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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Young and the Restless

Everyone's worlds collide at some point...right? The young and the old. The Republican and the Democrat and the Independent? The boy and the girl. The church-goer and the goer-away-from-church-goer. The Type A and the whatever other type there is. You know how it goes. You consider yourself in "this group" while the person you've just collided with is in "that group." It works for a bit. Pleasantries and such. Hi, how are you's? You stare them up and down, check out their shoes and hair piece, and then go on your way ... no harm done. But occasionally the worlds stay closer together for some reason, even after the encounter.

I've got a a few of those younger "Hey, we should hang sometime" people in my life. And I'm very happy for it. I love the energy and drive they bring to my world. The youthful spirit, the smiles, the free-spiritedness. The only problem is that they don't always actually mean "Hey, we should hang sometime." And that frustrates a Type A/honest/forthright/weirdo like myself. What they do mean is that they don't know what else to say, so they say "let's hang." They haven't yet had enough experience in life to know what sort of conversation to have. They haven't had those long-term relationships yet. Mom and Dad may not have passed away yet. They haven't had to deal with taking care of a father while he's had Lou Gehrig's disease or a child that has cancer. They haven't had enough turn-downs in their life's relationships yet. Their pocketbooks are still tended to by Mommy or Daddy. Their world is still tainted by triple-shot induced Starbuck's with a pastry and the iPhone while the homeless folks outside on the sidewalk are more of an irritant than a cause. They still have pretty teeth and flat stomachs. They consider manscaping to be right up their with the next breath that they must have in order to live. Oh, and pretty underwear......they are an essential: (1) Fancy panties; (2) Breath.

Don't get me wrong. At all. I love Starbucks (sort of). And even this nearly-commando guy would like to have a drawer of sexy underdrawers to wear. And, hey, I'd even go for nice teeth and a nice set of semi-flat-2-pack abs. But it's a little further down on the priority list for me at this point in my life. You know how the gravity of life suddenly take your former #1 and #2 life essentials further down the scale as you age. And those things that apparently seemed to not even be on your radar screens when you were young and now near the top. Normal, I think. It is simply the way that life evolves.

Some of my favorite people in the world are those younger dudes that care about others, genuinely. Who actually have intentions of returning your phone calls and having an actual, in depth, honest, in-person conversation with you. The ones that are not simply out to reach 1,000 friends or more on Facebook. The ones that have been taught how to shake someone's hand, look them squarely in the eye, and ask how the other person is doing before offering up their own feelings or views on the day. The ones who enjoying being a positive influence on their relationships and world rather than dropping a bitter pill into every single conversation and situation that they encounter in their days. The ones who don't mind going a day with messed up hair and unbrushed-teeth breath if it may mean that someone else gets to go first.

But, still, the young enamour me. For all of the reasons I've clearly outlined. I like spending time with the youthfulness that a 20-year-old brings. And I try to see that my slanted view on my own midlife can actually be softened by my 25-year-old friends. But what I have a difficult time dealing with is the lack of commitment, the over promising, the fact that when you tell me you want to "hang sometime" I actually believe you. And I shouldn't chalk it up quite so easily to an "age issue." I mean, there are plenty of supposed adults that have yet to learn the value of honesty and how to actually have a relationship with someone. It goes way beyond age. Life is a bit twisted that way, isn't it? I'm still learning. Even at my advanced crotchety old age. Sigh.

14 comments:

Larry Ohio said...

Not to sound too selfish, but I like it when you spend an evening alone and become introspective. Your best blog posts soon follow.

It's funny, but I have the same feelings you have, only for older folks.

S said...

The young ones always want to hang out with me more than the ones my age since they're not married with kids.

Geoff said...

An uncle of mine always used to say 'youth is wasted on the young' and I was sorely disappointed when I first realized the genuine truth behind that phrase, because I realized I was moving away from that world. This was a fantastic post Lewis! Thank you!

wcs said...

Well. I was going to ask you if you wanted to hang some time. Of course, I never intended that we would actually hang. I mean, that would mean ropes and death and all that. Not very fabulous.

But you know that I have no other friends than those I find on line. Facebook is my Starbucks. My Vende Grande with half-caff latte. Or something like that. I'm so lame that I can't even order a Starbucks drink. Whatever.

Page me sometime. Page? Don't you remember those? Oh, I'm so far out of it that I'm into it. Up to my knees in it, if you really want to know. Don't even start talking about skin tags. Ugh.

So, all this is to say, just hang, dude. Hang with 'em. Hang without 'em. As long as they're hung. Uh-huh.

Have a nice day. :)

I have no idea what that was all about, but I still love reading your posts!

Blair said...

I think I am the "rest of the youngless"

annie said...

oh yes brother, young and old alike can act like that. i have taken to responding, "do you mean that"? if they hesitate, i know they don't. i just say, "yeah i knew that. i don't know how to 'hang' anyway". i think you're right in mentioning it keeps us a little more supple than simply "hanging" with identicals. maybe if we tried to learn ONE thing from each person we talked to? maybe. i don't know. maybe not.....

Lemuel said...

"I'm still learning..." That, my friend, brought a smile to my face because it told me that you are alive and sensitive to the world around you.

There are many in our world who are self-absorbed and self-obsessed. Those are terms I would apply to those you describe. It is not an age issue. We geezers can be like that, too.

Not too long ago I had a contact from a college classmate of 40 years ago. He was then much like the folks you described in your post. During our phone conversation I quickly surmised that he still is.

"We should hang sometime" is the "goodbye" equivalent of the "hi! how are you?" greeting. In the later the speaker is no more interested in how you are that he/she is in string theory. With the former he/she is no more interested in "hanging".

Stephen said...

hey... to me, you are the young set!

Ur-spo said...

I wish I had some younger men in my life. When I was a lad, I was very grateful for my 'elders', my 'aunties' who helped me grow up/mentor me.
And there was some daddy doings going on.

I wish I had a few youngsters to mentor in return.

Mark in DE said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with the expectation that people actually mean it when they say "Let's hang".

Wayne said...

In many ways I'm glad I'm not young anymore. There's something to be said of 'older and wiser'.
But I do miss my young body! ;-)
I should have taken better care of it!

Bridgeout said...

I agree with Larry... those gems you end up sharing with us often come from those times you are left to yourself...
I have a nice blend of friends older than me, and younger than me. I am glad I seem to be able to blend with them all!
Plus you are timeless to me! ;)

christopherc said...

Youth is a sate of the heart; and you my dear handsome friend are the epitome of youth and how it should be shared! Like you, I like those young in age to be around to keep that flame alive and the excitement of the ideals we all hold dear to the future. But, I also think we older young people have to hold them accountable from time to time..in regards to hanging.

CJ/Rick said...

Let's get together sometime. Yeah I've been guilty of saying something I don't mean. Thanks for your insightfulness Lewis. I hate it when your yoga ass gets all thought provoking on me.
Good post Lewis.