Thursday, June 16, 2011

Do Baby Boomers Have Aims?

"Siamo qui per servirla could be another option", with a hint of sarcasm - from Word Reference Forums on a good Italian translation of "We aim to please".

Straight out Kerouac, Boomers at a Manhattan Flea Marke
We were talking about aims. Well, HE was. I wasn't. "He" being my husband.

It was over dinner and he told me his current life aim. "Oh," I said. Yes I know. I can be very uncommunicative. It's a family trait on my mother's side.

"So, what's YOUR aim?" he asked. I replied that I didn't have one, and attempted to change the unwelcome subject.

In fact the question puzzled me. Are we meant to have aims? "Life aims", I mean; because that was the sort of aim my husband was talking about. I've never had one. A grandiose aim - I should be so lucky.

But nevertheless, aimless as I obviously am, I dwelt upon the subject later. Perhaps it was an age thing. If you don't have your whole life in front of you, why have an aim? Unless it is an aim to stay alive. Which is sort of a default aim and doesn't count. I dwelt and I dwelt.

And I think I've got it worked out.

I grew up hardly knowing where the next meal was coming from. I had a single mother at a time in OZ when there was no supporting parents' benefit and women earned very little. There were stretches when my mother was unemployed. And there were no unemployment benefits back then. So that just getting to the next day was an achievement.

Me and my Bro.  Outside Wilson Hall, Melbourne University
I remember other girls at school having aims. Like - "I am going to be a lawyer. "I'm going to be a pediatrician." I was in awe of those girls. I just hoped that I'd get a scholarship to go to university and wouldn't have to be a tram conductor. I did not think of anything beyond that.

Melbourne used to have tram conductors. They were invariably women, employed to walk up and down the tram (Americans - read "trolley") checking that everyone had a ticket, and selling tickets to those who did not.

What got it into my sixteen year old head that should I fail my final year at high school I'd be a tram conductor, I don't know. But it did. Negative reinforcement. It spurred me on and I did go to university, enrolling in subjects whose content I had no idea of. I enrolled in psychology because I liked the look of a boy who had already enrolled in it. He was later to become my first lover. So much for sensible planning. Still, the psychology has come in handy ...

I suppose I've just drifted on, ever since. I remember my mother asking me, "Are we shallow?" and I answered yes. We didn't think of the big things we were to busy worrying about the small. Being able to achieve big things never entered our minds.

Send your aims to HERE!
I DID have a fantasy though. I dreamed I'd get engaged in New York to someone who looked like a young Cary Grant. He would propose on a patio belonging to a penthouse apartment in Manhattan. I would be wearing a pink taffeta dress and would look like Debbie Reynolds. In this fantasy I was employed. Some sort of office job. The job didn't play a part in the fantasy - apart from existing. But I do remember that the office building was on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and there were revolving door at the entrance.

Weird. I did end up in Manhattan and I actually worked on Fifth Avenue in a building that had revolving doors.

But it wasn't planned. It sort of just happened.

I suppose if forced I COULD say I had an aim. It would be to be aimless. To accept what the world has to offer and to have the basics needed to survive.

Oh yes. There's another hidden aim. An aim that dares not speak its name. More like a wish. I would like to see or even hear of my grandson. But that's another story ...

And unachievable.

No wonder I do not have an aim.

So yep, I don't have an aim. If any reader has a surplus of them, please send them on.

I can offer them a good home. In a building in Manhattan.

That has revolving doors.

1 comment:

Vanessa said...


Good aim is important in archery.
Bad aim is important in paintball.
To aim or not to aim that IS the question.

I really liked this blog. Your writing style is very readable.

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