Do other people my age also face this dichotomy?
I have entered my fifties, and belong, firmly, to the generation of parents of twenty-somethings…but I am able to empathise so much with the younger generation as they express viewpoints that others of my age are not able to see. As my daughter and her friends grew up, I felt that I was making a fresh group of friends,as they became adults in their own right. I learnt to call them my friends instead of my daughter’s.
Several times this week, I found myself seeing both viewpoints, the younger generation’s, as well as the older’s. In one instance, the parents expressed concern that the son was showing disturbingly leftist leanings, and the son felt that the parents were changing from the way they had been, and he couldn’t share their point of view. In another instance, a young man told me about his quitting his studies to work out what he wanted from life; this included going to work. I could understand this point of view, and felt, indeed, that the person concerned seemed to have thought things out very maturely; but at the same time, I felt concern about how he would be able to deal later with a society and an employment culture that is so very degree-centric in India….and felt that his relatives might have had a valid point in being concerned, not just being interfering.
The same dichotomy works with people who are a generation older than me. When my uncle complains about modern morality, I am able to understand completely how he feels about the disappearance of the world he has been used to, but at the same time, feel strongly that the inability to adapt to a changing world is surely one of the signs of aging, mentally if not physically. The positive word for this is nostalgia; its negative aspect is feeling that things have deteriorated from the world one has inhabited as a youth.
So far, I seem to be comfortable with at least two generations on either side of me…I wonder if I will be able to catch myself atrophying as the aging process happens to me!