Youth isn’t so much wasted on the young as appreciation for fleeting opportunities is understood and valued by older citizens residing just up the block.
I am continually fascinated by the disconnect that occurs between young and old. It is something that spans generations and seems to have always existed. It’s like guys arguing in bars about which ballplayers from various time periods are better than others.
Some things are unchangeable. For instance, the cartilage we have in our knees is that with which we are born. No amount of proper nutrition, healthy habits or exercise changes that once we fully develop. Our muscles all around knee cartilage may get bigger and assume more mass and strength, but they do very little for the overall condition of the knee once the cartilage dissipates for one reason or another.
When we get older we understand we have seen more suns set than we’re going to see the rest of our time on the planet. That in and of itself should lend appreciation for the remaining time we have and for the deeds we can yet accomplish.
I’m a sports guy and I totally get that players like Dan Marino thought they’d see more super bowls than they did. Marino went to the big game in his first year and never got back. Where do you go when you base the meaning of life in goals you never can quite attain?
The answer lies somewhere in between thinking like a young person and believing like an old person. That place in between senior moments and the stupid mistakes a kid makes is where we end up living more often than not. Old people don’t fade away so much as young people think they have more opportunities awaiting them after blowing off the one everyone says they should have availed themselves of.
Life’s uncertainties cause us all fear. While confidence may be sexy, pretending to be confident is where the majority of us end up living. The older set knows smiling, feigning knowledge with the tilt of their heads, is akin to the young person who knows it all but knows nothing at all. Middle age should be a more comfortable period for us than it is. But, we’re typically too busy having our expected mid-life crises to pick up on how it is we should be living.
When I was young I used to think how silly it was to be around people who would pray and give thanks for opportunities. I thought opportunities were to be had at any given time and always to be in abundance. It was one thing to be thankful for something like opportunities around Thanksgiving; it was another to be grateful for them. Youth may begrudge opportunity thankfulness but only the old are grateful for opportunities.
I want to live the rest of the time as someone who recognizes and values the opportunities that come his way. I don’t want to believe opportunities are like busses or girls whereby another one comes along every so often. Since I can’t be young again and have the knowledge I do now, I don’t want to be a dick about opportunities, or anything else, ever again. It’ll not be always easy to do, but I’m going to try.