Yesterday I read a Facebook rant by a brilliant young man who is a good friend of ours. He was expressing distaste for all the “back in my day” posts by an older generation and inviting everyone to “Live in the now, people.” I notice those posts too. And I may be guilty of sharing a few of them.
Instead of disagreeing with my friend, I paused to reflect how I felt when I was his age and my parents and their contemporaries would talk incessantly about how much better life was when they were young. They would go on and on about how much respect they had for their elders compared to me and my disrespectful “hippie” friends. They longed for simpler times. They talked of how much less everything cost “back in the day.” I got really sick of it because I simply could not relate. And then I married someone their age and got more of same until I lost him in 1995.
Thirty years after that annoying parental commentary, I am old enough to understand that reflecting back on one’s life just goes with the aging territory. Remember the landmark book, Passages by Gail Sheehy? In it, she identified personality changes that are common to each stage of adult life, based on three years of extensive research and over 100 interviews. And since that first book, Gail has written a number of other Passages books, each with new messages that serve to decode life cycles of Boomer men and women. I bring this up because Gail wrote about my generation. And yet, thinking about that first book, I see she could have been talking about every generation, only with different internal and external forces affecting it.
When you keep adding years and experience to your life, it becomes more and more difficult to stay present. “Back in the day” happens. I think that’s all it is. Someday, my young friend will discover this too. Until then, I applaud him in living in the now. I’ll do that too, only with my benchmarks based upon reflection. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing Sheehy at the “What’s Next Boomer Business Summit” this week. I will show her my friend’s rant and see what she has to say.