Most conversations with elders and senior citizens, neighbours or relatives winds down to the statement,” back in my days, things were…..”
I always took that statement as an indicator of the age of the person I am speaking to. This made me feel young, however, I recently used this statement while speaking to an office colleague. You can imagine my horror, I was suddenly faced with the reality that I am ageing as well. I did not want to accept that reality, so I tried to explain away my statement as a slip of tongue.
Excuses apart, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the statement is more about hope or the lack of it than it is about the age of the speaker.
When we are young, we are full of hope and belief in a better future. We may face bad times, corrupt officials, inflation, economic downturns and more, but our hope that tomorrow will be better is what keeps us going. We believe that this too shall pass. This hope and positivity will keep us from looking back at the past with sadness. We have faith in our hard work and hope that tomorrow our luck will turn around.
Once we begin to lose hope of a better future, we start to use statements like, back in my times. We accept defeat in the face of hardships, or when we throw in the towels and say, ‘this is it, I’m done’. It is a way of accepting that nothing good can happen anymore, Our rosy picture of the future suddenly seems out of reach or impossible. This phase has more to do with losing hope and faith rather than age.
Just as one loses hope, one can also find hope and rebuild faith too. Be it through planning, God, family support or a simple change is luck. Once we start to turn things around for ourselves, we automatically stop looking back in sadness.