Ageing and intergenerational celebrations
This should be a rock song:
INTERGENERATION ... ALITY
DUM DIDDY DUM DIDDY DUM DIDDY DEE
WHERE WE'RE GOING IT SOUNDS REAL SAD
SAME AS MUM AND SAME AS DAD ...
BUT DUM DIDDY DUM DIDDY DUM DIDDY DEE
IT AIN'T THAT BAD ... IN REALITY
Long ago, humans lived in small communities, inter-generational and inter-dependent, cohesive and complementary, elders sharing their experience and knowledge with the young, passing it down the line. Nowadays our so-called civilisation seeks more and more to classify and judge younger generations and separate and isolate our elders.
I recently had lunch with some old friends. It was wonderful. That's what old friends are for. We've grown on each other over decades like moss gathering on stones rolling ever more slowly. We're getting older together, the youngest in the room a sprightly 67.
There was plenty to reminisce and argue about, but it was mono-generational. As we drove home, my sprightly girlfriend commented that half the afternoon's conversations revolved around our respective ailments and surgical histories - symptoms of our recently acquired condition called age ... something all of us either have now or will acquire one day.
That other "old" word should not really apply to anyone. Age is any age, but you're only as "old" as you feel. I remember feeling old at 30 when I was struggling in a failed marriage, insecure about my place in the world. I thought my life was over. How many times have we heard that from the mouths of youth?
Another profound recollection from early adulthood is that I had difficulty spending much time with many of my architectural contemporaries, self-opinionated, competitive and arrogant. I felt much more at home in the company of my parent's peers, or with senior architects I worked with. I had them around for dinner or went to their places. I stayed at their holiday houses down the beach. We went fishing. I was hungry for their experience and the wisdom they had gathered.
Last year I hosted my niece Hannah's 30th birthday party. Her boyfriend asked if I could invite some of those older farts that came to her Uncle's 70th piss-up. He'd found us really interesting, and wanted to continue the engagement.
So I invited a handful of Baby Boomers, plus a few Gen X'ers to plug in the middle ground, a nucleus of multi-national, multi-cultural professionals, odd bods and artists - even a quantum physicist and chess teacher - some of us getting on in life but still full of it, barging into a gathering of celebrating Gen Y'ers.
The evening buzzed with conversations covering everything under the sun - Middle East politics, Aboriginal theatre, truffle sniffing, architectural practice, town planning, the fine arts of the Eskimo, and the relative merits of Cohen, Mozart, Jagger and Vermicelli. Wine flowed like the Amazon, with the aroma of party pies pervading all. A smoking party even spilled onto my front porch, savouring various exotic blends and engaging with neighbours and passers-by.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and this recipe was exquisite. There is always that initial hiatus of anticipation, waiting for the fuse to meet a spark, but with a full and well-primed complement, a perfect cast, any good party will roll on into the small hours. Variety is the spice of life.
By 4.30am the last guests had tottered off. By 7am, glasses and dishes done, deckchairs rearranged, I retired to a director's chair on the back deck as the sun rose. Totally buggered ... but what a good night it had been.
[Source: David Francis, Architect and other things]