Monday, July 8, 2013

My 'boring' revolution

Young people are supposed to rebel against the previous generation, to break taboos and seemingly archaic restrictions, deconstruct and reconstruct the world around us. This is often seen as destructive, passionate, creative, alternative, dangerous, inspirational - but always in-your-face, always exciting.

My father was a hippy in the 1960s. I've seen wonderfully hilarious (to me) photos of him with long hair, and flowers painted on his face. He harangued university professors about why they didn't throw bricks through the window of number 10, Downing Street.

My mother was a rock-chick in the 1970s. Her revolution included microminiskirts, and embracing the wackiness of 'Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and Pink Floyd.

My revolution?

After I passed my driving test, I used to particularly enjoy driving up one specific road. This road had recently been reduced from a 40mph speed limit to 30mph. Most drivers ignored the new speed limit, despite the fact that the road went past a school. I used to drive at precisely 28mph, a growing queue of laws-don't-apply-to-me middle-aged adults behind me, with the windows right down and rock music blaring. Hell yeah, I'm a rule-keeper!

My revolution is to temper my parent's philosophy about money - "You can't take it with you" - with careful management to ensure that I live within my means (currently the only member of my entire extended family doing this), and invest in my future as well as my present.

My revolution is to seek out skills and pastimes that enrich my soul and my life.

My revolution is to revive traditions and recipes from the past - mine, my family's, my country's and from elsewhere - and use them to individualise my environment and lifestyle.

My revolution is, in the words of my father, 'boring', but I tried to do the high-consuming, all-night-partying thing as a student and it became tiresome very quickly. I realised that forcing myself to do something I did not enjoy simply because it was socially appropriate for my age-group was wasting my youth more fully than any other thing I could be doing, and I should do precisely what I want to do with the time I have.

This feeling has been reinforced by losing some family members far too young. Life is short, and we don't know how much time we will have here in this joyful, sorrowful place. If knitting gives me joy in my twenties, then that's what I'll damn well do. And if I get to 85 and want to go clubbing, then I'll damn well do that too.



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