THE PETER PAN GENERATION
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The West is experiencing a generation of boy-men who shun adulthood. Why, I have not the slightest idea. But, it cannot be denied that males especially are afflicted with the Peter Pan syndrome, the boy who refused to grow up fictional character created by Scottish novelist J. M. Barrie.
Born during or after World War II and typical of my generation, I left school and home at 15-years of age. Within 24 months, work, leisure and pleasure turned the boy into an adult.
At 10 years of age I was fetching water from a distant spring, helping in the family’s vegetable garden; what we ate we grew, caught or shot. I was cutting timber for firewood, and helping the foresters to fell trees. As a 13-year old I had a paper round and I delivered groceries by bike, every penny helped. Years later, I showed a 14-year old boy how to use a garden fork and spade. His mother was horrified that I expected of him such ‘hard manual work’.
At sixteen, I was in the wheelhouse of a great ocean liner, steering the vessel as the behemoth ploughed its way across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. I sometimes got drunk, I fought and I loved, I lived life as I thought it should be lived.
I visited over 60 countries during which adventures I had come close to losing my life on several occasions. Following my seagoing career, I lived independently. I then married and had my own home and all the responsibilities that go with it. This was before I celebrated my 24 years birthday bash.
I was 26-years of age when as a leading member of Colin Jordan’s British Movement, I was leading from the front and surviving many street battles and court fines.
No applause; I was typical of millions born into an age of personal responsibility. Many school friends went into the armed forces and saw active service abroad.
Others emigrated to start new lives in Australia and New Zealand, Canada and the United States. My sisters were sixteen years of age when they took off for the United States. The enterprising pair worked their way across America to San Francisco without work permits or their Green Card. We didn’t fear being adults, we embraced the freedom adulthood offered.
Some school mates went into the building industry. By the time they were 24-years old they had built their own homes, had wives and children. No regrets, those years were the best investment I ever made.
What happened? Today, we all know boy-men, who in their thirties and forties live self-indulgent lives ~ no, they exist as eternal teenagers. The boy-men who refuse to leave the parental home, are unable to fend for themselves, and shun a grown-up lifestyle.
A woman can live comfortably without a boy-man and many prefer to do so. Boy-men as never before have become emotionally and financially attached to women, wives and girlfriends who are their surrogate mothers.
Oscar Wilde observed, ‘I wish I was young enough to know everything’. Quite, but the Irish novelist and playwright was talking about precocious schoolchildren. In his time, men in their twenties settled and fought abroad, they ran an empire upon which the sun never set.
Specialist clinical psychologist Merve Kırna investigated Peter Pan syndrome, which is seen in men between the ages of 14 and 50. The phenomenon reveals itself with the fear of growing up, avoiding responsibility and childish behaviour.
Although men with this condition appear to be mature individuals in age, they remain a child in speech and behaviour. Described as attractive by people who do not know them, these men make positive impacts on people as a first impression.
Usually staying away from marriage, they prefer to live with their families to avoid responsibilities and to lead a comfortable and carefree life. They have difficulty in deciding which profession they want to work in and in completing their education.
The journalist George Orwell was chillingly prophetic. ‘Football, beer, and most of all gambling, filled up the horizons of their mind. To keep them in control was not difficult’. Amen to that.
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Michael Walsh Was awarded Euro Weekly News ‘Writer of the Year 2011’. With 60 books bearing his name, thousands of news stories and columns, Michael is arguably Britain and Europe’s most prolific author of multi-topic books.
MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WEEL, EUROPE ARISE, TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROES, MEGACAUST, THE ALLIED INVASION. DEATH OF A CITY, WITNESS TO HISTORY, THE BUSINESS BOOSTER and THE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and II, and other book titles.
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