Effectively, I have had tomatoes thrown at me. Whoever I am writing to, my readers expect more than a story about a woman who had a romantic love late in life and chose to curtail her own life when the terms were unacceptable to her.
And I am thinking a lot about life experiences--not just the more life itself that older people have. And make no mistake. I am older. but have a ways to go in my mind to be actually old. I know some old people and they are 20 years older. At least 15!
You see, it's not just being old enough to understand. That's part of it. It has a lot to do with what society was like when you were young and what society expected. It shaped who you are. Duty isn't a big word nowadays, but it used to be, not just for soldiers, but everyone. If you were raised to do your duty, your whole lifeset is different than being raised to find your fulfillment, or your fortune, or your lifemate after some experiments and sampling. Each of you can be responsible and caring, but each will have a different lifeview.
Child development experts say we have our world view--friendly, dangerous, depressing, exciting--by the time we are three. Not much changes that except child therapy and a heckova lot of care.
The sums of your past add up to who you are, and it is different for everyone. I tend to think the rapid changes in society and technology have left more gaps than ever before.....and yet. The elder who have been through much often calm the middle with less experience, and the young, who have so little and think they have much.I see this over and over.
I also see so many fractured families, where the elder almost demolished the middle, the parents trying to make sense for their kids and aim to be the wise elders themselves, without any blueprint.
And in my work, I often saw parents and grandparents who wouldn't do dependable and dutiful if doing so prevented death--which often, it would--because they craved the excitement of a life where children meant little, and life was exciting.
I'm prejudiced. I believe when children mean much, in terms of their own comfort, success, and security, then life goes well for all of us.
Lord knows I want a caring, knowledgeable health professional when I gasp my last. Seeing to the next generation after my own children literally is selfish. It benefits me.
But oh, how it benefits us all.