Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Justified Jalopies 9/23/09

When you become a senior citizen you will be amazed at how much everyone, except for small children and other seniors, thinks you're stupid.

DB - The Vagabond
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Fall right in here.
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In my younger years a popular word of the day was "nonconformist" which was used in a pejorative sense to describe anyone who seemed to be even slightly eccentric. If one became labeled as a nonconformist certain doors were automatically closed. Most artists were instant nonconformists, of course, if they painted anything but pretty pictures. Nonconformists were not actually societal outcasts. They were merely expected to stay in their place. And what "place" was that? "I wouldn't mind having lunch with a nonconformist, but I wouldn't want my daughter to marry one of them."

As I got older I found myself changing my attitudes and opinions about life and the world around me. And in doing so I began to realize how much conforming I had done for various reasons. One of those was to make a living. One needed to behave the way the industry wanted and expected because that's the way everyone else behaved. So some of us got used to it. But growing up is a process of shedding the uniform that society urges us to wear, or at least realizing that it is a uniform and not our real skin.

Not shedding the uniform of attitudes and opinions that no longer fit is a recipe for foolishness. With age and experience should come the realization of what no longer fits, of what has been outgrown. Some people never seem to do it.

Are there old fools, you ask? Of course. Fools come in all ages. But more often than not senior citizens will sit silently grinning at the world of conformists, not in scorn, but in the remembrance of how they once thought and behaved in the same way, and knowing that growing up is the answer. As someone once said, youth is a condition that improves daily.

The innocence of childhood will treat blessed grandparents more or less as equals because they are only just beginning to learn, both at their detriment and for their survival, to conform to the world's opinions. While two old men sitting on the front porch,, sharing the afternoon sun on their aching knees, may talk of nothing much because the wisdom of old codgerism is also shared.

The more life becomes a parable the less of a fantasy it is.

DB - The Vagabond
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May the promise of Autumn brighten your day.

7 comments:

Beth said...

I've always been a little off-center, and I like it that way. :) Hugs, Beth

Indigo said...

I miss the day were elders were reverent members of the family. They were cherished for the lives they lived and their wisdom. Native American Traditionalist tend to still follow this time honored belief. (Hugs)Indigo

Linda's World said...

I think we're all "nonconformists" to som degree. How boring if we all acted & thought exactly the same. Thank God, he made us all different. I sent you some mail yesterday....Linda in Washington

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Conforming to the norm is definitely not one of my strengths.

pacifica62 said...

In the 60's I liked to think of myself as a nonconformist even though, in reality, I was conforming to the political and social thoughts of the moment. How much of a rebel could I have been if everyone else was doing it as well? In my old age, I do like to think for myself and form my own opinions, but it is no longer important to be a nonconformist. I conform most times and happily so if it makes me feel comfortable. I do not have the energy to swim against the current all the time. There are moments but they are fleeting. Growing up does change a person. It offers much more wisdom in helping us to choose our battles or in deciding to go with the flow.

Anne said...

I really do agree with Indigo. I miss the fact that families valued their elders and that more often than that they even lived under the same roof. Today there are too many broken or blended families. It isn't unusual to see people marry 5 or 6 times. I honor you D.B. your wisdom AND your witt. Anne

Liz said...

The comment I would like to make I actually posted on my own journal this morning.
'Youth has too little time to think; old age has too much.'
Somewhere in every life there is a balance to be found.