As I gird my loins (what a wonderfully descriptive phrase) for the year ahead, I do so with the knowledge that I have less time in front of than behind me. I am also guided by Terry Pratchett who is quoted as saying “Too much universe, too little time” so continue to “endeavour to persevere” (Chief Dan George in “The Outlaw, Josey Wales”). Still, enough of the clichés, life is still there to be shaped and that can’t be done without effort.
Yet it’s an effort that, during this era of austerity and economic conservatism, needs to be set against the enormous and positive social changes that such effort has brought about during the last fifty years. We even, for heaven’s sake, now have openly gay Tory MP’s; something that many of my generation would have considered an oxymoron. Today’s young people probably take many of those changes for granted. They, after all, have no experience of the world that was and seem to accept this one for what it is. And there’s the rub. How do you get people to realise what an enormous difference those changes have brought about such that they realise that this new world order can, in fact, be different than it is.
Now I have long referred to those who were born at around the same time as I was as the lucky generation. And, despite the fact that I was in the army during the swinging 60’s, I made up for what I’d missed during the 70’s and 80’s. Those former times, with their hope, optimism and colour, encapsulated many of my ideas for a better world; dreams that continue to this day. My point, as always, is that you can actually change personally and, in doing so, help to change the world. At which point another cliché comes to mind, “Be the change you dream about”.
I hope to get the opportunity to expand on this theme with an appearance on Libby Purves’ Midweek programme at 9 am on Radio 4 next Wednesday. I also plan to make it the launchpad for my work this year.