After a barbed suggestion that the Saying I love you post signalled ‘grumpy old man’ – like that bit of beard missed when shaving – I was further impaled this morning by this (daily Google quotes), ‘The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.’ Dostoevsky.
Oh dear. There is a gravity of ageing. If not resisted, it carries us deeper into the familiar and comfortable collection of our polished, chrome-hard views, and away from the new and the unknown.
What to do? Well, I won’t be abandoning strongly held views without a fight. But I do recognise hardening of the attitudes as an age-related condition that, like cholesterol levels, must be monitored closely. No one wants wimpy ‘I dunno, what do you think?’ responses to questions, but I will try to get better at waiting for the question before offering my amazing experience.
The least attractive aspects of the grumpy old guys and gals on the telly are their certainty and self-satisfaction – fellow travellers of ageing. Even though I may agree with them, I fear that what young people in particular pick up is their self-assured, patronising manner, not their humorous take on things. ‘It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull.’ HL Mencken,
Some time ago, after hearing a particularly enlightening, albeit unasked for, piece of fatherly wisdom, one of my daughters asked, “dad when was the last time you ever changed your mind?”