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Lucky generations and the lost generation

November 25, 2013

I am one of the luckiest generation. Too young for WW2, never had to go and kill someone on behalf of my country, or suffer the terror of someone trying to kill me. 

Life expectancy since I was born has risen every year by around two months. Think about it for a second – it took thousands of years to extend human life to 50 and then we are the lucky beneficiaries of decades of gains in a rush.

More and more people are alive today because of lifestyle changes and new treatments. Some previously killer diseases are now curable, or at least contained. Many of our failing bits can be replaced, except for our brains. With these, we need mental exercise, and finding ways to keep that critical engine rolling on, fuelling it with demands rather than let it fall slowly into a decline of comfortable irrelevancies, settling permanently on the joys of the past. 

We had jobs for all, and no such thing as student debt. We were the lucky generation, even if we didn’t have all the tools and devices our children and grandchildren seem to think they can’t live without, those enticing tools of social media, which both enchant and dominate us. Living in Australia, the UK, the USA and the Middle East before the bloody conflicts that dominate the news today has been my huge fortune, a wonderful opportunity to experience the culture of others and then, finally, to come home and enjoy the magic of this great land. 

I grew up without TV, mobile phones, the internet – and when there weren’t so many cars or planes – very few in fact. I even had grandmothers who lived in farmhouses with outside toilets, a challenge in the night for soft city boys. All of this has changed with increasing speed during my life time. But here and now is the most exciting time in history – close your eyes for a couple of years and it’s a different world. 

So until that creepy guy with the black cloak and nasty sharp-looking scythe comes looking for me, I will do my best to keep the Alzheimer’s at bay and write stories. Oh yes... and keep on assisting others to develop the new treatments I’ll be needing to stay healthy. 

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