The generation dilemma

The generation dilemma. I am not aging the way I am supposed to. This is a problem. I have a 10-year-old trapped in a body that has countable years left. Interestingly, from the moment you are born, you have countable years left, but you don’t seem to notice it until you can count them with your ten fingers. That's when you start to realize that there will come a point when the people around you will miss you for a bit and move on with their countable years. The insignificance of my existence stares me in my face when I realize that there is no reason for anyone to remember me. I have asked this in an earlier posting: Will you be offended if someone your family invited to your death ceremony did not show up? I have done this to people, and I have felt guilty, but will you be a forgiving dead and understand that you were not as important as you thought you were. Based on all possible statistics, and correcting for improvements in medical technology, I should be dust to dust, or just ashes, in about 20 years - max - I hope. At that time, the person whose birthday I attended recently would be at the prime age of 30. My son would have reached the peak of his career by then. Most of my elders, ostensibly in "my generation," in the family would already be pictures on the wall. The generation dilemma begins when you find that you are not comfortable within the group who will likely die in 10 years and neither are you comfortably in the group who will outlive you by at least ten years. Now you are caught in the middle. Where do you put your attention? Where is the real return on investment - the group who will be gone within 10 years or the group you are most likely to outlive? This conundrum happens to the strange few who are caught in between. It has amusing outcomes, for instance, some of my bondhus do not know how to address me, but one person came up with a nice abbreviation that seems to work for many. The white hair makes it even more confusing. But I am enjoying this dilemma. I can simultaneously gate crash any party. The ones I expect to survive treat me like a child, and the ones I expect at my funeral are respectful. But there are exceptions. There may always be that person who gets it. The person who would look at me and see a human being - independent of age. A person who may know exactly where I stand and what I stand for. The dilemma disappears there. And what you get then is being treated as a person - independent of generation - where the value lies in your actions and not in some pre-existing system of generational stratification. That is the person you seek, the one who may listen to Jethro Tull sing, "Now he is too old to rock and roll/But he is too young to die" and say to you, "age does not matter." There is comfort in that moment when you find a way out of the generational dilemma and you realize that there may be a person who cares for you for who you are and not for the generation you belong to. Therein lies the meaning of a friendship, based on commonality of experiences and aspirations, and not a generation you belong to. In the end it is not a dilemma of generations but a dilemma of what you believe in and treasure as valuable.


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