Weeknote, Sunday 19th March 2023

Where exactly is the year going? This is week twelve, which means we are 20% of the way through 2023. I’ve been talking about 2024 as if it’s laughably far away, but it’s right around the corner.

This, of course, is part of what it means to get old. Our perception of time is inherently linked to how much time has passed for us, which means this feeling of the years rushing by will only worsen. I sit here with perhaps a third of my life left, assuming the Tories don’t manage to dump the entire country into poverty and destroy the NHS and welfare system.

I’m writing this sitting in my sister’s house, on a visit to their home in Suffolk. Both my siblings are older than me — my sister is just inching up to 70, while my brother is a couple of years younger. One of the joys of that shrinking of the perception of years has been that the mental distance that an 11-13 year age gap created has vanished. I am still very much the little brother: but now, our concerns, interests and thoughts are those of people of almost the same generation rather than entirely different ones.

The more negative part of this temporal senescence is that putting anything off becomes much more deadly to the prospect of doing something. You decide to delay getting something done to your house, and the next time you think about it, a year has passed, and nothing has happened. You think you need to do some preventative maintenance on your roof, and then the next time you consider it, your joists are failing. This is why old people’s lives slide into ruin: the “someday” that you say you will get around to doing something passes in the blink of an eye.

There are a lot of “somedays” surrounding our house at the moment. I’ll get on to that one of these days.

At the opposite end of the age spectrum, young people are being sold the lie that life is short, and if you’re not a “success” by age 25, you might as well give up on life. It’s one thing being taught some tips about making an effective to-do list and thinking about your priorities. It’s another thing being bombarded with toxic masculinity, which defines you as a failure unless you have a lambo.

The right talks about “groomers”, but if preying upon the anxieties of young people to indoctrinate them into a system where they can only fail isn’t a form of grooming, then I don’t know what is.

Of course, all this is an attempt to tap into the alienation that capitalism causes, persuading its victims that it’s all their fault and that if they just did the right things, they too could be rich, successful and forever young. There’s a certain element of gamer culture about this: if you hone your skills or know the right cheat codes, you can win the game. The problem is that this isn’t a game created for our amusement. It’s a game where the designers will never let you win and will change the rules if you start to do too well or if there’s a chance they won’t win.

I would much rather be old right now than young.


  1. Daniel Wurzbacher: @sdarlington @ianbetteridge It is, in fact, dark to say the least. > This is why old people’s lives slide into ruin: the “someday” that you say you will get around to doing something passes in the blink of an eye.It’s also not wrong, and the author is a big name not given to unnecessarily journalistic license. While not an objective truth per se, that’s a pretty solid analysis that captures many folks’ struggles re older family members. via mapstodon.space



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