It seems many older people, despite being in good health, are tired of life.
They provide numerous reasons for feeling that way, as listed here:
Aching loneliness, pain associated with not mattering, struggles with self-expression, existential tiredness, and fear of being reduced to a completely dependent state.
Tiredness of life also seems to arise in people who consider themselves to have lived fulfilling lives. One man of 92 told the network’s researchers:
You have no effect on anything. The ship sets sail and everyone has a job, but you just sail along. I am cargo to them. That’s not easy. That’s not me. Humiliation is too strong a word, but it is bordering on it. I simply feel ignored, completely marginalised.
For some people, this elicits a deep-rooted sense that life has been stripped of meaning – and that the tools we need to rebuild a sense of purpose are irretrievable.
The article goes on to say that this feeling is similar to what some of us can experience at other points in life – but it’s not the same.
How many of us are experiencing the same feelings of “not mattering” – and not being able to matter, because we live in a society that completely suppresses us.
I was talking to a friend a while ago about ways of getting young people interested in voting at the local elections. He said he thought it would be close-to-impossible to motivate people aged between 18 and, say, 24 because they lack one basic element that makes life worthwhile.
They lack hope.
So they immerse themselves in video games, in the instant gratification of social media attention… in meaningless sex. It’s simply to give themselves something to do.
They don’t believe that anything they do will make a difference. The environment is permanently maimed, in their view. Politics is a closed shop where only “elites” are allowed. And business is likewise controlled by a few barons and their families – look at Akshata Murty, the wife of UK prime minister Rishi Sunak.
In short, there are no opportunities for social mobility – for improvement of the conditions of their lives. Tory government over the last 13 years has locked off any such opportunities.
What is the answer?
Logically, it would be to give these people their hope back. That is an extremely tall order for the elderly, who feel that all of their usefulness is behind them and (in many cases) all of the skills they learned in earlier life are obsolete. It would involve finding a way to re-engage tired minds with the modern way of life, and medical advances that would restore their physical abilities.
But the young?
They can’t help us because they don’t know how to regain something they don’t think they’ve ever had.
Do we look at history? Examine how young people were motivated in past times? Do we look at geography – examine how young people are motivated in other nations?
I’m asking because I don’t have an answer.
What’s yours? I’d especially like to know if you happen to be a young person.
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