The Daughter is doing another art project. Her assignments always make me think. This time, I was asked to provide some old family photos. Her theme is the female side of the family. I duly dug out some pictures of myself at The Daughter’s age, photos of my mother, my mother’s mother and even one of my mother’s grandmother, aged 16. The Daughter asked for names and dates of birth and occupations. Having to explain that women didn’t usually have occupations outside the home, or stopped working when they married, made me realise how quickly the world has changed in my lifetime.
I went to university, got married, had kids and have worked and continued to study all my adult life. This evening I have written a blog, checked my emails, been on Facebook, faxed a document to Canada, set a programme to record on the Sky box and responded to a couple of texts.
I am reading Kenneth Gergen’s “The Saturated Self”, which examines the enormous impact of technology, and especially communication technology, on our sense of identity. For all the women in the photos I sent to my daughter, the life I lead would have been unimaginable. The life The Daughter will experience may turn out to be equally unimaginable for me, so rapid is the pace of change.
And sometimes, amidst all the stress this dizzying and often self-imposed speed of life inevitably brings with it – what Gergen calls the “modernist training for constant improvement, advancement, development, and accumulation” – I have to stop and remember that what really matters to me is summed up very simply: my family and my friends and enjoying my life. Much the same as it was for my mother, her mother and her mother’s mother, I’m sure.