Young people are always dismissed in general by the older generations. We think that our experience of simply existing has instilled us with some existential wisdom that these green whippersnappers lack. They haven’t lived. They haven’t been married, paid mortgages, raised children, or undergone colonoscopies. How could they possibly have an opinion worth hearing? All of that faintly crossed my mind when I recently read a blog post by a young lady celebrating her twenty-third birthday by cataloging the lessons she had learned to date. But then I realized that most of the people my age are dopes who don’t even know the capitol of North Dakota, and who pass around long debunked rumors on Facebook, or think that people commit suicide because someone didn’t post the prevention hot line number on Twitter. Let’s be honest, folks: maybe we could learn a thing or two.
I found that the vast majority of her points hit the bulls-eye. And I would not have been so rude as to pick at any of the ones I did not agree with 100% when I added a comment beneath her post. Besides, it gave me a subject for my own post today, without which I may have ended up subjecting you to a treatise on why crepes aren’t as good as omelets. Consider yourself fortunate. One of her observations that caught my attention was that “exercise is way too important.” She did not expound on it, but I took it to mean that people obsess about it, post photos of themselves working out on Instagram, and make it into a religion of sorts. And if that’s what she had in mind, I agree. My life’s lesson at 53, though, is that exercise is too often ignored completely. Thirty years back, I worked out five to six times per week. I was running three to five miles per day, or even doing a couple of hours at the gym. Now I walk to my car. That’s about it. Does lifting myself off the couch count?Perhaps we can split the difference on that one. She also advised to not see your parents as your enemy, and to trust in them because they have your best interests at heart. This is a tough one. She is partially right, because most parents do fit that description. There are a significant portion who do not, though. Some are selfish and cruel, and they stew in jealousy when you do or get something better than what they’ve had. Some put you down so harshly that it takes years to stop thinking of yourself as the loser they have pinned you down to be. So let’s amend that a bit. Really hear what your parents are saying, consider their advice and guidance, and if you know that they mean well, give them a break. But don’t let their fears, doubts, and frailties come to define who you are. There is also a directive to count only on yourself and not on other people. That’s a lot like the one about parents. Your own experience tends to form your opinion on the subject doesn’t it? No person is an island, and ultimately life is harder when you can’t depend on anyone else. Yet, being disappointed by people repeatedly can leave one reluctant to put trust in someone else. I’m not saying she’s wrong, but I’m saying that I hope she changes her mind later when she finds at least one (and with luck more than that) human being who can be relied upon. One last “correction” that I would like to add. Natalia says that “alcohol is no fun no matter what people say.” If you’ve experienced being around drunks and alcoholics (yes, there is a difference) then that’s sage guidance. However, as a man of middle age, I can confidently state that two cocktails or pints of beer now and again manage to relax me in social situations and neither intoxicate me nor give me a hangover. It’s probably true that alcohol causes way more problems than it solves, though, so I’m going to change my mind on that and say that she’s right. It’s probably best to take that tack early and avoid some of the pitfalls of over-drinking, including never making it to twenty-three to begin with.
If any of you would like to read her entire post, I have provided the link at the conclusion of mine. If I had put it in the body of my post, you might have stopped paying attention to my clever repartee and left me flat. I’m way too needy and insecure to take such risks. I’ll say that if you’re one of those who has a negative view of the emerging generation due to prejudices such as actually having a kid that age who isn’t worth the DNA you made him or her from, you might find that there is at least some reason to revise that judgment.