Coming of age

SAVE ITEM
Paul Deemer

03 / 11 / 2014 9am

So this month, as part of celebrating diversity, we are focussing on age related issues and I thought I would kick off by giving my personal reflections on this area.

I think the whole age debate going on at the moment is really interesting. There is a great deal in the news about the challenges facing young people in the economy, the high levels of unemployment and the difficulties they have when it comes to finding jobs – not just in this country but across Europe.

In academic circles, there is a whole discussion around inter-generational issues – and the similarities and differences between Generation X, Y and Z. Whilst at the other end of the spectrum, there is a whole debate (in which NHS Employers are actively involved) about pensions and how the country is going to be able to cope with a growing number of older / retired people, pulling on those pension pots in the future.

These debates often worry me, because they frequently fall back into the great trap of restricting diversity (which I see time and time again). This leads to categorising people in a way which creates a “them and us” type of discussion. Everybody seems to have a vested interest – which of course they do! But those vested interests seem to then lead to these very polarised opinions and staunchly held positions.

It feels like we need a bit of “generational mediation” – and for people of all ages and backgrounds to talk more openly to each other about their fears, worries and aspirations. As my contribution to this, my thought processes led me to another outpouring – which I have called Coming of Age – and which tries to capture my reflections about what I think I was feeling at 18 – and how I might feel when I am 65.

Coming of Age

I’m coming of an age when I want to rant and rage.
I’m 18 again.
The world is my oyster – and I am fishing for pearls of wisdom;
Every day is an adventure and every challenge an opportunity.
I have no responsibilities – but I feel so responsible.
Responsible for this mess of a world that I am coming into.
How can I change things and make the world a better place?
How can I make an impression - and leave an impression?
What is my carbon dated footprint going to be?
How can I change the world?

I’m coming of an age when I want to rant and rage.
I’m 18 again.
The world is just a great big onion – and the layers just keep on coming.
Every day I cry in despair at the misery and sadness previous generations have created.
I feel so responsible – but I have no responsibilities.
The responsibilities lie with older people in positions of power.
Why won’t they listen to me?
Why can’t they see the mess they’ve created?
Why don’t they stop and realise what’s going on?
How can I change the world?

I’m coming of an age when all the world’s a stage.
I’m 65 now.
The world is inside me – and it’s me offering pearls of wisdom.
Every day is a bonus – and a privilege.
I have lots of responsibilities – too many in fact!
I need to prioritise every day and find a greater balance.
Why won’t people leave me alone and make their own decisions?
Why can’t people get on and do their own thing – why do I have to be involved?
Why can’t I find a green and pleasant pasture to rest my mind?
How can I stop the world? 

I’m coming of an age when I want to rant and rage.
But I’d like to do it at my pace – and in my time.
I’d like to decide what the agenda is – and what is most important to me.
I want to be the one who asks the questions – and lets other find the solutions.
How can we change things and make the world a better place?
How can we make an impression - and leave an impression?
What is our carbon dated footprint going to be?
How can we leave this world a better place than when we started?

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