We are living in extraordinary times. Everything manufactured today is with a shorter lifespan to increase repeat sales and keep industry turning. Washing machines, fridges, dishwashers... gone are the days where you could buy something that would last you twenty years, like my parents' fridge once did. I don't recall as a child them ever replacing any appliance, and as such everything aged gracefully and still limped along doing its job just fine, albeit a little worn around the edges. But even age gave it a certain grace, a longevity that today's generation knows nothing about. The dented toaster, the chipped cup that your father always drinks out of. It is memories that are made of such things.
Today things are much changed; things are disposable - everything from paper plates, to mobile phones, to seasonal clothing, and even cars. Everything replaced, dumped, renewed, and kept up to date - either because society says it must be so, or because things just don't last as long as they used to. In
, the first two digits of
your car registration denotes the date the car was manufactured, such as 07....
or 09.... or worse still... 01. And this puts pressure on folk when they feel
they need to upgrade to keep their belongings fresh and new. I'll bet top
dollar if they took off the registration numbers of cars for sale, you'd be
surprised at the year and model of car you'd choose blind. Then such
things as mileage, design, and functionality will come into play, and you
will no longer be coerced by status. Ireland
Marriages and relationships are far more disposable these days, too. Gone are the 50th anniversary parties - celebrating long lives shared, memories made, roads travelled, obstacles overcome - to be replaced with "oh, you're divorced? Shame." Have we, as a nation, become too fickle and dismissive of our emotions along with our belongings? Do we walk the walk as well as we talked the talk when we first hooked up together? Are the pressures of daily existence now no longer conducive to going the distance when it comes to Love?
My mother always said why would you want someone else's leftovers, a terrible way of phrasing things, it has to be said. But in her day, marriage was for life, relationships weathered the storms, and priorities were in their rightful place, so you can understand that mentality. My parents have been married for 64 years. It's a pity we don't have the same values in each other today. There is no respect anymore, no tolerance, or understanding, or compassion. There is only the quick-fix solution of a get-out clause that's never far from anyone's mind. After all, we are a modern day mish-mash of children that have survived broken homes, broken marriages, and broken dreams, so why should we bother trying to invest in something worthwhile second time around?
I haven't dated in a long while. Oh, I've had the occasional coffee, the random meal here and there, but nothing that I thought would amount to much more than a date. I take love very seriously, and I know what suits me and what doesn't. It doesn't revolve around money. It doesn't revolve around the car they drive. Nor does it revolve around what he can bring to my table - I have enough to feed myself there, and have provided for myself for a very long time. But what I have discovered - and shoot me down here if you disagree - is that people have started treating others as commodities, sexual objects perhaps used to pass the time of day, and only ever a short skip and a jump away from the exit door. After all, there are plenty of other de-scaled and gullible fish in the sea, not so?
What happened to old fashioned romance? Where have the men vanished to, the ones who open doors, who want to protect their woman, provide and care for them, the ones who'd rather head out for a night with their partners rather than get drunk in a local with their mates? Have women become so self-sufficient that men have become effeminate? I don't want a mouse. I want a man's man in the fullest sense of the word, with a heart as big as the ocean. And I will find him. I might be seventy by the time I do, but I shall not give up. Nor compromise.
It's hard, today's dating world. Always starting over, getting to know someone, going through the same old "so tell me about yourself" time and time again, opening oneself up and risking a little more, and coming away with a little less each time. Negative dating experiences don't teach you a thing; they drain you. They suck the lifeblood out of you, and create more hermits and recluses than we care to admit, me being one of them. They make you stop bothering. I wonder is it really worth it in the end? It sure is exhausting.
And yet I know there's someone out there looking for someone like me, just as I am looking for him. Thing is, how will we ever connect? I've asked the Universe - so far, she hasn't replied, or at least got her wires so badly crossed that what she sent me was worthy only of placing back on the shelf for someone else to take a chance on. I think Ms Universe has blown a fuse. But I know, too, that she does things in her own time, and perhaps I had lessons to learn along the way, things to experience, trials to overcome, before I'd be ready for the next phase of my life.
We live in a world that is so connected by technology, but we have never been more disconnected as a human race. That's awfully sad.
There is new life arriving in my family soon - my beautiful, baby granddaughter is due in December. A Christmas Gift. A baby angel sent down to learn our ways, and perhaps teach us hers, so that we might not forget that despite it all, the greatest of all things, is Love. I shall tie a ribbon around her and hang her on my tree.
What is not disposable to me is my heart. I will forever stay true to it, because it is the essence of who I am. I don't care who thinks I'm too soft, too compassionate, too giving, too close to my emotions. I like my heart just the way it is. But don't for one minute underestimate the strength I have. For I will surprise you when you least expect it.
So you can keep your random dating, your casual sex, your frivolous frittering, your constant changing of partners.... I'm afraid I'm old-school.
I am not disposable.