I recently saw the ‘’Intern’ movie and I liked it. Why? It subtly underscores some issues and themes I’ve been obsessed with over the years: Age and Experience, Life/Career Transition, Entrepreneurship, Image, Attitude, Modern day realities and the opportunities therein, how the today’s realities affect the family and the list goes on. In fact, I’m watching the movie as as I type, pausing repeatedly so I can document my random but insightful thoughts inspired by the movie.
First of all, I do not think we maximize the existence of the elderly among us, at all. They carry with them, decades upon decades of priceless wisdom and truckloads of hindsight. Many things they see us stumble through, they have managed through themselves long ago. They must find it pretty amusing watching these young people fascinated with the devices in their hands, who think stuff that happened decades ago, do not apply to them. We forget that everything that is, has happened before, one way or another, the level of sophistication is just what’s different. Three Yoruba proverbs make this point; they are translated below.
- What an elder sees sitting down, a young man cannot see, even if he climbs an Iroko tree.
- A youngster may have more apparel than an elder, but he cannot have as much worn out rags as the elders.
- When a child starts to cut a tree, only the elder can tell where exactly it will fall.
At any rate, the movie catalogues critical moments in the life of the protagonist who founded and is running a fast-rising -commerce start-up in her mid 20’s. She is married to a stay –at –home dad who cares for their toddler daughter. It seemed like a great arrangement until the story evolved. Busy Millennial mom is a ‘cray cray’ (crazy) hard worker but is perceived by her board as really a little unfit, immature to be CEO of her own organization, Stay-at-home dad is cheating while being the ‘perfect’ dad and husband. Busy mom gets the cold shoulder from fellow moms who happen to be stay-at-home moms. Busy mom begins a search for a CEO to replace her especially as she has discovered her neglected hubby is cheating on her. The couple is generally struggling to figure things out.
Meanwhile, our dear elderly intern, who recently retired and applied for the role out of sheer boredom, is her current driver and an oddly unwitting but perceptive observer on all happenings at Busy Mom’s office and home.
It’s all a major culture shock for him, dealing with the modern realities. He learns how to open a Facebook account, refuses to dress down (he’s worn suits to work all his life),he shares his wisdom and handkerchief with these young kids running around like chickens and met a pretty lady. With time, he’s able to connect with all of them and them with him, in spite of a clash of values.
So, I’m thinking…
- Are the rules regarding family life changing this rapidly around the world or just in the advanced countries?
- Are we at that turning point when women are proud to bring in the bread while men stay home?
- Is it alright to let go of your dreams in order to “keep” your marriage? Will letting go, guarantee that you won’t lose your home?
- Is it ok for stay at-home moms to be happy with being just that? Is it ok to guilt – trip other women who happen to be busy, working (sometimes unavailable)moms?
- Are more Millennials and Gen Z or post Millenials (as they call them) ready to embrace leadership of big corporations?
- Are more people ready to create something out of nothing?
- The workplace environment is not left behind. Suits and ties are out and jeans and sneakers in. Of course, I know of work place recreation facilities but an in-house masseuse? It really makes sense with today’s work-related pressures.
- There’s so much to learn from the elderly and so much to glean from the young. Regular interactions and collaborations between the two (if we could manage it) would be massively beneficial.
In conclusion, the world around us is really changing and we need to evolve along with it. The Trump victory takes the cake on proving to us that there really are no rules. A lot has been said on the changes in the political arena, but that isn’t the only facet of our existence. The old, cultural templates and norms are certainly being upturned and that’s no news.. Maybe it’s time to create your own template, write your own script and create the lifestyle that you want. Trust, me many will follow you.
By Ayodotun Rotimi-Akinfenwa