At the beach on a sunny day, what would the old tell the young?

17 Jul

If you look deep, faces reveal stories. One day on the beach, with faces all around, thoughts leaped from them.

In the posturing young males there was a cocky yet fragile confidence; a faith in one’s self, one’s strength and one’s energy, but also a poorly hidden fear of the unknown. There was a willingness to stay in place and time, and the troublesome idea that knowledge may be more important than charisma.

In the young females there was desire and hesitancy; a need for some unformed quality not found in the males; a necessity to move forward in place and time; a deep yet unacknowledged realization of superiority kept in the shadows by overly cautious optimism.

In the old there was either satisfaction and peace or pain and disgust. The first group had goals, some modest, that were met. The second harbored resentment; unhappy with fate and exhausted of second chances.

Seeing young and old together made me wonder what the old might tell the young.

Here is the advice I would give:

 

  • Realize you are much smarter than you think but that you know almost nothing.
  • Accept that good work requires lots of bad work.
  • Learn a second language; it will get you a second soul.
  • Play an instrument . . . well.
  • Read the great stories and myths of your culture. Let them guide you.
  • Place honor before money.
  • Know that truth is relative, fluid and deceptive.
  • Never deny a person his or her dignity.
  • Don’t wait.
  • Happiness is attainable but difficult to recognize.

 

As the words surface, the young, for a short time, will be both blind and deaf and wonderfully preoccupied. Then they will politely move on, overwhelmed by their own brand of discovery and their own style of learning, a more important kind, the kind even the old hold in high, if unspoken, regard; the juice of life that lodges forever in the mind.

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