The great irony of growing older is seeing the world as it is, assuming you’re paying attention or care, and yet becoming fairly useless to those who could best use the font of knowledge you’ve acquired across the many years travelled. It is a conundrum indeed.
I, personally, am sitting on the edge of my golden years, and as such am now willing to dispense the hard-earned wisdom I’ve come to. Naturally, I expect those of youthful verve to seek me out and drink deeply from my fountain of important stuff to know.
What other possible reason could there be for accumulating the knowledge in the first place? Why to pass it along to the next generation. Just as our forefathers or foremothers or forepersons, should you prefer that term, passed on their wealth of “this is what’s important, bub,” so then must we follow in that long line of footsteps.
The question then is how best to preform this noble task.
Some, Mr. Brooks from the New York Times as an example, utilize the fine art of sarcasm to illustrate that within that wisdom is the need for a certain amount of self-reflection and self-awareness to best understand how to make the world a better, less stultifying place. Needless to say, many of the comments re-enforced his opinion by blasting him for being a know-it-all jerk, though he was, in his own way, lamenting our self-absorbed times.
I, on the other hand, am content to know all and to share as needed. Whether I actually know all is immaterial. Belief is a powerful elixir to those of us self-aware types as we enter our golden years. Besides, there is the not so insignificant fact that much of the wisdom we have obtained, whether fact or belief based, will, sadly, go unused.
The is the bain, assuming you worry about such things, of knowing much, but finding yourself set out to pasture, relegated to no more than being some old dude.
(A positive of our times is dude is no longer the lone provence of men. For reasons I don’t fully understand, women are dudes too. But I digress.)
Some, perhaps Mr. Brooks as an example, will be disheartened by this (he may not be as I presume he’s being paid a fair coin for his work unlike the rest of us). I am heartened though by the knowledge that what was given to me in my youth, I have for the most part forgotten. Yet I believe it remains with me, subtly influencing whatever particulars choices I make during the course of any given day.
It’s also true, that I am not the only bearer of these pearls of wisdom, that in fact, they are disseminated on a regular if not daily basis. Whether any of it is getting through isn’t my problem. That’s the gift of being on the cusp of one’s golden years. Like those before me, down a long distinguished (or undistinguished) line, I now recognize the relative futility of preaching to youth. Everybody learns through bitter heartbreaking personal experience. Or they watch it on TV or their phone. It’s all the same.
Will that discourage me from mouthing off as I see fit?
I wouldn’t count on it.
©2019 David William Pearce