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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Am A Dinosaur





     I am exactly what my school system intended to create in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Our future looked so bright then. America needed a diligent force of happy obedient factory workers to man our multiplicity of fancy factories pumping out the world’s supply of important technology and gadgets to make every household free of “hardwork”.

     Now I am like every other grown US obedient adult who was thrown free of an adult livelihood that is suddenly-changed. All of our professions have been changing at the breakneck speed of technology’s own changes. In the last 50 years we have switched from being a society geared towards manufacturing and government to a culture of information swapping and service. I cannot think of anyone my age who is still doing the same job they studied for when they got out of college.

     In the meantime the world doesn’t need factory workers. Our political machinery and globalization have sent all the jobs to a country that ignores pollution and corporate responsibility and to the far more obedient young ladies of another country somewhere else then America.

    So here I am…a dinosaur in the modern world…not even 50 years old yet and completely ill equipped to join a modern work force. I am trained for going on breaks and lunches when the factory shuts down at specific moments and to assure my uniformity and lack of thought, yet I am living in a world of jobs now that want lots of independent problem solving and thought.

      Why did I spend so much time in school learning to raise my hand before going to the bathroom? I don’t think anybody in an office is doing that sort of thing now.

     All of this is on my mind since I am always being asked here, “Why would someone so old be a studentessa?”

     In Italy the pace of life has not been changing as quickly and even where it is there are not so many people effected by the changes, so it really is a fair question. How was I going to get so much change across to a person from a culture that does not have the same problem to grapple with and how do I get that much across with the huge gap in my language?

    I know that in America we have been reinventing ourselves for fast changing professions. When I went back to college in 2008 as a reaction to my foreclosure and lack of success, I found myself not the oldest person at all but in my community college classes flooded with doctors and nurses, managers and many others. They were not there to fritter away retirement hours with growth but just to keep a job, get a job or survive financially. We were all interested in just keeping up with the pace…..a pace that is not necessarily in par with living a relaxed and happy live.

       How does one explain such an odd concept in a world where students are all young people? My student pass does not get me a cheaper rate of stay like it would if I was 20 years old. That is because here I am way beyond the “student” age. No one here understands an “old” student.

    As I weeded through Italian words of explanation, my limited Italian completely corralled in my concepts and controlled the conversation. There was a bit of recognition from the faces of my intelligent listeners as they reached into movie lives they had seen to understand my reasoning….they don’t seem to really understand though…a world that fast paced with changes every 3-4 years is not the way it is here.

    Life here seems to be filled with a more calm and peaceful pace that does not understand our lightening fast stress. I realized all of a sudden that I did not want them to understand our lifestyle. They have it right in my mind…why should they learn about how to do it wrong?

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