time keeps on keeping on

I was sitting in the drivethrough at McDonald's today (I felt a little guilty about it because the food and business model is so unhealthy in my mind and is feeding what is looking more and more like an epidemic of malaise and obesity in our culture, but I was craving a cheeseburger) and was talking with a friend of mine about my relationship with Jen and how long we'd dated and how we met, etc. As I was talking, it hit me that we've been married over 2 years now, which is not that long in terms of life, but is a long time in terms of the way I see us and my life. It seems like we're still newly married, getting our life set up. But it's been over 2 years, we've got a baby who's turned into a toddler and is over a year old. More and more I'm starting to see myself, from the outside, as an adult. I still feel like the same kid with so much to learn and so much ahead of me, which in many ways is so true, but college students are no longer my contemporaries. I'm creeping up on thirty. I'm finding my perspectives much less on-the-edge than when I was younger, and at the same time, way more balanced and wise than 5 years ago. As I become more aware of my own mortality and increasing age, I'm not scared or regretful for the past. I'm excited about what lies ahead. I'm also much more interested now than ever before, in what I can learn from people of a certain age in my life. It used to be that the older people were, the more out-of-touch they seemed. Today I realized that the older someone is, the more I can learn from them and the more I respect them. Granted, people who have chosen to live their life in a way that doesn't enrich them only become more bitter with age,and there are definitely those who are old and bitter, but I'm finding that the majority were once the instigators that I want to be. The people who are in the twilight of their lives now were the movers and shakers of the generation before. How will I like it if I am marginalized and discarded when I reach a certain age? How will I feel if my lifetime of experience is glossed over by young people because we can't agree on fashion choices or musical styles? Will I understand because the young people obviously know better than me? Will I remember what it was like to feel like I had all the answers and offer grace and understanding to them? Will I tell them that they are being foolish in their passion because they don't know near as much as they think they do? Will my life of experience and hard-learned lessons be valued or discarded?

Today, will I recognize that I am not the first one to think what I think? Will I remember that others have tried to change the world before me with the same level of passion that I have? Will I value that change or will I only look forward to what's next? Will I choose to intentionally express appreciation and value for the lifetime of experience in those people of a certain age in my life? Will I learn from their hard-learned lessons or will I forge on, confident that I could never make such foolish mistakes? Will I recognize the foolishness of my mistakes in time to seek guidance before my day is done and others are in my seat?

1 comment:

karianne said...

I thought that was excellent writing and content. I totally agree with your point of view and have often felt that way myself. I feel that if our culture took more time in authentic relationships and just valued time itself, we'd have less of a chasm between the generations. I wonder, though, since there's "nothing new under the sun," whether there will ever be any change. It brings to mind the old adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks."