A lot has happened since I wrote my last blog. America has got a new president, we have a woman prime minister and winter has arrived!
As you grow older ,you tend to get less exercised about world affairs and politics, as experience teaches you that there is not a lot you can change, despite the claims of democracy the political band wagon grinds on regardless of what you think or want.
So back to getting older.
Old age suddenly descends on you without warning, one minute you were rushing around raising a family, holding a job and had little time to think about it, next you know , they have grown up, created their own families, have little time for interaction and you have lost your life partner.
You are left to fend for your own needs. In the west especially, there is very little interaction with anyone. In the East where I grew up, people just drop in , relatives, friends of your relatives , and those you didn’t know could have any connection with you .
I remember, in my grandfathers house, a huge house ,at any given time there will be ten to twelve “guests” . My grandfather has come from the north of India ,and was now living and practicing as a lawyer in the south. So people from the city where he came from arrived all the time, seeking a better life or a visit ,will consider it their right to use our ancestral home as a guest house.It will be rude ,not to;” was the mantra. Most of them stayed for a month or two , and most of them were unknown to us and even to my grandfather. But he was very happy to offer the hospitality. I think I have the same family trait, I love people, entertaining and having house guests. But I do know that this is not the norm in the west and am sure a lot must view my intentions with suspicion!
Am lucky that I have a lot of friends, good neighbours and well wishers, I do other things and am in good health, but these wet, grey and grim mornings put me in mind of those who are not so fortunate, how do they cope with old age, loneliness and isolation. How and why this happens , am not sure.
But the world has changed since my childhood, even in the East, joint families and support to the older generation has declined. Most children these days go abroad and elsewhere , and no one can afford big houses to accommodate family, never mind friends and acquaintances .
This is progress, most people work so hard just to look after themselves and their immediate family , they haven’t got the time or the money to interact with their elderly relatives.
So it has nothing to do with cultures , we all are in the same boat! So when we say that we try to stay young as long as we can, it is not just for aesthetics. Old age has become a dirty word, they suddenly become isolated, may be because interacting reminds us all of the future which awaits us all.
A grim thought indeed.