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Different generations, similar interests

Karalee Clerk, left, and Jill Ellsworth, right.
Karalee Clerk, left, and Jill Ellsworth, right. - Herald composite

Two women come together to share their perspectives, challenge one another

Karalee: In 1961, Diefenbaker was prime minister and Kennedy was president. The first brick was laid for East Germany’s Berlin Wall, the first human launched into space, and Niagara Falls started producing hydroelectric power. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky was born that year, and so was I, though I don’t like hockey.

If you do the math, you’ll quickly figure out I’m 57, or pushing 60, as I like to say. I’d have thought for all the years I’ve walked the earth, I might be wiser. Truth is, I’m not really sure if I know more or less. What I do know, though, is I’ve lost the desire to edit my words in calling out what’s plainly before the eye, minus political correctness, the need to be liked or frets about being judged. I consider this a gift of getting older.

Jill: In 2002, while Karalee was raising three sons, I was in Grade two, crafting my first masterpiece. In a room full of sticky second-graders I sat filling page after page in my pristine Hilroy scribbler. On the cover, written as neatly as an eight-year-old hand could manage, were the words “My First Novel.”

Now 24 years old and living in a world of celebrity presidents and fake news junkies, I somehow manage to write with fresh eyes and an outlook yet to be crushed by society. I’m fascinated by true crime, social justice and the things that make people tick. Growing up on the cusp of the technology era gives me a joint appreciation for life both on-screen and unplugged. You could say I’ve been given the best of both worlds.

Meet us. Karalee and Jill, two women who’ve only just met thanks to the magic of digital connectedness and FaceTime. We’re an unlikely duo. One millennial (Jill) and one part Baby Boomer and part Gen X (Karalee), we’re teaming up to write about what’s pressing, relevant and keeps the world up at night from lives years and worlds apart.

I’m Karalee. I raised three sons while living in Ontario and then decided to run away from home. Three years ago, I landed in Halifax, went back to school, and took on the serious work of a mid-life redo in a new city where I didn’t know a soul, apart from my youngest son. Now an empty nester, what next?

And I’m Jill. Fresh out of journalism school in 2017, I spent a few months in Toronto chasing stories about anyone with a board under their feet, until the salty air of Cape Breton called me back home. A job opportunity at my alma mater let me settle back into a place rooted in memories of love and learning. Now a young professional taking the first steps into adulthood, what next?

You may think it’s crazy for two complete strangers to write as one, and maybe it is, but we believe we stand to learn something from each other. We expect we might often disagree, but we like to think that as humans and women, we’re more same than different. And hopefully, when we’re at odds, we might find a way a bridge between the gap between generations.

And even though we’re in completely in different stages of life, seems we’re both plagued by the some of the same questions. Is freedom of speech disappearing before our eyes? How is anyone enjoying this summer when global warming is the one handing us the beach towel? What are the real building blocks of change? How far have we come from the future that was waiting for me, Karalee, when I came of age in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s compared to what’s ahead for, Jill, as her future unfolds in the aughts, 20s and beyond.

Jill: A notebook-addicted over thinker and always searching for life’s next adventure, I’m not naive enough to think I have a handle on the world, but I know I’m here to shake it up.

Karalee: A self-confessed ranter, opinionator and media junkie, I’m fully aware that I’m now walking the line between sharing the wisdom and guidance of six decades of life and stepping out of the way of the future.

Welcome to our joint column, Between Generations. Watch for us, every other week, and come along with us as we grapple, tussle, and hopefully at times have some laughs as we write our way through this crazy, beautiful world we’re lucky enough to walk on, right now, together. Our follow-up column appears in the Oct. 9 edition of Now.

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