We glibly talk about how the cycle of life brings us back to a childlike existence once we reach our dotage, but I had this brought home to me last week, through a very specific example.
I was on the phone to my elderly mother, and once we’d made arrangements to meet for lunch, she said, “Well, at least that’ll give me something to do.”
I asked her if she often found herself with nothing to do, or at a loose end, and she told me that these days she regularly got really bored.
Earlier this year, the Guardian newspaper held an experiment where several families gave up the rules laid down by parents, and handed the power over to the children.
It’s a fascinating read, and there are many parallels with what children and young people have been telling me via the How to Speak Child interviewing project.
It’s interesting to ponder what our lives would be like without clocks or watches or timepieces of any kind. Would chaos ensue or would we find an entirely new way of organising ourselves? Perhaps our need for rigid time management would subside – we might evolve into a very different kind of human race.
The map is not the territory; clock measurement is not time itself; a calendar or to-do list is not a life.