Earlier I wrote about how I don’t mind aging.
The world’s bizarre reaction to the pandemic has reinforced this notion.
Life is a bit depressing at the moment. If you’re still chipper, you haven’t been paying attention. Hint: this shit is never going to end.
Softening the blow for me is that I’m middle-aged and have already tasted the fruits of freedom when I was young enough to fully enjoy them. I lived overseas, travelled to many countries and was able to drop home once or twice a year to visit family.
That sort of life will not be possible from now on. I know some of you think it will. I need make no argument except: wait and see. Travel from now on will be expensive and highly restricted. Mostly for the rich.
I experienced a youth of eating out, hanging with friends at the pub and never once being forced to wear a dehumanizing mask. I didn’t appreciate it at the time because it never crossed my mind that in a future dystopia all this would come to an end.
From now on, the privileges of going out or bare-facing will be on-again-off-again and will involve internal passports, contact tracing and mandatory masking every time there’s a bad flu, norovirus or other nasty bug going around.
I also saw a period of genuine free speech. You used to be able to say almost anything here or on Twitter or Facebook. These days even a sitting US President can be banned for expressing non-approved opinions and the big players are doing all they can to destroy alternative platforms.
What’s the best age to be now we’re entering this lame and clownish dystopia? I envy the Silent Generation we are hobbling our society to protect: they enjoyed the long, post-war economic boom and lived just long enough to see The End (for those oldies with a strong narrative sense). I pity those who declined and died alone and confused in nursing homes during lockdown, which was for their own good, but up until that sad end they had a pretty good run.
Note to self: if you find yourself dying a miserable death, try to appreciate the good times you had.
The next luckiest group are the Boomers, whose only disadvantage vis-a-vis the Silents is that their twilight years will be tightly restricted and some of them, perhaps half, will resent the fact.
Then comes my own group, Gen X. Oh well. At least we had some good times. Fantastic times. Now we need to creep into some quiet refuge for the second half of our lives, somewhere with good WiFi for when we’re locked down for months at a time (yes there will, wait and see). We are just old enough to be comfortable staying home for long periods, and for those of us who are not, at least we can reminisce about happier times.
The young cannot even do that.
For Millennials and, much more so, Zoomers, life ended before it began. Those who are children today will have no memory of freedom. Theirs will be a life of long periods under house arrest, limited and very expensive travel, internal passports, curated speech and many further impositions that Big Mother will continue to dream up throughout their lives.
The saddest thing of all about the Zoomers, the thing that makes me wonder if our society is worth saving, is that most of them don’t care. Surveys show they’ve liked lockdown, don’t miss their friends (if they had any) and are opposed to freedom of speech. Born to the screen, they rarely went outside anyway and were never comfortable with in-person socialization.
Self-aware Zoomer The Flaming Eyeball wrote an excellent piece on the pathologies of this group but it appears to have disappeared.
This is how the West ends: from Socrates, Shakespeare and Neil Armstrong to an obese, depressed and gender-confused virgin getting you fired from his mum’s basement.
I’m glad my life is already half-done (if I’m burdened with my three-score and ten).
How odd that in my twenties I looked up advice on healthy eating, tried to consume plenty of olive oil in the assumption that the older me would be thankful. I’m not. I don’t care. If I must live then being healthy is better than being sick but it’s no biggie to me whether I live to 70 or 90. In fact, I’m starting to think 70 might be better.
For those of us who’ve tasted sweet, sweet freedom and whose hearts still pump the red blood of our ancestors, life in the New Normal is barely worth living. It is not even really life. It is sitting in a room and remembering what life used to be. My only motivation is writing stories based on what life experience I got to have. Once that is expended, I don’t know what I will do.
I have no death-wish. Rather, I no longer have a strong life-wish. The good bit is over; the future is Brazil but dumber.
For others, the old blood was gone long before lockdown, replaced with soy and corn syrup. They don’t want freedom and think it’s selfish that anyone else does.
I would rather die shaking the iron bars and shouting at the guards than sitting quietly in the corner being politely grateful for all the interesting stuff I can see out the window.
I wondered the other day, what if this madness had hit earlier in my life?
Childhood: disaster. I was socially awkward from the start and forced interactions at school, in sport etc. are what turned me into a functional human being. I would have stalled if held at home for many months and I’d be even weirder than I turned out.
Teenage years: I would have loved lockdown between the ages of 13-16 because my school was a dangerous place. As not much learning was taking place anyway, I doubt much harm would have been done.
When I came out of my shell in later teen years, lockdown would have devastated my nascent blossoming. As always, lockdowns hurt those already vulnerable.
The same goes for my university years. I desperately needed to get out of the house as much as possible during those years and a lockdown would have been a serious setback.
Imagine if borders had closed just before I first planned to fly to Japan many years ago. That would have changed my life in a huge way, and not in a good way.
Imposed at any later moment in my life, lockdowns may have cut into my savings, left me stranded away from family at critical moments, or not had much effect at all depending on where I was at the time and what I was doing.
Thinking about it now, I can see that there are certain moments in my life when lockdowns could have been a fatal blow.
As it happened, the storm came when I was best able to withstand it.
I encourage readers to consider how lockdowns and other restrictive policies may have impacted you if imposed when you were were younger. If lockdowns work, should the young have such obligations of self-sacrifice to the old? And what obligations do the old have to the young?
Tales from a happier time. My review is here.