Thursday, 14 December 2017
A CHANGE IS AS GOOD AS A REST - OR IS IT? WHAT DO YOU THINK...?
"A distinctive quality or atmosphere." That's one of the definitions of the word 'flavour'. And every neighbourhood I've ever lived in has had its own distinct flavour. Whether it was intrinsic, or just the way I perceived things, I'm not quite sure; perhaps a little of both. In the latter case, if you live in the same house and area for many years, that perception can change with age, because when you're a kid and the territory is your playground, the way you view your surrounding environs differs from when you're an adult and it's only the place where you live. As a grown-up, you no longer play in the woods and climb the trees, or go exploring the boundaries of your locale with your pals, so your perception (and thus the flavour) of the place likely adapts to your shifting experience of it.
In my case, I know that my neighbourhood no longer 'tastes' exactly as it did when I was a teenager. That's due to various reasons, many of them ones of style. For example, the pavements no longer have light grey slabs, but instead sport a dark tar macadam. Street lights are no longer painted light grey, but for many years were of a much darker hue before being replaced with bare aluminium ones. The designs of the cars parked in the street are totally different to cars of the '70s. There are fewer green spaces for kids to play, and the horizons are narrowing because of new edifices blotting out the sky. Even something as seemingly trivial as the shape and colour of window frames can alter the mood of a street in quite a significant way. The 'feeling' I now experience of my surroundings when I leave my house to go shopping or visiting is not the same as when I was a teenager or young adult on my way to school or work, or simply going to see friends.
But there's another factor. When I was younger, lingering thoughts of mortality did not concern me with quite the same intensity as they do nowadays (after all, the prospect of death seems far more remote in youth), and I had a sense of optimism about life. Free from the worry of earning a living, or securing a future and raising a family, when I was a kid life seemed like one big adventure and I couldn't wait to see what a new day would bring. Now, rapidly approaching old age and in physical and intellectual decline, I fear for the future and could see tomorrow far enough (except when waiting for some item purchased on eBay to arrive). All those different factors coalesce to alter not only my perception of my place in the scheme of things, but also to change the 'scheme of things' itself. A two-pronged attack as it were.
Perhaps it's a mistake to stay in the same environment for any significant length of time. Maybe people need to change their surroundings every so often, otherwise the taste of daily living becomes stale and no more than an endless repetition of things that no longer satisfy, no longer inspire. True, the pattern of life is pretty much the same wherever we live, but the illusion of 'freshness' and 'newness' that comes with a change of locale is perhaps the closest we'll ever get to feeling that our daily grind has been infused with new 'life'.
Are you an adult who's lived in the same house since you were a kid? If so, do you recognise what I'm trying to say, or does the continuity of your life from infancy afford a comfort that you'd be loath to relinquish? Or do you sometimes feel suffocated by it and yearn for change? Particularly if the place as you once knew it no longer seems the same, and you're merely clinging on to the ghost of a memory of how things used to be. If you can make head or tail of what I've been rabbiting on about, I'd be interested in reading your thoughts in the comments section.
Posted by Kid at Thursday, December 14, 2017