Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.“most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective”
One of the benefits of growing older – yes, there are a few – is how your perspective changes over time. It’s the result of a series of lessons in humility.
Everyone knows that first lesson. As you advance into the grown up zone there comes the moment your voice brings to life the same words your mother/father used to chastise you. The ones that stuck with you because at the time they were just totally unfair, unreasonable or outstandingly stupid.
“Because I said so” springs to mind.
“When you’re older, you’ll understand” is also one that will make a painful amount of sense once you have children nearing adolescence.
The second stage is when you see your children giving you the look you gave your parents when they said those stupid, unreasonable and/or unfair things.
The third, and perhaps most disturbing signpost, is when you watch tv and see a person appear with great fanfare and applause and you have absolutely no idea who it is. None.
Perhaps they’ll start to sing something; you still don’t recognize them. Or some of the song is familiar but you’re not sure where you actually heard it. Maybe their name is unfamiliar but you’ve seen the face before and have that “oh him/her from that show/movie” moment. You know, that show about the mom…it has that actress from the other show…with a dog. They live in a house in some neighborhood and they go to the store…You know, that one. Yeah, Walking Dead…that’s it.
You are well and truly along the path to being old.
These are all well known and have been mentioned before by many others. Possibly even myself I think, maybe, but maybe not. However, there are more instar stages just before the metamorphosis is complete. These are more subtle and rarely mentioned shifts.
The first crack in your nymph exoskeleton is laughing along with young folk about something ridiculous in a high school year book that looks remarkably like yours. Game-fully you play along saying, I can’t believe we:
- wore our hair like that
- had a crush on that singer
- lined up for hours to see insert-name-of-movie-here (in the case of King Kong, Spider Man, Superman or A Star is Born be sure to designate version or director or leading actor so it is not confused with the current insanely popular version still showing in a movie theatre nearby).
Then comes the penultimate cut. The SNL musical guest is a “nostalgia” band playing all your favourite songs from post high school years. You remember. Those first years of officially being an adult.
The hardest point, however, the final step to becoming one of the ‘olds’, is when you hear a perfectly innocent comment, criticism and/or rallying cry from the the newest generation that goes beyond disparaging and well into deliberately full-on hurtful towards your generation and those who are older.
This cuts two ways, you see. First of all it’s unfair—except for the rare times it is genuinely earned—and secondly you recognize its similarity to something you flung at your parent’s generation.
At that point you have completed the change in perspective. This is not as bad as you thought it would be in your so-called salad days. It is a completion of the growth process. You have now emerged as a butterfly. A wrinkly, forgetful butterfly with a heart condition or arthritis or..or…you know, that thing with the breaking off bits, the thing that actor had..in the show…never mind, it’s not important now.
There will be times you can look at young firebrands and say, ‘there are good points here, well done….’ The other times you’ll listen and think, ‘yeah? Your time will come, pumpkin. Just wait.’
In both cases it is the voice of experience and you can expect to be attended to with the same attention you gave your elders when they had the same criticism/praise for you.
Shingles….that’s it, shingles.