Inverurie Eye

Goodness me, with the closure of the fabulous Paralympics, and with summer nearly over, writes Susann Brown, you cannot help but look back in awe at the amazing year we’ve had.

With the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, the Olympics and the Paralympics, what a feast we’ve been party to, what talent we’ve seen and what wonderful, life-changing, never-to-be-forgotten achievements we have shared - not only by our sportspeople, but also by the legendary superstars who turned out to entertain us for the feast of celebrations, the opening and closing concerts, and the like.

All this is especially amazing when you compare it with the doom and gloom of the economic situation. For a while, we were able to forget about our tightened belts and sit back to enjoy one one performance, one spectacular achievement after another.

There was some criticism of certain ‘mature’ entertainers, but, whether or not they lacked their former energy and sparkle, was it not fitting that this brilliant year should mark their swan song?

But whilst all the life skill experts tell us to look forward, now and again I think it’s important to look back at where we were, what we’ve done, what strides our world has made, over the past years. Without going as far back as Dickensian boys scrabbling up chimneys, if we just reflect on our lives today in relation to those of our parents or grandparents, we might realise just how privilaged we are. I doubt if there’s a family reading this that doesn’t own at least one car. My partner John tells me when he was a boy, there were less than half adozen car-owners in a street of more than 500 houses, and I remember my family had one of those TV sets, black and white with a nine-inch screen. That was luxury and I loved the stars that came on when you switched off the set.

The internet links you to the biggest encyclopedia you could dream of and you can talk to anyone in the world, immediately, seamlessly, from your house, your garden, your garage or even your bathroom on your mobile phone. On top of that, you can pay your bills, watch yesterday’s soaps, do your banking, your shopping, book your holiday, your flights, your hotel and your car all with a few clicks.

Yes, we can organise our lives these days hardly needing to leave the house, but is that a good thing? Not only might dependence on technology become stifling, it could turn us all into unsociable creatures. If we don’t have to go out, and elect not to bother, we risk losing the ability or the desire to integrate with neighbours, to socialise discuss, compare, or compete with our friends.

If so, where, I wonder, would the next generation of superstars find the motivation to to break through impossible barriers to give us the sort of performances we have been priviledged to witness in 2012?