Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Forty

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  • Paul Brislen,

    Well that's depressing.

    I find the best approach is to count backwards from 40 (I'm currently 34 again and loving it) and then when you reach zero for the second time start counting up again.

    Honestly, when you consider the alternatives, turning 40's not so bad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I had a good forties. It's possible :) I'm looking forward to feeling happier later, though. The 50s so far haven't been terrific.

    the State can’t really do much

    You might be interested in 'What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society' It's wide-ranging (so far - I haven't finished it!) in considering the ways society creates identity, and what a market-based society does to individuals.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    Yay for Jane Kelsey ( although she is no longer forty)

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Closer to 50, life's better than ever. No lame rationalisations, sour grapes or excuses.

    OK. One quick peek under the hood. Because things are better than I've ever known, I suddenly find myself more frightened of dying than ever.

    Or, I suppose it could just be a function of age. I like growing old because you become both less tolerant AND more sensitive. It's like the perfect storm of a belligerent old git! Bah!

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I think the other thing about one's forties is that it's the decade bits start to fall off and you start thinking about mortality. That can take some getting through. But, y'know, you do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22744 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    It would help if famous people would stop dying for a bit. If you had the standard dose of popular culture as a kid or young adult, then 20 or 30 years later those sports stars, musicians, actors and general telly faces are now in their dotage, and increasingly, their graves. Barely a day goes by without another obit for a name I recall from the 1970s or '80s. That adds to the ageing process like smoking 40-a-day.

    This is why we should turn off the TV and read more books. The writers are already dead when you get to know them - or if not, it's a pleasant surprise.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1319 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    “can the government help?”

    It used too, but the problems rolling down the tracks towards you young 'uns just makes our current lot fall back on trite, small minded solutions, while touting what a great job thy're doing. A fools paradise.
    And as a 60 something I kinda look forward to dying just hope its not to painful.
    Where are the drugs? yes the illegal ones

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R,

    The 40s have been good to me.

    I actually decided I didn't really care about getting any further up the ladder by the time I was about 38, and actually took a step back from there - much less stress.

    Paid off the mortgage when times were good instead of buying a new car (and we finished the day before my wife got made redundant) and now I'm pretty relaxed.

    I took my current job because I wanted to work with the people here, doing the things they're doing, rather than because I cared about it looking good on the CV. That too is fairly liberating.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Knowing that the middle-aged, supposed powerhouses of the workplace, self-identified rocks in their family, usually aren’t as bulletproof as they project is a good start.

    Exactly so.

    I think the thing that I'm finding hard at present (staring 50 in the eye come January) is that we have several friends and family members who have terminal diseases. People of our age and up. And it's becoming more usual for us now to hear of another person who is facing serious physical illness.

    On the other hand, now that our children are teenagers, we're free to do many more things. I rather like my children so this is not free in the sense of escape, but free to do a few more things on our own schedule. Like going out to movies, or heading down to Wellington for a concert, or vaguely saying, "Shouldn't you kids be going to bed now?" instead of going through that nightly hell two hours with small children.

    On the gripping hand, that means that they also go off and do their own thing. And our eldest will be leaving to go south for university in less than 18 months now. That's exciting, and I will miss her terribly.

    On yet another hand, my long held desire to effect change through senior political roles may never come to fruition either, just because I'm too old to really get going in politics.

    Life, eh.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    For me, 40 is the age of divorces and diseases. The best thing, though, is how it's generally so much better than the hellish nightmare world threatened by the "Life Begins at 40" song.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Deborah,

    my long held desire to effect change through senior political roles may never come to fruition either

    This is a major failing of modern photogenic democracies, our kaumātua are relegated to political irrelevance and this is largely mirrored in society too, We need more leadership in the Corbyn, Sanders, Biden, Clinton age bracket. Hazarding a guess I’d speculate looking at average age that at any point in the last 30 years the Chinese Politburo has had 10-15 years more political experience than the western cabinets it’s been competing against, and it really shows. John Key is an adolescent and the puppet master Joyce isn’t any better.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    According to my very wise & 40 years older than me Mother "0 Birthdays are the worst". So many, too many expectations come with them. Possibly a bit like a 21st i suspect - I was too ill to have one but in not having one i felt i was missing out somewhere.

    But if you just ignore the 0 and act like the first number you'll be fine. It also feels like people write tomes about turning 40 or a 0 year, but nothing about 43 or 44, and I think it's because the is 0 pressure around those dates, 0 expectations.

    Trust me on this - I'm turning 44 this year and i still live with my Mum. Not because she needs looking after, nope I'm the one with the giant medication box she just takes a fish oil capsule twice a day and looks after me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Deborah,

    On the gripping hand, that means that they also go off and do their own thing.

    Yes, they'll potter off into the wild blue yonder, get an edjucashun and a whopping great big student loan, a marginal paying job and...

    MOVE BACK HOME!

    So, at 55 and 65 respectively the Old People bugger off in their old Bus and leave 'em to it.

    (The OPs return periodically to cook decent meals, bake, restore a semblance of domestic order, bath the dogs, and utilise the YP''s internet)

    Modern Life.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    For me, 40 is the age of divorces and diseases. The best thing, though, is how it's generally so much better than the hellish nightmare world threatened by the "Life Begins at 40" song.

    True. But so is, say, being a character in The Walking Dead.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22744 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Mine have both left in the past 6 months, we sent them off with degrees and no loans (put money aside 15 years ago, leveraged the 10% bonus for paying off loans early nefore the Nats nuked it), now they have jobs (sadly far away) we feel like we have won at parenthood. I did have an interesting text conversation with my daughter when she got her first real pay check ("this can't be right, where has all my money gone?")

    Now in our late 50s we're free (well except for the dog) and feel that while we can maybe we could spend a few years travelling - I can work anywhere - who knows, maybe 2 months in Paris, 3 in Shenzhen, 6 back in SF, a few more in NY - spend some quality time in those places we visited for a week and wished we could spend more

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    The good news for all those people – note to self: including me! – is that it probably will get better. For most of us, happiness goes up as we get older. But there’s a decent patch of stress and unhappiness still to go before the upswing.

    This is obviously a good time to tell offshore sailing story's. My reckless excursions out into the ocean have given me an outside view in at my biological self. It gave me some very near death experiences, with plenty of time to think about what's it all about. Offshore sailing showed me that life is a lot about how I feel at the time.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4294 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Loss.
    How to deal with it.
    Compassion.
    How to have more of it.
    These are the things I learn as I age.
    In my forties (late late forties), I lost my world. I found renewed passion and vigour and a new purpose in other people.
    It's okay.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    I’ve been thinking about that saying: “If you are a conservative when you are twenty you have no hart; if you are a liberal when you are sixty, you have no brain”. It’s simplistic without elegance.
    It means almost nothing, it’s not even funny.

    One of the real pleasures of growing older, and a freedom is an increased interest in being altruistic. Not philanthropic, the practice of sharing resources. Altruism the human quality, that’s learned.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4294 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I’m not yet at the magic number, but all the same I’ve felt this whole ‘failure to launch’ thing. Being undiagnosed with ASD and subsequently being misunderstood can be a big factor in that.

    After bombing out of university in my early 20s, I very much played it straight. I finally got some meaningful work later in that age decade, but the minimum wage no longer buys as much as it used to, and thanks to the Internet of Things I now seem to find myself in the same boat as Detroit’s car workers during the 1970s.

    DevAcademy is seemingly my last chance to debunk the notion of “if you haven’t made it by 40, then you’ll never make it.” If I can somehow find a spare $11k without having to sell cocaine or pull a bank job. The $28m that Prostetnic Vogon Joyce is spending on the IT Grad School would be much better spent on apprenticeship-style schemes like DevAcademy.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • RaggedJoe,

    First 40 years trying to kill ourselves and second 40 trying to save ourselves has some resonance for me. In early my 50's now, career ok, (not stellar but fine) kids independent, more or less, we are eating better, drinking less, feeling sore for no reason, enjoying walking the dog, still getting the odd surf in, learning to live as a couple again, mortality reminder from one aging parent (all we have left), to be honest its a ball!

    City of Sales • Since Sep 2008 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I went through 40 by the book, feeling the same bummed out nowhere-man kind of thing that many report. It was bloody unpleasant, but for me, it's passed. It's like I worked through the stages of grief for my young life, or something. "By the book" for a person of my socioeconomic demography that is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • John McCormick,

    Forty didn't bother me at all, just an excuse for a party, but 50! Not that it's bad, more a sense of disbelief. "I can't be 50, surely some mistake". That's mature, sensible, responsible. I don't even feel properly grown up yet, let alone old.

    That said, it's rather nice. From years of planning holidays around school holidays, when it's hard to get accomodation and even harder to find things to keep the child amused, we're now at the stage of 'We're off, see you in a week". I'm still enjoying the novelty.

    I haven't changed the world, and probably won't now, but I've also stopped worrying about that. I still follow politics, but with a detached interest rather than a passion. Increasingly, politics seems divorced from substance. There are serious issues to deal with, but politics is all spin and show and fluff. I find it hard to take it seriously any more.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to steven crawford,

    Altruism the human quality, that’s learned.

    who knows?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to andin,

    Thanks, that’s an interesting artical. I didn’t think of those personality types, as the minority.

    Mabe my statement needs to be downgraded to: ‘alturisum might be learned – or at least cultural’. But mabe there is a bit of hard wiring that’s driving the behavior? I remember when the Fukushima reactor melted, lots of older retired men volunteered to go in and do clean up work, when radiation poisoning was inevitable.

    I’ve noticed that as I get older, (50 next year) the less I care about leaving a legacy of achievement? I am starting understand how my usefulness, now, to other people, no matter how discreet, is what really makes me happy.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4294 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    DevAcademy is seemingly my last chance to debunk the notion of “if you haven’t made it by 40, then you’ll never make it.” If I can somehow find a spare $11k without having to sell cocaine or pull a bank job.

    11k is a startling sum of money for a "nine week part-time remote + nine week on-campus immersive + one week optional career prep" program to become a "junior web developer".

    I wonder whether we could have a separate thread for people to give advice about alternatives? Russell?

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

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