This morning I endeavoured for some time to transport some music tracks from my laptop to my phone. I wanted a simple thing, really. To be able to listen to my music through headphones whilst out and about. However, it was not a simple thing at all. As I tried to understand the goobledegook language, one that changes daily and makes no sense to me at all, I managed to move my music from one file to another file, to dropbox, the cloud, Itunes and something called Groove. Not one of them would sync with my phone, despite the fact that said phone was firmly plugged in and recognised (so the icon said) by my laptop. It’s been two hours now and I haven’t thrown a hissy fit although the frustration is immense. It should be so easy. Young people find it easy and it thinks me.
When I was young, there was no technology beyond electric kettles and big bulky monochrome televisions. In my lifetime we have moved from slow to superfast and all of us have had to either keep up or be labelled a philistine. I’m not complaining about it in general, for there are a million good and great things we can now achieve in split second time instead of waiting a week for anything to move to stage two of its proceeding. However, the cultural change is slightly unnerving. This open-ness of life reduces our privacy incrementally, requiring us to protect something that is in effect our identity. The young, who have learned all this in school, are quite in step with it, whereas I, and, I suspect, others of my generation, am often confounded, lured into communication traps with a well-meaning and trusting heart, and filled with self doubt as a result. We begin to compare ourselves unfavourably to those who don’t make such stupid mistakes. Our confidence is shaken.
Becoming an in-law is one such area; becoming a grandparent, another. I never thought for one minute it would be complicated at all. I doubt my own parents did when these changes came knocking at their door. Life moves on, we move with it naturally, don’t we?
I have found myself in a right pickle and more than once. I moved, spoke, acted as I had always done around my small children, and yet, as they grew to adulthood, I met road blocks. Overnight, it seemed, I had gone from free flow to awkward stumble. I had to draw in my head for some BIG thinking. It was pointless looking back to the days of my parents, when nobody said boo to any goose over the age of 50, especially not if that goose was family. Back then, old rellies had the voice and anyone younger had to listen to that voice, whether it spoke rainbows or hailstones. Not nowadays. Nowadays our children will speak to us in ways we would never have dared to employ. Nowadays we cannot spout the so-called qualities of old traditions without being questioned, laughed at or shot. Being open, being transparent brings its own set of results and not all are pleasant or comfortable. I have spent more time considering what comes out of my mouth in the last 10 years than I ever did in the preceeding 30. Not a bad thing at all.
Whilst I was thinking inside my shell, something dawned on me. We as parents had encouraged our children to be themselves, to speak out, to be individual and independent. We wanted them to be who they were, who they wanted to be, not what we thought was best with our limited experience of a newly fledging world. We gave them that freedom and they took it. Most of my generation had no such start in life. So, it was we who changed the course of things by educating our children in sensibility. We cannot, now, complain at their sense of self, when we might still be searching for our own.