This is proving to be a year of tests, of friendships, beliefs and loyalties, which had already been tested by Brexit. My concerns over recent months are about the way certain words are used that drive wedges between generations. I had to look up meanings of words such as ‘snowflake’ and ‘woke’ but they are more to do with political issues that the Covid situation.
I was born in the years of World War 11 which quite rightly classes me as elderly and I had to do the original 12-week lockdown. Fortunately, I live in a small village and, although I had no family nearby, I have good neighbours and could chat over the fence. I knew that I had people I could call on and I’m capable of driving to get shopping. I am very lucky, not because I have lots of money ( I don’t) but because I live among caring people.
When the lockdown started a group was set up on Facebook for the area where I live, and I joined in initially. Then a post appeared from a gentleman in his forties complaining that his operation had been cancelled at the local hospital because beds were needed for older people with Covid. He was very cross and wrote ‘Why should I lose my operation for old people, they have had a life.’ Needless to say, that remark didn’t go down well as many people in the group had elderly parents etc. As time went by arguments grew within the group and the administrators had to edit some posts.
My family live around the London area and are ordinary people experiencing many of the negative aspects of the virus. One worked from home, another was furloughed, yet another lost his work and searched for something else to do by helping out at funeral directors. Two family members experienced the illness, a wedding was cancelled and schooling stopped. Through them, I heard of all the aspects of life under the Covid restrictions and accepted what became necessary to control the spread, as did my family and I did not see them for 3 months.
The general area where I live, Norfolk in the UK, has been fairly Covid free which has caused resentment about the wearing of masks and control over the number of people meeting up. I am involved in the world of Spiritual beliefs and I have found groups of people completely split in two by opposing attitudes. As in any community, there are some who have serious underlying illnesses, they are very frightened, they don’t want to die unnecessarily and some of the words used have hurt them deeply. I fear that some of us may never be able to socialise together in the future. By all means express an opinion, everyone has a right to their opinion but words used on both sides of the argument have become bullying – emotional blackmail.
Many say “I will not be controlled”. We have been controlled from the time we started doing everything on the internet and using smartphones. Social Media allows us to express our opinions which are then noticed by the various factions that want our support, and they will then contact us in a variety of ways to influence our decisions. In 1940/early1950 we had ration books, that was controlling but was necessary. We are a people used to democracy and I believe that we put up with something whilst it is necessary but will react when that is no longer perceived to be the case, and if politicians take things too far people will react.
Others say “I will not wear a mask”, OK masks are uncomfortable but if it makes another person feel less frightened it is worthwhile.
Lists appear of all the things we die from every year – heart attacks, strokes, etc yes they do kill us but they are not contagious. If you don’t want to vaccinate – then don’t: but allow those who do the right to do it. I have never had Flu but I have the vaccine each year. Against that I am allergic to Penicillin so never have anything with that in – it is my choice.
The younger adults have had to suffer many restrictions to ‘save grannies’ which may well cause resentments but please be assured the politicians are not too worried about saving elderly people. It is the cost of the organisation that it causes by taking up hospital beds, delaying other medical treatment, how the disease is passed on to younger carers and the process of death in an abnormal situation that is their concern. Also the emotional effect on those that have to deal with it all. There is also the fact that many older people still pay taxes which are badly needed. We still have to pay for the processes of living even when we are old, and politicians of all types need us to spend our money.
My grandchildren are between 17 years and 30 years, I hear their points of view and empathise with them. Although when I was their age I didn’t have so much materially, there were plenty of reasonably well-paid jobs, I hope things improve for the younger generation. My generation probably had more job security but not the opportunities to travel and enjoy life as more recent generations have (until we reached the 1960s).
Exam results were very badly managed for school children and must have caused a lot of stress to some initially. At 16/18 years you are too young to know that change comes for good and bad, and that it often causes better choices in the long run. That is something that is learned as we mature. The middle age group has the stress of their youngsters and their worries for their older relatives, and we the older generation have to be aware of their needs as well as our own. We all need to embrace kindness and tolerance and think how our words affect others: before we say them.