We celebrate youth. For their energy, smarts, technology, enthusiasm, and opportunities. Privileged, we call them, to have access to so much at a young age.
Their youth doesn’t compare to “our youth”. At times we feel cheated, other times indifferent, and at other times we are happy “not to be in their shoes”. I commonly hear that we had a hard, but simpler life.
What is not spoken of often, is where age has a clear and definite advantage.
That is in the area of life’s experiences. Some good. Some difficult. Some hurtful. Some joyous. Yet all temporary.
It is a clear advantage when clearly understood.
Our age begins to harden us to new ideas. We begin to calcify our likes and dislikes into routines that trap us. Our sense of excitement dulls with new situations.
At the same time, we begin to understand better that most situations are temporary. That we need to sometimes work through things as best we can. We find that people change, thinking changes, and crises eventually pass. More things now, are just too petty to get upset over.
We begin to understand that the future is not something to be feared. That when doors shut others open. That faith in God and a deep commitment to love each other without boundaries stabilizes, energizes, and helps build our endurance in ways that smartphones can’t.
We begin to see friends suffer from poor health. Wakes become a more common notation on our calendars. This realization of how short life can be, helps us slow down, as we age. We begin to be better equipped to enjoy small moments for their richness, value and in their entirety. Without distraction.
Today, one of these small moments may magically appear. We don’t miss them as easily as when we were young. We have seen, first hand, that tomorrow they may never appear again in the same way.
Walk hand in hand with youth, enjoying all that is unique about them. But instead of being jealous, stop and reflect at all we have experienced, contributed, and now better understand.
Share openly, with our youth, what makes more sense to you now — when they will listen but may not readily understand. Our hope should be that they can build bridges and towers that are greater than any we have seen while travelling through life with their own unique experiences.
For their lives are as short as ours. They just don’t realize it yet.