TUMBY BAY - I live in a small country town on the south eastern coast of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. It has a population of about 2,500, of which about half are elderly or retired.
A lot of those people used to be farmers but they have now left their sons and daughters in charge of the farm and bought houses with an ocean view.
The pristine coastal environment and laid back lifestyle also attracts people from far and wide, including, and perhaps surprisingly, many from Queensland.
They tend to arrive as grey nomads in their covered wagons, fall in love with the place and buy property.
This all makes for a somewhat eclectic mix of inhabitants. We have got, for instance, a Frenchman and his Congolese wife running a very popular French patisserie in the town.
We’ve also got a nice scattering of writers and artists. They tend to offset the crazy fishing addicts.
Taking the piss out of those who are strait-laced is an official town sport.
So is worrying about climate change. There is an oil company planning to drill for oil in the nearby Great Australian Bight and this has got a fair proportion of the population well and truly riled up.
It’s kind of like a Byron Bay without all the hype and palm trees.
One of the interesting things I’ve noticed since arriving here is that the atmosphere in the town seems to encourage people to indulge their inner juvenile.
The number of old crocks sporting long hair and riding surfboards seems to be disproportionate to the usual surfie push.
So too the number of ancient and barefooted citizens about the town. You know when winter has truly arrived when they start wearing shoes.
That they were once staid cereal farmers or accountants or used car salesmen or high school principals adds to the interesting aura.
Older Australians letting it all hang out en masse is an interesting phenomenon. It has a lot to do with the baby boomer generation and is probably a one-off historical event.
Having the where-with-all, the money, to do it is may never occur again. At least on the current scale. This is rather sad when you think about it.
It says a lot about the present human condition.
The world, as currently configured, stifles any thought of fulfilment and realisation of potential except in its basest, narrowest economic and ultimately unsatisfying form.
I’m sure there are many other little towns like ours all over Australia and the world. Together they represent an argument for a reconsideration of how we live our lives.
Without trying to be facetious or unsympathetic, old blokes in board shorts and old ducks in string bikinis and pink highlights in their hair might be just as potent a sign as people living in abject poverty that all is not well with the world.
Maybe the baby boomers can have one last hurrah and change things for the better.
Some seem to think they have been responsible for the mess we currently find ourselves in.
Perhaps the anti-Trump forces gathering in the USA among older people like Elizabeth Warren is a portent of things to come and a new dawn for humanity.
One can only hope.
Meanwhile, in Tumby Bay, there are people ready and willing.