Richard Oliff: Give me the chance to catch up

Much of what is acceptable and is unacceptable in our doing and even our thinking has had to alter and shift quite dramatically throughout Richard's life
Much of what is acceptable and is unacceptable in our doing and even our thinking has had to alter and shift quite dramatically throughout Richard's life

As much as I try to avoid discussing religion or politics in any public forum, I find it increasingly difficult not to.

The two things my dad once told me to avoid debating in public are seen as almost obligatory today.

No-one from his cohort or the first half-generation in my life would ever discuss their earnings or bank account details with anyone.

I say all of this because so much of what is acceptable and is unacceptable in our doing and even our thinking has had to alter and shift quite dramatically throughout my adult life without any quarter being given for the odd faux pas or slip of the tongue.

Some of us of a certain age are almost obliged to be apologetic about our standards and the way we lived our lives from the 50s through to the end of the 70s.

Yet that was how our childhood and teenage years were formed and influenced by the governments, laws and adults of the day.

Our parents would laugh at Till Death Do Us Part therefore we followed suit.

We wouldn’t dare ride a bike on the pavement: this was a space specifically reserved for pedestrians. ‘Sexism’ hardly existed, if at all.

I’m not saying this is a good thing, I’m only asking that we be allowed to adjust.

My mum was a housewife: today she might have been called a ‘stay at home mum’ and my dad would have had to learn to use the vacuum cleaner.

Back then none of these things made us bad people.

I think what I’m trying to say is that today’s generation should look to themselves and imagine how the future might judge them, because I can tell them now, if they don’t learn to adapt to changing attitudes quickly enough, then in 30 or 40 years’ time, one of them will be writing of their own discomfort from the comfort of their armchair overlooking a Martian landscape.