Friday, May 11, 2007

Down in a Hole

Being around younger people makes me more aware of how I change.

I feel that things don't really change much. The 'Rules of the Playground' pretty much provide the basis for the 'Rules of the University Campus', followed by the 'Rules of Working Life'. People are people I suppose.

I'm still struck by how insightful young people are, and how immature older (and supposedly wiser) people are.

Life keeps changing...

Chatting with a group of Year 11s at school (for those that don't know, that means they're about 15-16 years old) I asked them how many had been drunk. All of them, except one raised their hands (and even then, he'd drunk alcohol). I then asked how many of them had had sex before they were 16...two of them raised their hands. (I suspect it would have been more with another group of boys in the year group).

I'm not particularly making a judgement either way. But I can only compare it with my own experience. I was first drunk at the age of 21. That's probably quite late by most people's standards. And the idea of sex at the age of 15-16 was inconceivable for me! Mainly because of the interesting opinions I had about myself, and my own parents' attitudes to sex (which consist of i) leaving education about sex to school life, ii) never talking about any aspects of it, and iii) pretending it doesn't happen).

In another lesson covering a teacher, with the same age group, we were discussing attitudes to death, and attitudes to life. Some of the more difficult boys had very clear philosophies of life. One guy is a talented snowboarder (among the best in Europe for his age) and his idea is "live on the edge".

Another very precocious pupil says it's all about having fun, and enjoying life...but school gets in the way!

Being a teenager is easily forgotten by us 'adults'. It is a different world; inhabited a lot of the time by people who think they know best for them. And yet I always come back to the thought that they're people - like you, me, and everyone.

I suppose there's a teenager inside us all. I'm just surprised more teachers don't befriend their inner teenager as a way of understanding what could be happening with their pupils.

Jumping a couple of generations, it would seem that the people who have exerted the greatest influence on bringing me up aren't that great at communicating. All I want is for what I have to say to be understood. Not agreed with, not acted upon, just understood.

For some people, that's a lot to ask.

I don't think that wisdom comes with age.

I think wisdom comes from pushing the envelope; from going for it; from frequently messing up and clearing up stuff; from being at cause.

Said another way: using the Force.

To my mind, arguing with family is one of the most difficult things to resolve. I know that when I argue with my sister it's nasty, vicious and passionate. But we do sort it out. I can't imagine life not being in some kind of communication with her.

Having said that, my sister is one of the few people who can wind me up the wrong way, and upset me incredibly quickly.

I like to think it's because I care.

At the moment, being down in a hole feels like the most appropriate place. I want everyone to go jump. I feel like no-one listens/ understands/ takes the time/ cares or loves me.

Some might say I'm behaving like a sulky teenager.

Here are two quotes from George Bernard Shaw that give me hope:

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.


and

This is the true joy of life. The being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live,it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I've got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handling it on to future generations.


Keep on going I guess.

J.

This post was brought to you by Alice in Chains