When I was young.

This week’s topic has been suggested by Shackman for the weekly Friday LBC posts where three of us and some times more write on the same topic. One more blogger Lin is sure to write and you may like to pop over to see what the other two have to say on the topic.

I am at an age when I forget that there was a time when I was young. And for the purpose of this post, how do I define young? Pre-teen, teenage or post teen age or the entire period before I hit shall I arbitrarily say, forty years of age?

So, before I hit forty is the choice I will make for being young, and the first thing that comes to mind is that during that entire period, I never ever thought of the day when I will be as old as I am today, and most certainly even in my wildest dreams, I never thought that I would be sitting before a computer and typing blog posts out. In fact, a computer was a mysterious machine to be handled only by experts as we in India were just then getting into computerising and I had most certainly given up any idea of ever having to type anything, having got used to secretaries.

Being employed in a transferable job, I did not dream that a time will come when I will buy a home and settle down in one town and retire there. That came true in my late forties which one could call the middle age I suppose. It happened due to a series of fortuitous circumstances about which I have written elsewhere but even just a year before that happened, I could not have thought that it would happen.

By the same account, I never thought that a day will come when a land line telephone, a high prestige item in my forties when neighbours envied someone with one, will become passe and that one would be able to make and receive phone calls through hand held small gadgets which would also be mini computers for many purposes.

When I was young, I could not have imagined that we would have 24 hour television with a wide choice of channels to choose from, DVD players, home theater systems etc, to see any film at your convenience and the internet which would change how we lived.

Nor could I have imagined the kind of traffic and number of vehicles on our roads, nor the kind of roads that have come up to accommodate such traffic. Living as I was in those glorious Socialistic days, I could not have imagined the number of models of vehicles that one would be able to buy off showrooms, having been used to waiting lists for two models of cars and two models of motorcycles for the entire country.

In a matter of three decades, my world as I knew changed and I enjoy the present world and all that it has to offer.

Let me share a favourite passage.

“The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him?

No, thank you,’ he will think. ‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’ ”

From “Logotherapy in a Nutshell”, an essay”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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30 Responses to When I was young.

  1. shackman says:

    Change is inevitable and you have dealt with change extremely well over the years. it seems to me – starting with when you were young. Being a fan of science fiction,I was not as surprised by the technological advances as you suggest but I do enjoy them. Like anything though – they can be abused. I enjoyed the Frankel text.
    shackman recently posted..When I Was Young LBC 06/03

  2. nick says:

    Like you, when I was young I could never have imagined all the new technology and gadgets that we all now take for granted. I certainly wouldn’t want to be young again, when I see all the burdens and difficulties the present-day young have to cope with that I was thankfully spared – tuition fees, extortionately-priced houses, declining pay and working conditions and all the rest. Our generation was incredibly lucky.
    nick recently posted..Thoroughly battered

    • While I agree that our generation was lucky in that it had less stress to handle, each generation has its own way of handling its problems. For instance, one of the popular developments is DINKs here. (Double Income No Kids) Husband and wife in careers who have given up on the other problems that you list.

  3. Linda Sand says:

    We have all heard of the Silent Generation and the Greatest Generation. I am a member of the Luckiest Generation. Life will likely not be as good for those coming of age now as it was for us.

  4. “Young” is relative, isn’t it? When Orlando and Larry were doing the recent roadwork they mentioned how sad it was a really nice fellow we all know was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Andy said, “And he’s still a youngster.” Orlando and Larry were puzzled and asked Andy how old he thought the fellow was. Andy said he must only be in his early 60’s.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..What More Needs to Be Said?

  5. Dunnasead says:

    Sorry I can’t write on the topic, Ramana. When you work in theatre and music you have to be constantly in touch with all ages of your being. There is no “when I was young” because you are that young person, the young married, the young parent etc. Shakespeare wrote the seven ages of man. They are all in you, and how you react to things that happen in your life is always tinged by the past unless you recognize and block it with something different, imho. And I am in the lucky position, as a dramatic mezzo, to never have had to play someone ancient. Maybe that is why I fight so hard against all this aging, old older oldest on your page. You are what you think. I will write something, perhaps today if I get a chance, about amusing incidents in youth. ps I got a private note from someone on Sunday giving a list of pages on bitch on the blog I should have a look at. There were very very ugly attacks there on Grannymar, Cheerful monk, Conrad, Maria, Ashok, and now me. All successful, all professionals. Just saying.
    Dunnasead recently posted..And Gutenberg Lived Here: Welcome To The Thorsday Conundrum

    • Ursula says:

      You can’t let it rest, can you, Lin? Last week you inform Ramana’s readership (on his blog) that you have deleted a comment of mine on your blog and barred me. What purpose did this piece of redundant information serve? Surely, you should have either responded to my two questions in your comment box or on my blog. This week, and I hadn’t even said peep yet, once more you give me a special mention irrelevant to Ramana’s post.

      What are you trying to achieve?

      You know what is “ugly”? Someone trying to stoke your fire by sending you exchanges from seven or eight years ago – that is ugly. What is even uglier that you name names yet not the one who has (supposedly) been sending you a list of my “very, very ugly attacks”. I do not believe that anyone would do such a thing. It’s so undignified. Sorry, Lin, it doesn’t ring true because Watson to my Sherlock can only deduce that the list must have come from one of those you named. Let me assure you that not ONE of the five you named would stoop this low. Which leaves only one conclusion … and I wish you’d thought about this before your little ps above.

      I note, with amusement, that you are a “Dramatic Mezzo”. May I suggest you let the curtain fall on what is the ugliest? Namely, your continued attempt to slander my name. I dare say, Lin aka No Name, that most of Ramana’s regular readership know me, my persona and my “style” very well; most of us going back a long way, often enjoying lively exchanges on our respective blogs. So, back to my original question: What are you actually trying to achieve?


      And, by the way, taking down my comment on your “Why” was futile. You will find it on my blog under “Futile”. Spit if you must and feel free to voice your frustration there. Don’t worry, whatever you have to say I will let it stand.
      Ursula recently posted..Futile

    • One of the advantages of the LBC is that there is no compulsion to write. It is perfectly alright if you don’t want to write.

  6. Kaitlin says:

    I really like this passage. Looking back on all the changes over time… I am curious as to what is to come!

  7. Max Coutinho says:

    Hello Rummy,

    I liked your contribution to this week’s LBC. Even though I have not reached 40 yet, getting closer and closer however, I also noticed how the world changed in three decades only. I remember when having a land-line phone was huge, and I remember when we first got our cell-phone in the late 1980’s (when America already had them for quite a while). Despite the technological advances, human behaviour hasn’t changed much and while some would be disappointed at it, I think it is a beautiful thing to see that some things never change (and perhaps that is due to the rebirth cycle?). Excellent post, my friend.

    Max Coutinho recently posted..A View of the Future: US Relations with the Gulf

    • First of all, I am delighted that you are not yet forty. What you write in your blog led me to believe that you will be older. But old enough you are to remember the hard to come by telephone days. I do not know about the rebirth cycle and what does not change is only an illusion as everything changes given enough time.

      Thank you for the compliment dear Max.

  8. wisewebwoman says:

    It’s all about adaptability and change. It is the ones who resist changing whine the most I find.

    Youth is subjective isn’t it. I find I don’t obsess about it. People ask me at times how old I am and I have to think. I honestly don’t factor it into my thinking and I certainly don’t fight it with “assistance”. I yam who I yam as a famous old sailor had it.

    wisewebwoman recently posted..Encouragement

  9. Cathy in NZ says:

    most days of the week, I still am young….and especially when I talk with my eldest sister who is the princely age of 89 1/2 – she says I’m still very young. When I turned 65 a few months ago, my first phone call was from a friend who said basically I was only a cadet in the new realm of “old age pensioner”

    whilst my health hasn’t been great for many decades, yesterday I stated to that some friend, that i thought I could manage Choosday night because I was now back to my “regular decrepit self” – she replyed “good, I was hoping you would be getting back there, I didn’t like the chances of that happening, double decrepitness is not a good look”

  10. Ursula says:

    I had to mull this one over, Ramana. Indeed, as you say, how do you define “young”? Don’t ask me. For the first time in my life – and since my last birthday – the actual number leaves me horrified. Think Munch’s Scream. I cannot effing believe it. How could this happen to ME? Won’t be long and I’ll be as old as my parents. They are fully compos mentis but, by virtue of nature, with one foot in the grave.

    Rationally speaking I define “young” when we still have more years ahead of us than behind us (in terms of statistical life expectancy). I’d rather not think about it. Basically, I am in shock. Seriously, Ramana, god damn it, it was only yesterday I was five. Even my son is nearing twenty five. Talk about time running through your fingers. Oddly, and I don’t know whether that’s to be recommended, I have lost all concept of time.

    Weeping on your shoulder, I just love it when some company calls me and asks me my birth date for “security reasons”. Yes, I say, so last century.

    Main thing is, my dear Ramana, you are here and please do remain so.

    Ursula recently posted..Primal

  11. Big John says:

    When I was young we didn’t have all the gadgets and gizmos. How did we survive ?
    Now as an old man, who is well past his ‘sell by date’ but doesn’t believe it, I’m with Frankl.
    Big John recently posted..Much appreciated, I’m sure !

  12. What a nice article and a really nice ending… I can relate to everything you have penned here…As for me, I wish the Man Upstairs gives me enough strength and life so all the 18 MahaPuranams and 18 UpaPuranams can be recited ( I am only in the 6th so far ); all 4 Vedas recited ( Only in Rig now ) and 1,008 Homams completed ( Only 152 so far) — trying hard everyday…If not, I still thank Him for giving me the desire to accomplish this. Can you bless me in my endeavor?
    Raj Krishnaswamy recently posted..Parashurama Sahasranamam Audio

  13. I guess “young” changes with age, like everything else. So at 53, I think of “young” as pre-30. But certainly, I didn’t imagine the technological advances. Sure wouldn’t have pictured myself someday having a blog!

  14. Mother says:

    Wonderful quote, Ramana. I’ll probably lift that to my own blog one of these days.
    Mother recently posted..Father’s Day is Here Again

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