Polar Opposites

Earlier today, I was walking from where my Halls are, in Lansdowne, to Talbot Campus. This journey usually takes around ten minutes if you’re catching the bus, or 15 to 20 minutes if you’re riding a bike.
However, if you’re walking, it takes much longer: around 40 minutes. Along with the obvious physical benefits this brings, it also gives me time to reflect on what’s going on. On the journey to work this morning, I chose to walk as there were no university buses running. I reflected on this week’s new lectures and units which will take me through to the end of April, and what I might bring to them next week. The walk is also quite convenient because it takes me in pretty much a straight line for a couple of miles, so I don’t really have to concentrate on the route. Therefore, I can reflect for a good half an hour without any major distractions.

Just before Cemetery Junction the road passes a few detached houses and what look to be old people’s homes. I pass them every single day but today I noticed just how different the lives of the people living inside them are to my own. I live in a high rise block of flats, along with 600 other first year students, all 18-22 years of age. The residents in the detached houses are most likely older people, at retirement age, settling down and enjoying peace and quiet; whereas my life is just starting, and although I do like peace and quiet, I don’t need it just yet.
It is this stretch of road that I walked through this morning that it happened. I had just put my hood up to shield the wind blowing behind me, and took out my phone to double check the time, to make sure I was making good time to arrive early for work. Out of the corner of my eye there was an elderly gentleman walking on the other side of the street. He looked to be roughly 60 years of age, sported smart, white combed hair on either side of his balding head and was wearing a long winter trench coat along with a scarf and gloves. I had, in my infinite wisdom, opted for a simple white, thin zipless hoodie to shield the cold from my upper body.

So imagine if you will, a 19 year old university student, hood up, looking down at his phone, walking along a road, defying convention and taking on the cold with next to no warmth. An elderly gentleman is walking in the other direction on the other side of the road, ready to take on the Antarctic…in style. Polar opposites. (Pun intended).
So it was probably just before we were about to pass each other along the road when we looked up and caught both our eyes. It was only for a brief microsecond, but that microsecond was all it took for me to confirm that there was an undeniable gap between both our lives. The look on his face was one of mild confusion with a hint of condescension, but mine I can imagine was one more of respect and admiration for his style and obvious sensibility. I could instantly tell that he was comfortable in his generation of life, his time of life, and at the same time I knew I was for my own.

So what I take from this then, is that this has turned out to be a pretty deep blog post. No, in all seriousness, I’m glad I had this little moment earlier and it has reassured me in a way that I am at a point where I can right a few wrongs, where there are any, in my life. I’m also glad I have respect for the older generation of people because that gives me something to strive for…but at the same time take my own route through life.

P.S. Yes, I skipped a blog post yesterday because I was recovering from my ‘Nek Nomination’. I have since removed it from Facebook due to the realisation that it is my legal obligation, as a licensed bartender, not to promote irresponsible drinking – and I’d rather keep my license!

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