Monday, November 26, 2012

Wherever We Are Going, the Trip Is Interesting

Years ago, I interviewed a gerontologist researching demographics of the aging population. He found less and less "herd mentality" as we aged. We became more and more individual, he said.

He said his research still held true about 10 years ago. I am sure persons of certain ethnicities, incomes, professional backgrounds, have some common threads. Apparently we also digress.

I see some of this in younger folks as well. A growing number don't watch television, not even streaming online. Conversely, I know a surprising number of persons in their 30s, 40s or 50s who don't use computers. Many, not all, do watch television.

Millions watch sports. Significantly fewer millions don't watch at all.

Almost everyone has a cell phone. The quick texting makes communications shorter and more succinct. Language is changing because of texting. Even I sometimes get lazy and skip an apostrophe here and there in texting. Not in writing. There's a difference.

I wonder how we are evolving, and where we are going. I wonder if the decade of the 1950s was some anamoly of everyone watching television and seeming to share more attitudes or values. I wonder how alike we have always been, and how different.

I see different manners. Clothing. Behavior. Less value on education, which stuns me. I worry that my grandchildren are being taught to the test, mostly. They aren't being taught how to reason and ruminate. They are given little time to do either. Mine and some others are being taught by their parents, grandparents, teachers here and there, significant adults in their lives.

What I am saying is that the society I see--and I am a longtime, enthusiastic people watcher--is really different. Not worse, not better. I can't judge that. Definitely different.

I still see such a consistency in a desire to help, to be kind. To need to love and be loved. I see a growing tendency towards rudeness and meanness. I can't pinpoint any age or group. I just see it.

I see a tremendously positive response, often, to honesty. I see an amazing tendency to want that honesty so much, people buy into the most incongruous stories.

I shrug. I go on and live my life in the way that gives me a sense of joy, connectedness and self-worth. I do this when I can, as often as I can. I continue to watch the rest of you anytime I find myself in a busy place with time to watch.

You all are vastly fascinating, endlessly entertaining. More often than you would think, you simply touch my heart.

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