I have begun noticing little things and medium issues that were never how it was supposed to be…until I became this age.
I sit at my desk each day and watch a constant stream of young professionals traipse by the windows – these are the younger adults in today’s world that make or break what happens, and in a sense, those happenings will affect my life immediately or in the near future. I used to be in their category. I used to be in that category, the younger generation, who knew better than the old people, who looked past the older generations as “fuddy-duddies”, the ones who didn’t understand the world today. I am now the woman who is looked past, not at. I am sandwiched between the young professionals and the seasoned and successful ready-to-retires.
I follow some wonderful writers who have delightful blogs – they are mostly 30-somethings, and it hit me the other day: they are really creative and bright and if they were in charge of the world, I guess it would be okay. Okay to let go and let this next generation of millennials try their hand at running the place, with their passion for social justice and recycling to make the world a cleaner and more pleasant place, their unexplainable intelligence at figuring out social networking and apps and websites and wireless and Instagram and Vine and Pinterest and Flickr and Spotify and…I have a Facebook page and an email address, and I used to be hip & happenin’. The fact that I just typed hip & happenin’ puts me into a whole different category.
As I enter this phase of life – enter, who am I kidding – as I live in this phase of life, it is such an odd feeling to watch young moms deal with the same issues I dealt with as a young mom, although now their issues seem to be magnified with the addition of smart phones and Ipads and gaming systems and creepers who can steal identity and stalk online. But they still struggle to handle correct discipline and appropriate punishment and unity in decision-making with their spouse and communication issues and balancing work and fun and family time and bed time and consumerism and laundry day.
I like this phase of life when I can enjoy the things I enjoy and turn my nose up at the things I don’t. I like the same meals at the same restaurants. I like going to bed earlier. I don’t think it is particularly fun to go out on the town for late night music. At least not unless it’s really GREAT music, but that’s when those young professionals would quietly snicker behind my back and say, “Really?” when my choice for really great music would involve sitting down, not standing up, in a quiet venue rather than raucous.
I see how things are so very important to the younger generation, and so many are concerned with appearances and having the latest and greatest, and I remember those days and wince. I also see how issues are so very important to some in the younger generation, so concerned with saving the planet and social justice and being a voice for a cause, and I smile.
I see how my Dad has begun to slow down and enjoy life rather than work his way through it. I see how very important family ties become as I begin to age and watch my Bingo friends silently ache for visits or phone calls or letters in the mail. I see how silently making fun of elderly people or overweight people who struggled to walk is not so funny anymore, now that I sometimes struggle myself. I see how the younger generation tends to leave out the older generation when it comes to music preferences in church, and it is much more of an issue for me now that my music preferences are not what the younger generation knows. I see how difficult it can be for an older person to participate in a crowd when the hearing is not what it used to be, now that my hearing doesn’t quite catch everything.
Perspective changes as you age. And the funny thing is, you won’t have this perspective until you live it. You can’t know what you don’t know.
I am grateful today for perspective, for being 50, for the sometimes wisdom to keep my mouth shut and let the younger generation figure it out as they live and experience. I am grateful for my comfort zone. I am grateful for the gift of looking back to see the younger generation try to figure it out, grateful for the example I have of an older generation who can still teach me so much as I live out this season. And I am grateful for the younger generation, the ones who are bright and intelligent and have a passion that is infectious, the ones that inspire me to be grateful, to live life with joy, to add a little whimsy and carry an attitude of “who cares what anyone else thinks?!”
It’s all about what chair you’re sitting in.