This essay will turn eight years old next week. In the age of constant bombardment by media content, we’re lucky to remember anything specific from last week, but I think about this one essay all the time. It is that important.
My title comes from this quote: “My grandfather was born in 1888 and he didn’t have a lifestyle. He didn’t need one: he had a life.”
Among the many other great parts:
I suspect that my grandfather’s life was real in a sense that my father’s life hasn’t quite been, and my life is not at all.
The crucial difference is my grandfather’s lack of self-consciousness, and that self-consciousness is a hallmark of the perpetual, infantilised adolescents we have all become, monsters of introspection hovering twitchily on the edge of self-obsession, occasionally aware that the life that exists only to be examined is barely manageable; barely, indeed, a life.
Note that the article ends with some very sane–and therefore radical–truths about adulthood.