Then and now: How my perspective of the world has changed as I’ve aged

Aug 08, 2023
How a Boomers' perspective of the world has matured with time. Source: Getty

As boomers at our retirement age, can we ever escape the patterns of our long-ago youth? We can beat our ageing by having a creative look at the world today and in our past. 

For example, while I was musing, I recalled one very basic classroom. There I learnt in primary school in total silence. The whole large class of students dipped our pens with nibs into ink wells, while accompanying our handwriting with blots sopped up with blotting paper.

Here is what we were all supposed to write at once. “Captain Cook discovered Australia.” Being a thinking little scholar, I wanted to say the long-gone equivalent of WTF? Australia was already here. The kangaroos had landed first. 

Following our copy of such blackboard Social Studies, the class as a collective, carefully traced around our individual templates of Australia. This taught us map drawing. Each map was decorated with a blue fringe, to indicate oceans and our nation’s island status. 

Unfortunately, the templates of our noble southern land did not include Tasmania. Tassy had been “discovered” by Van Dieman and Abel Tasman at some stage. But the very isle had floated off our maps and disappeared to the ‘bottom’ of Australia. This was geography’s greatest hour.

Very creative little boomers did try to represent Tasmania in our imaginative maps, surrounded by ‘sharks be there’. I must say my teacher did not really appreciate such art, no brownie points for inclusion. 

So that was a pattern of our youth, copying the blackboard in silence. We walked home from school, whatever the weather. Sitting in front of the briquette heater, I read good old Dame Enid’s much-loved book, “The Magic Faraway Tree.” This was a pattern of our youth, rereading favourite books. 

In these days of enlightenment, Dame Washalot by now would be on strike, supported by the CFMEU. There would be collective bargaining disputes and pickets for our noble washer. There would be protest with placards for affirmative action and equal opportunity, if not anti-discrimination litigation for Dame Washalot’s unpaid domestic clothes washing. There would be a danger of money on demand with incremental allocations for being there. The washing machine has its own case in this workplace scenario, all digitally enhanced. 

Meanwhile, I read on, a great book. In the patterns of this year in the modern world, the Saucepan man would be exploring his sexual identity with a variety of metallic cooking containers, each of questionable value and origin. 

In addition, in the modern fantasy of political inclusion, the noble Fanny and Dick would be deciding their identity, to be girls or boys. Which one shall grow up to be Jennifer Louise? Whatever. Such children are currently regarded as “theirbies.” But they still look like girls and boys to me. 

In today’s patterns of youth of this modern world, our First Nation folk would have lodged a Native Title claim for undisclosed compensation for taboo land where the Magic Faraway tree grew and flourished. This is accompanied by a similar claim pending on each magical land, appearing regularly. Someone is creatively rewriting what is still a great book. 

Yes, well, those were the long-gone patterns of our youth, appreciating the delights of reading. I guess that was the pattern of our youth, to be raised politically incorrectly. Most of us have tried to overcome this. Tasmania still exists, Australia was already here. Somehow, we now accept inclusion and diversity in our lucky land. We did escape, it was all the patterns of our youth. 

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