I’ll do the free chapter tomorrow. I might move it to Saturday permanently because my Fridays are turning into a “thing”.
I was thinking about Autumn. It was always my favorite season, partly because of my birthday, partly because in Portugal it’s the best season (in the area I was in) neither boiling nor cold — yet.
It was a sort of golden time, too, both light and the trees turning, often warm enough to spend the middle of the day at the beach, but you needed a coat in the evening.
I think at fifty this is the best image for the time of life I’m in. There’s warmth still, but you feel the chills of winter.
For my parents’ generation — I know, they told me — this was the golden autumn of their lives, or as dad puts it “when we were financially stable enough not to make and scrape, and our health still held.” They traveled the world, and got to do things like go out to eat if they didn’t feel like cooking. They’d worked and saved very very hard for thirty five years, and now they could relax a bit, once my brother and I were out of the house.
Some vague thoughts — and they’re vague, I have the flu — on this:
It was of course a luxury that most societies never had. My parents worked insanely hard, often more than one job, for very long, and the savings included things like turning off the hot water in summer. (I hated that one.) They didn’t have a car till their forties (of course this is possible in Europe.) First time we went out to a restaurant, I was fourteen — so they had to be also in their forties. What I’m saying is that they deserved their golden autumn, but it was still a luxury compared to most history and most societies.
And at some level I always knew this wouldn’t apply to me: the boomer bulge before me, the blue model of paying for others, the lack of opportunities because of what the left had done to what used to be capitalism. I always knew that I would have neither social security nor enough retirement. Working till I drop was always the only option. I don’t even resent it that much. If my gamble with writing pays off, at least I’ll be working at what I love.
But there is more to that golden autumn. There is the kids moving out and moving on, getting jobs, creating their own lives. There is knowing your work is done and your all-too-brief time upon the earth will be followed by those you helped raise, by the generation who comes after.
I resent — like poison — that between educational loans and extortionate tuition that makes them required even for people like us, we’re stealing the next generation’s future. I resent that the economic boondoogles to keep the older generations “prosperous” are killing job opportunities for the young. I resent that now they want to fleece them for elderly health care.
I’ve given up on my golden autumn, but what is this blight that extends to the future to rob the young of their spring, and their chance at a future?
The winter comes soon. And it’s a blighting one.
It is the duty of us who are aware of it to work and prepare so that one day, maybe, there will be a flowering. To reverse the damage; to protect the hopeful seeds; to find shelter for those young we care about.
Before the winter comes.