For a blog to work, it needs to resonate. It isn’t worth writing something no one wants to read and important then to choose subjects that matter to readers. This can be a problem for me.
I might be delusional but I am not stupid and I’m aware that many visitors to my site arrive via my boys and my eldest son in particular.
And as an older person, what then to write about?
Other than Tom, that is.
But I’m not interested in chronicling his life and I’m sure he wouldn’t welcome such a thing either.
And that said, the subject of this post is high risk because younger readers might struggle to relate to it. It is about age and how it can be better represented and understood.
It’s considered rude to ask someone’s age – but this question is now redundant because age can be accurately determined by what we know and what we can do.
This might be a broad assertion but bear with me because I think it works.
Here it is...
If you know what a meme is – then you are young.
And this can’t be cheated in a way that plastic surgery purports to defy age.
Although ‘memes’ have been explained to me on numerous occasions, they remain a complete mystery. Are they videos, clips, photos and who invented the word, meme? For that matter, I am uncomfortable with almost all of the newly conceived words.
‘Sick’ will never mean good to me.
‘Bad’ is nothing to aspire to.
‘Safe’ is an appropriate time to cross a road.
‘Blood’ carries oxygen to and from my heart.
And as for peng, hench, dench, neek, laters or s’up. I don’t know any dudes and I will never call anyone ‘Bro’ – not even the two men who have the same parents as me.
But enough of what makes us young – what makes us old?
I think I have the answer.
Old age arrives when a person has a compulsion to feed birds.
It seems that there are two distinct phases in the human life-cycle when birds need feeding.
Phase 1, when we are very young (mainly ducks and bread with green spots)
Phase 2 when we become old (in London, mainly sparrows gorging on specifically purchased expensive meal worms).
These phases are separated by about 5 decades when most humans are not interested in birds at all.
I find myself in the second phase – and it announced itself with no notice. Just crept up on me and day, I just felt a need to feed things that can fly (although not wasps or flies).
This might be a gender thing, because Nikki couldn’t give a stuff about birds.
I venture that most twitchers (bird watchers) are men.
I am not a twitcher. I know almost nothing about ornithology. Sparrow, Robin, Pigeon, Black Bird and that’s about it until I get to Penguin and Ostrich and if either of these two ever appear on my garden feeder, then even Nikki would be interested I’m sure.
I can’t really explain this phase. I just like feeding birds. I have two feeders that are permanently stocked. During lockdown, people are culling the non-essential spends. But so far, bird seed has remained on the Team Holland shopping list.
Disney might have a hand in this because Snow White left such an indelible mark on me. As well as fancying Ms White, I remember being enchanted by the way she was able to play and talk with the birds.
And so it is with me now. Not that I can speak to the birds but I kid you not, I think the birds in my garden actually like me.
Based on what, you might ask?
Well, because they don’t scarper when I venture outside. As though, they recognise me and know that I’m a good guy. A guy who has reached Phase 2. And here’s an admission for you – I take some solace in this. It makes me feel loved.
This might well be a personal crisis but I suspect that it is more generic.
Men of a certain age, we start to reach. My kids don’t need me anymore, not really and Nikki too, to be fair. During lockdown, she zooms more than a busy astronaut.
And so, men of a certain age – we find refuge in the most unusual places.
Readers under 25 – this will mean nothing to you. But know this – this is your future.
And when this happens to you – you might remember this blog (let’s call it, The Book of Wisdom). You won’t be able to thank me because I will have moved on – but you will remember me – and this is enough.