Gerding: Old age offers blinders to the brazen attitudes of youth

Our view of the world changes as we get older. It is a part of nature that no matter how we baby boomers try to fight it, the natural order of things begins to change.

Our view of the world changes as we get older. It is a part of nature that no matter how we baby boomers try to fight it, the natural order of things begins to change.

I think when Pete Townshend wrote the lyrics to the 1960s rebellious tune My Generation (“I hope I die before I get old…”), he was speaking to how people of his age back then, if they lived long enough, would soon become the establishment, and would look down on the generation after him doing the same things he was doing at their age.

While I understand he has publicly long since renounced penning that controversial phrase to that song, I think Grandpa Pete realized he can’t stay young, or at least think young, forever.

At some point, responsibility of adulthood and having kids kicks in. Your vantage point on life around you changes, filters how you view things.

As I enter my 50s this year, I feel that change taking place in me. Three recent incidents I encountered helped hit that point home to me.

Incident #1 occurred recently at Hot Sands Beach in City Park. While lounging on the beach with my wife watching our toddlers play in the sand, a young couple about 20 feet away from us sparked up a marijuana joint.

The fact they did this in a no-smoking area with cops circling around on the City Park pathway didn’t faze them. And the pungent smell that came from their direction made it pretty clear they weren’t trying to hide what they were doing.

The brazen enthusiasm or ignorance of youth, depending on your point of view, to pull off a stunt like that has long since left me, if it ever existed to begin with.

Incident #2, was at the same place, same time. As I turned away from the pot smokers, I caught a glimpse of another young couple strolling up to the water’s edge. Sticking their toes in the water, the duo proceeded to strip down to their undergarments and go for a plunge in the lake.

After a minute or two cooling off from the heat, they jumped out of the water, put their clothes on over their wet skivvies, and carried on their way.

The scary part of that was my wife had to point out to me the woman was actually wearing her bra and panties, as I guess I just assumed she had a bikini on underneath her clothes. Another sign of old age—you see what you want rather than what really is.

 

Incident #3: Pulling out of a fast food restaurant parking lot at lunch this week, I saw two couples from

Alberta, judging by the vehicle license plate, with one of the couples hugging and kissing affectionately.

 

But what I was actually seeing was a future vision, 15 years down the road, and that scantily-clad girl with the tattoos being my then grown-up  daughter. Having children is a like a filter for your eyes that is hard to turn off.

I don’t hear much about Pete Townshend any more, but I wonder if he should write a followup to his ’60s hit from the prospective of the 66-year-old that he is today.

I think the lyrics would read a lot different.

Berry Gerding is the managing editor of the Kelowna Capital News.

Kelowna Capital News