the good old days". Which is fair enough as long as it doesn't stop you embracing change and moving forward.

    Some things are intuitive, some are completely baffling, and not just to oldies, I'm sure. Even instruction manuals can often be baffling and confusing.

  10. Personalities have a huge influence on attitude. Elders aren't a monolith as you know. An uncle took up the internet at 88 afraid he was missing out on "stuff". He's now 94. A guy I work with is 77 and loves his new iPad. Had resisted the new fangled mallarky until this past January. And I live in a small town and see this up close and personal.

    Elders are often driven by fear of the unknown.


  11. What means oldie ? I know in my professional environment some young people being much more traditional than oldies will ever be. One must get married, homosexuality is a disease, abortion a crime , migrants a threat to our jewish-christian traditions etc. I even saw once a document about the States where young girls danced in a special event with their dads and swearing to stay virgin until their marriage. I rub my eyes ! Marriage, household and bringing the husband a good meal. Hahaha. The elder and really old people enjoy the modern life and my grand'ma knows how to deal with a computer.
    Mia More

  12. www: I know, there are lots of examples of "silver surfers". Not my mum though. She totally resists computers, the internet and every technological advance. I don't think it's fear of the unknown, more laziness and not wanting to be a clueless beginner.

  13. Mia: You're right, some young people nowadays have very traditional views. I've read about the virginity pledgers. Quite a lot of them relapse, I've heard. Marriage, household and feeding your husband may suit some, but most women today would find such a prospect horrifying.

  14. I would never want to go back.
    there are some things that were possibly better... like decent customer service and no robotic marketing calls.
    but by and large this age in time is wonderful.
    I recently saw a quote that pretty much sums it up.
    "it's the future. get over it!"
    LOLOL! I like that.

  15. Except in a few areas (global warming springs to mind), I wouldn't go back for anything. The past wasn't so peachy for women, for racial minorities, for the LGBT community, etc. I think there are progressive older folks and reactionary older folks, and similar divisions in younger people.

  16. Tammy: Very true about customer service having been a lot better in the past. And you didn't have to wait forever in a phone queuing system before you reached somebody. On the other hand, you don't have to wait in a long queue outside a phone box in the freezing cold!

  17. Agent: Absolutely, for women and minorities, things are a great deal better than in the past. And yes, young people can also be anywhere on the spectrum between tradition and progress.

  18. Yes, we remember how stultifying it all was.

  19. Hattie: Stultifying is the word. How exciting it was when it looked like we were entering a new era of equality and opportunity and forward-thinking. Even Margaret Thatcher wasn't able to turn back the clock that much.

  20. Your description of some oldies that are still living in the past describes my neighbour exactly! He refuses to accept all these "new fangled gadgets and things". Even to this day he still thinks in £sd. He is a nightmare to the checkout girls in the supermarket because he will insist on standing at the checkout and converting what every item costs in £sd (with a piece of paper and a pencil!). He has never accepted metric measurements. He is 79 by the way. I, on the other hand, have made sure that I have kept pace the ever changing field of technology. I have even put some of the youngsters right on using iPads and smartphones etc. I'm 80yrs old.

  21. Keith: Good for you, keeping up with all the tech advances. I have Jenny to thank for getting me onto Facebook and giving me use of an iPad! I can't believe anyone would actually convert everything to pre-decimal at the checkout. Obviously several screws loose there!

  22. I am not allowed to become an oldie in the sense that you write about. I reside with two geeks at home who cannot do without all the modern gadgets and insist that I use them too.

    Having said that, I must also mention that I had / have no problem adapting. I even use Uber now! I have not yet used the GPS while driving but will one of these days. I really haven't had to as I haven't been anywhere new!

    And something to lighten up the post;

    A very self-important college freshman took it upon himself to explain to a senior citizen ...
    ... sitting next to him why it was impossible for the older generation to understand his generation.

    "You grew up in a different world, actually almost a primitive one", he said in a voice loud enough for many nearby to hear. "We, the young people of today, grew up with television, jet planes, space travel, men walking on the moon, our spaceships have visited mars, we have nuclear energy, electric and hydrogen cars, computers with light-speed processing, and…" he paused to take another swig of beer…

    Which the senior citizen took advantage of to say, "You know, son, you're right. We didn't have those things when we were young… so we invented them. Now, you arrogant little fart, what are YOU doing for the next generation?"

  23. Ramana: I like the story! Yes, indeed, who invented all these things?

    Uber has never got a foothold in Belfast. People are very loyal to the traditional taxi firms. Also, I wouldn't use them because of the "self-employed" scam and the shabby way they treat their cabbies.

  24. I would think if a person is curious and interested in other than just themself they couldn't possibly be content with same ol' thing with so much change going on all around. Some of us find the unknown exciting, others experience fear, I guess. The challege is preserving what may be desirable in the old days and embracing what is desirable in the present -- that with the potential for the same in the future.

  25. Joared: That's it, curiosity and interest are what keep us moving forward. I'm baffled by those people who seem to have little curiosity and go through life in a kind of mindless daze. As you say, we need to combine the best of the past with the best of what's happening right now.