Ageing Disgracefully


Dan Boyle: “Paradoxically we remain comfortable in t-shirts and jeans, however ridiculous we may look to others.”

The daughter’s daughter has entered the State education system for the first time. It won’t be a bother to her. She is clever enough to absorb what she has to, but also confident to challenge when she will need to.

As a life marker, for me, it has arrived about ten years earlier than anticipated. I don’t beat myself up about it. A sight of her cheeky grin, or to glory in the bliss of her making an utterly, unguarded comment, banishes any negative feeling.

As long as she, and others like her, maintain that untamed confidence, I have less fear for their future. Collectively, I feel, they will possess the wherewithal to deal with much of the mess we are bequeathing them.

The lost generation I’d like to identify is that of my own. Those of us over fifty years of age hurtling towards the time of prohibited employment (currently projected at about seventy years of age).

I realise it is difficult to elicit any sympathy for this generation, the generation who have been co-conspirators in creating many of the global and societal problems we face. This also being the generation that has acquired the highest levels of individual wealth, more than any previous generation.

The bias I speak of isn’t economic. Very often it isn’t even conscious, but it is attitudinal. It is based on the assumption that ageing causes more progressive diminution of a person’s faculties than is actually the case.

This in turn fosters a commonly held myth, that experience is not such an important component of ability.

Many in my generation repudiate the uniform acceptance of our predecessors. Paradoxically we remain comfortable in t-shirts and jeans, however ridiculous we may look to others.

Hearing The Clash or The Jam on the radio transports us back to a time many of us never really left.

In our twenties we really did know it all. Until, that is, we slowly came to learn that wisdom is realising how much there is to know, and how much of that can never be known.

I no longer want to be down with the kids. Occasionally I want to shake a few of them, when I see them repeating so many of the mistakes that we had made.

Our’s was the generation that came after peak Dylan. He was never our spokesperson. However, for us post baby boomers, in his song ‘My Back Pages‘, he comes closest to defining where we see ourselves in life.

“Ah but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

16 thoughts on “Ageing Disgracefully

    1. Bookworm

      Plus one

      “Hearing The Clash or The Jam on the radio transports us back to a time many of us never really left.”

      No poo poo

    2. Increasing Displacement


      The rash you can’t get rid of no matter many creams you administer
      Flares up now and then reminding you of it’s presence

  1. Frilly Keane

    well I’ve every intention of growing old disgracefully
    albeit without the seshes, one night stands, and chipper food

    but Danny Bhoy
    since you’re already in receipt of a Pension that the majority of us will never get the comfort of
    I think you should just shurr’up on the topic of retirement and swallow back any further mention that the rest of us, including those that have to share the same generation as you, will be working till we’re 70 and beyond

  2. Joxer

    not a commentary on Dan in the picture above but Jaysus is there anything as gawl looking as fellas in their fifties wearing blazers with manky jeans and scabby trainers? and whats with the aversion to using an iron? or my favorite, the concertina trouser vibe , the fella in the pic above has mastered that look…

    1. The redundant Mickey Twopints

      One of the great benefits of passing the 50 milestone is not having to give a flying fupp what you, or anyone else, thinks.

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