Monday, October 1, 2018

Younger people

I am almost into my 9th decade of life.  I have greatgrandchildren so I have some experience with multiple generations.  I have daily interactions with people younger than 20 and older than 80. I continue to think that a person's age is often the most important fact about them.  Not because of aging but because of experience.

Sure, aging, sickness and death are all important, just as the Buddha pointed out millennia ago.  We age from conception on. We get sick and eventually death catches us. But it seems to me that what I experience daily, what it all means to me, has much to do with my life experience.  If I am 15, I haven't grown up completely. Usually, at that age I am still under the strong influence of my parents. By 25, I am probably full grown but I am quite inexperienced. Many people think that when they reach 40, they have entered the middle part of life.  Maybe by then, they have what seems like a genuine work history. Often, they are parents and have been married for a while, maybe more than once.

I have quoted James Michener's advice before: Fool around (he meant don't be overly focused. He was not advising sexual promiscuity.) until you are 40 since before that, you are too young and green.

Of course, many people have lived through harrowing experiences, had work successes and failures that definitely matter, started businesses and had business failures, had serious physical, mental, emotional and social events in their lives by age 40.  In general, people worldwide are living longer, communicating more and staying in better health that ever. That means that generations, different age groups, can have very different experiences. They can be lead to different habits, interests and pastimes.  

I enjoy going around mumbling, "It's not like when I was a kid."  I don't remember any family members saying that, but of course, clothing, entertainment, marriage, diet and food, transportation, money and banking and nearly anything else I can think of has indeed changed very much since I was a child.  

The idea for this post came from this story announced on Firefox's Pocket service, which shows interesting items on the Start a New Page tab:

We have seen this before in all countries and civilizations.  The elders teach A, B and C and pretty soon the young people are not only trying to actually do what those principles espouse, they fully believe them!

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