by Lydia Nolan
I was thinking about some light topic at first, and then it grew and grew into this entire memoir! So bear with me, this is going to be a "wild toad ride..."
I was reminising first about the days of my youth when, in the coming of the weekends, all my friends and I would ask each other excitedly: "what are YOU doing this weekend?" or, "Where's the party?" or "Wanna go to the show?" or even, "Hey wanna work on a project for school together, then we can watch some scary movie later, maybe invite some friends and Mom can order pizza..."
Well, sadly, those days are long gone in my life. But also, many of those innuendos have never even been experienced by many kids today without including elicit drugs, orgy, criminal behavior, or even just talking about depression and the future, and making negative plans for being nowhere, no time...but six feet under...
I cannot imagine anyone in grad school saying to me now: "Hey! Where's the party?" Not because there aren't any, but because I am a latent graduate student, passed my fifties. I've had a couple of marriages (I don't want to talk about), three children, all grown, with one having four grandchildren of mine, and the last one considering grad school himself.
But any expectation of someone inviting me to a fun festival or a movie in a group, or any kind of group fun studies, etc., is not going to be happening because the only time it seems that happens, it has to be about what can be had--mostly sexual favors--and I'm seen as passed that category.
Then, I began to think about the idea of aging. For some reason, nobody thinks that older people want to share in the comaraderie. Many young people would rather say: "haven't you lived long enough? Move over! Go away so we can have more ROOM to experience things, it's OUR TIME NOW! Historically, every generation goes pretty much through the same rights of passage.
Older people--who have to let these young people who desire them to edge away--have no other choice but to become silent and isolated, which brings on depression, alcoholism, suicidal tendencies, and more. So these young people who hate older people are making it easier for the older generation to consider...murdering themselves one way or another...
I particularly feel bad for the men or women who still feel young in their minds, and re-enter school, or jobs, trying to survive and maybe even live somewhat robust yet, hoping to find friendship or comraderie after raising children and perhaps losing spouses to divorce or death... For some reason, people seem to think that once the older generation has either gotten married or had children, and are at retirement age, they should dissipate.
This is terribly unfair. Life is given to all and should be sacred to all as well. Why can't we make young people realize this? Poor examples of older women in media have been such that they are painted in risqué settings, such as "cougars, looking to molest young boys," or "witch-like mothers, looking to kill or mutalate their children" or "overly religious fundamentalists" who want to be some kind of visual sacrifice either through terrorism or self-mutilation.
Movies including older women usually show them as wanton, oversexed, desperate for attention, and so forth. Movies depicting older men are a little better: they get to be rich and do the same things. If society gets that picture of older people, it is because society has relegated older people to an emotional location of isolation, where they must remain either hidden, or socialize with themselves, who are already very lonely and depressed many times... OR, they can get surgically altered to "appear" younger in order to be acceptable in social circles. Sure. They still want to love and be loved. Sure. They still want to have sex. Sure. They still want to have meaningful conversation, and even act juvenile at times. Because, they are still HUMANS.
So now I wanted to share something with the youth in our society:
Just because you get older, you do not lose the need to be loved, or appreciated, or to be useful, and included in society's fast paced highways of social stimulation. And when older folks DO lose motivation, it is usually because they began being ignored long before their time, and/or dispised long before they should have been, then gave up socializing, turning into depressed, resentful old codgers and cougars, eventually letting themselves go, and ... you guessed it: they are ignored and dispised even further.
The older generation of people, (particularly women who are less liked as they age than men)--if our society thought differently about them--would probably be useful in the work force to not only train young people about how to enjoy their jobs and treat others well on those jobs, but to train young people on matters of the heart! Yes, that's right, I said it. Older people were supposed to dispense to younger people, WISDOM. However, for about forty to fifty years now, our philosophical belief system in the US has changed to drastically that I think older people have no sense of value at all, and so like a self-fulfilling prophecy, our country is going down fast because we no longer have values that bring hope, love, and compassion of others, and concern for our weaker brothers.
Just to give an example, I have watched that show "Californication." It is a truly disheartening implication of where the young generation is being led, because those that write and portray such family dynamics are already skewed in their own systems of society, and then they paint these sick pictures of people for the more youthful generation, who actually think the lifestyle of most of those weirdos are normal! Why should I say this? Because I have met these kids, and they are the ones who don't wash their hands when they visit the toilet and say, "don't like it? ..... yourself 'ol man!" (I won't say what they say), and they think they should have sexual orgies with anyone and everyone, and that everyone should be bisexual, and that everyone should cheat on their wives or husbands or partners because "live is boring" and that no one should believe in God, and they think their lives are nobody's business, and that they don't have to answer to anyone...so "---- off!" This is the standing attitude of many young in the present generation. Not all, but many.
This, my "getting older" friends, is what we have to look forward to when it comes to going to doctors and hospitals, when we ask for help from retail attendants, or store clerks, andwhen we are trying to really TEACH young people about values, aesthetics and intellectual literature that came from people who valued life, andwhen we have to applysincerely for help from various institutions. The "It's my life, and I can do what I want, I don't give a rat's ass about you, the "weaker brother," is quickly becoming the standard mode in this country, and it's frightening to think about getting older and what will happen to the NEXT generations.
The point is: because of some freaky past people's neuroses and dysfunctionalities, we have to realize that they have infected many of the young with their ideologies on the subjects of decency vs. decadence; religiosity vs. atheism... like Nietzsche, or Musil, or any other author that turned in their belief systems of potentially conventional and refined living, for an extreme pendulum swing to the left.
How the present generation is turning out proves to me that we had some mighty bitter and hateful people in the turn of the century on, who became authors and spewed their dysfunctions, their bitternesses, their resentments, and hatred of their parents or church leaders or whomever upon the written pages, never taking responsibility for the good along with the bad, and just blanketing everything as suspect and evil which was good and righteous...and then they pour it on the next generations' peace of mind. Even when we see the news about some religious crazy who molested children, that shouldn't mean we think ALL religious people are molesters or are evil...I can think of a LOT of atheists in the same category... (just trying to meet extremes for everyone)
Take a look at these figures:
Suicide prevention (SUPRE)
The problemEvery year, almost one million people die from suicide; a "global" mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.
In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group; these figures do not include suicide attempts which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide.
Suicide worldwide is estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998, and 2.4% in countries with market and former socialist economies in 2020.
Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.
Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide in Europe and North America; however, in Asian countries impulsiveness plays an important role. Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.
But it will be said that present views of Monotheism vs. Atheism, monogamy vs. polygamy, heterosexual vs. homosexual or bisexual, and even religious preference vs. cultural preference ALL have nothing to do with how we interact with others and how we believe in how we should treat others.
I believe it is true that the religious moguls and extreme clerics of ancient times gave us a lot of damaged goods because many of the people were not very intelligent. It took a lot of time to "grow into intelligence." But if we consider ourselves today, we should be able to see this throughout history, and instead of going completely extreme on our rendition of good and bad ideology and human beings, we should be able to "temper" our lives with a balance of such historical belief systems.
In the Dark Ages, right along with the intellectual thinkers who left us some beautiful literature, were those people who lived with a lot of fear from oppression by religious tormenters, starvation, wars, greedy warlords, and evil people that were power hungry and had sexual and sensual egoism driving them to take whatever they wanted.
The poor and uneducated were filled with fear of sinning, which in stead backfired to cause continual thought on those sins, causing them to lust even more for the sensual desires, and then they felt even more guilty!
These are the originally innocent human beings--some who grew out of the fear and became intellectual and capable of separating the good from the bad instruction, the others who grew into hateful, spiteful, resentful suspicious intellectual somewhat, and spread their negativity through negative literature and paranoia toward anyone who selectively continued toward growth in those things from the past that still could aspire one to goodness.
Yes, we all act out in an overly extreme manner with everyone else now and then, but that doesn't mean we should swing the pendulum all the way to the other side and STAY negative, bitter, and suspicious of everyone. There IS a balance in all this of our beliefs, philosophies, and religious orders...
Humans are prideful beings and think whenever they feel afronted they "have a right" to tear down the house--throw out the baby with the bathwater, in other words... But if they have any intelligence at all, they will select good seeds from the bad, and throw out the chaff from the wheat: people must come back to stability for the sake of the next generations, or we will see even more suicides, and more killing, and more negative input.