The Golden Years

Sir Peter Brian Medawar once said “Today the world changes so quickly that in growing up we take leave not just of youth but of the world we were young in.” He was a Brazilian-born British scientist best known for his work on how the immune system rejects or accepts tissue transplants.

I know that I’m still pretty young. 25 years of age to be exact, and I was born in 1983. What a great time to grow up in is what I’m sure most will say about their younger years. Needless to say, as I go through my life day by day I begin to notice the little things in life that have slowly begun to disappear. Small little things that we took for granted as we were growing up that just aren’t there anymore. and I’m sure my older readers will say it even more than I do. I also distinctly remember my folks telling me that i would miss school one day, and, almost 8 years later, they were right. Such a care-free time where all we had to do was play and have fun, and do a little bit of school work along the way. I really do miss it.

But then again, as one gets older and begins moving into a career, you begin to realize that it’s actually rather great to be in the position you are these days. One can afford all the little luxuries that you couldn’t when younger. We have cars, and houses, and all the ice-cream in the world and the list really does go on. We can even afford the passions that we so often enjoy, such as climbing, in my case.

This morning I recieved a mail from my girlfriend, Marisha and it got me onto a little train of thought that’s motivated me to spend a few minutes at work jotting down my thoughts about how times have really changed. Here’s an excrept from the mail:

We survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no child-proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds, KFC, Subway or Nandos. Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn’t open on the weekends, somehow we didn’t starve to death!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this. We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because we were always outside playing. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were ok.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old  prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii, X-boxes, no video games  at all,  no 999 channels on TV, no video/dvd films, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms. We had Friends and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, cut ourselves, broke bones and teeth and there were no Lawsuits from these accidents. Only girls had pierced ears! We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time. We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays, we rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mum didn’t have to go to work to help dad make ends meet!

Rugby and Cricket had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that! Getting into the team was based on merit. Our teachers used to hit us with canes and gym  shoes and bully’s always ruled the playground at school.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.  They actually sided with the law. Our parents didn’t invent stupid names for their kids like ‘Kiora’ and ‘Blade’ and ‘Ridge’ and ‘Vanilla’

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

In the end, I do believe that people have become rather reliant on technology and have actually forgotten what it means to be in the great outdoors. I’m sure many would agree with me that times have changed and things will never be the same.

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