We went over to Sheffield yesterday to visit my elder daughter and see the house she has just (bought) committed herself to a hefty mortgage for. A little over a quarter of a century ago, she was a babe in arms and I had been introduced to the novel concept of being responsible for this new being I had brought into the world.
Now, she is a mature, responsible, confident adult, fully in charge of her life and making 'doctor-speak' comments about my cholestol level and pre-arthritic ankles! It must be a result of my encouraging her to specialise in geriatric care so that she can look after me in my old age!
When I look at young people of her generation, they seem so confident and self-assured, much more so than I was. "Work hard, play hard" is the motto and, indeed in today's culture of working endless hours, they do have to grab the chance to relax when they can. Those who have degrees enter the world of work already committed to paying off their loans before they can even think about taking on mortgages for houses with ever increasing price tags and by the same token, bringing up a family has to be juggled with staying at work in order to pay the bills.
There is a reason for that lifting of the spirits when 60's music is playing! It reminds my generation of our youth - those heady days when going to university or college was possible without having to live at home to lessen the expense. Those of us who needed it, had grants -
not loans, so we were not saddled with huge debts as a result of getting a degree. When the time came to settle down, house prices were usually affordable. Starting a family was usually possible on one person's salary or wages, so mum could at least stay at home for the first few years - as I did, and, looking back, I feel very privileged to have been able to do so.
So do young people now have a better life? I can't help thinking that we were the lucky ones. We were able to enjoy being young without the financial burdens that our children shoulder today. But then, maybe it's a case of 'distance lending enchantment' and I am looking back through rose coloured spectacles. All I know is, pre-arthritic knees or not, I am glad I had my youth when I did!