I was told last night by a 19 year old: “Tomorrow is my birthday and I’ll be 20.” This is a good thing, when I wished her a happy birthday she had a strange reaction. She wasn’t happy – “I’m getting OLD” I said “Child, please you’re just getting started!” “Yeah but it’s been three years since I was 17 and look at where I am!” I told her “You will always have MORE learning in life, if you find this situation as bad – learn from it! You can’t expect to be at the BEST in your life right now – because you’ll always be evolving. Relax and 20 isn’t old! Oh and another thing…don’t EVER say that to someone who’s 53.”
That whole conversation (to me) was disheartening. To have a kid feel that way about life, should I have told her any of my life changes? I posted the above statement on my facebook page and got some great feedback/comments and I will share them here. I will not use the names of the people making the comments, just their first initial.
B: I changed my entire direction when I was 40.
L: Don’t ever say that to anyone who is 62. Like B, I find myself changing directions when there is something I need or want to change. Life really is an adventure and the new year always gives you a blank sheet to write upon, but in reality, each day is a new blank sheet to do with what you will…do well, because you have exchanged a day of your life for it…make it count. Liz, I had to smile at your post because I remember being in such a hurry to conquer the world… wish I had a mentor like you to have given me the advice you did to the young lady.
T: What can a 78 “AWAKE! ALERT! ALIVE! & ENTHUSIASTIC ONE” remark about your comments – B, L and Liz LaClair?…really curious!…. ‘Cuz don’t know what to say.
Me: T, every person has something great to add to another person through their experiences in life and I am sure you could teach L, B and me things that we did not know.
J: Oh Liz, that ain’t even right.
T: J, now I’m more tongue-tied! Maybe, reaching this age tires one to recite life’s litany anymore…having been a mentor-coach, etc., for decades now and just getting set to retire from active Toastmaster volunteer work!
B: T, I have a friend that is 92 and still shows up every Sunday for the ballroom dance practice my wife and I run. He remains both physically and mentally alert by constantly giving of his knowledge and skills to others. He is my role model. At 78 you have many productive years yet if you chose to use them in that manner.
Me: It concerns me that she is from a generation that was told everyone is equal (as in there are no “winners” or “losers”). That’s not how real life works. Her generation (and the ones that follow) will have a very hard time facing life when they’re taught everything is fair and equal. I hope she’s just one in a large group of kids. Just have to reach out to her. I should have told her that I’ve changed my life path a few times already. I definitely haven’t done what I set out to do – the world hasn’t been conquered. Thanks for your compliment L! T, J was referring to the teenager’s attitude – that’s what isn’t right.
J: That’s it Liz! The girl isn’t even of legal drinking age yet… Geez
T: Oh! …Liz, yes…the thinking of the youth today’s rather not focused as well as we elders were in our time back then…(of course for you guys not too long ago yet except for me. hehehe!)…especially those unfortunate ones who are left without guidance and proper counseling!
WOW! It seems that I’m not far off in my thinking: the changes “for the better” (?) in how parents punish children for misdeeds, telling children that no one is better than anyone else (we’re all equals) doesn’t work. No, I don’t have children – but I do have eyes and common sense. If a child isn’t punished starting at an early age for misdeeds, how will they learn acceptable behavior? Especially in public. I know I can’t be the only person “out there” who thinks are you kidding me? why is that kid’s parents allowing him/her to do that??!!! How else can anyone learn to take responsibility for their OWN actions?
Teaching kids that there aren’t any “winners” or “losers” – a prime/easy example: no strikeouts in a baseball game. Why?? “Because we don’t want to lower the little tyke’s self-esteem.” Huh? How will that child ever grow up and be prepared for the real world. No one will pat you on the head and say “there, there, that’s OK – you’re doing good, it’s OK that your oops cost the company thousands of dollars.”
I don’t believe that I’m being harsh. I’m not saying I had a horrible childhood because my parents believed in corporal punishment, because that would be a lie. We all need to know that we will always (if we’re smart) be learning and that failure in any form is a type of learning. I will never say that I’m perfect. PUL-EEZE! I’m no where near that level. But if I can offer advice, then I will, it’s up to who ever whether or not they accept it.
And to my young friend? All I can say is: life’s too short to worry/stress over the little shit, get over yourself and when you find your life isn’t going the way you want, change it! OR, follow that path and see where it takes you – it could be the better path.
(Oops, large soap box today. Picture from Google images)