Mar 9, 2009

In Praise of Aging

I turned 50 this year, and though it was a bit of a sobering experience, I'm now pretty much digging it. I also just recently decided that it was time to stop coloring my hair, and so proceeded to instruct my hair-guy to take it all off, right down to the grey roots. Not only am I cool with it, but I can't wait until it's all grey. I also find that I seem to be dispensing more and more "wisdom" to the young people in my life, and that I sound suspiciously like someone's Grandmother as the words come out of my mouth. This too, pleases me. Apparently I've been paying attention as I make my journey.

And like my elders (who never missed an opportunity to tell me about it), more and more I am alarmed and saddened at the behavior of what I like to call: The Young'uns. Some appear to have no expectation of anything better happening in their lives, and so they don't try; but many seem to have the idea that they can have it all; that there are no sacrifices on the road to their goal. No sense of history, no recognition of the fact that someone paved the way for them to walk that road.

I work in a business that values beauty and youth over character and competence, and breeds an attitude of entitlement. Not a day goes by that I'm not standing in line somewhere that I don't want to just pimp-slap one of these young'uns. To tell them to buck up, learn to live on less; to listen and observe rather than talk. Mostly I want to remind them that the world doesn't owe them a damn thing.

As wordy as I can be, I could never have phrased it as eloquently as this individual did. In my insomnia-induced cruising of the Craigslist Rants and Raves section, I found this gem and I just had to share. It made me want to shake the authors hand, stand up and him/her a beer.

re: Old people please retire tomorrow (in your dreams, sonny.)
Reply to: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: 2009-03-08, 10:31PM PDT

Genius wrote:

"I work at a company with alot of old people. Most of them are about useless for anything, and the company wants them to retire. Please give us 30 and 40 somethings a chance to move up and afford to have a family and house. Some of them are 67 and could get SS and 401k. But I hear them bitchin and moanin about how their 401ks lost soo much value and they will have to work till their 80s. Please just go away you old fuckin bag, and retire.

Dont you think us younger people deserve what you had in life?"

Actually, junior, those "old useless" people forgot more about business than you've learned. The odd thing is that many of the 30 and 40 y.o. people have never had to work in an adverse economy. Here's a lesson for you: Any idiot can look like a genius in good times... the bad times are what separates true talent from the wanna-be. In this climate, experience will come in handy. This is round three, or is it four... for me. I've seen this all before and I watch you flail, running in circles, yelling and screaming in panic - not having a clue as to what to do. It's actually quite amusing.

You claim to want a family and a house. Do what we did. Save and do without so you can afford one. No, it won't be in Santa Monica or Manhattan Beach.... you can have that later. Truthfully, you don't yet have either one because it's simply not important enough for you to make the necessary sacrifices to attain that goal. You want your iPhone, BMW and the house and family.

67? It's the new 50. Write it down. Advances in medicine, nurtured by those who now "fart dust", have made it possible for people to remain productive far longer than the previous generations. Social Security? Please. 401K? Punk MBA's and day traders have done their best to destroy that retirement vehicle.

Nope. Sorry. Stickin' around, much to your chagrin. You'll just have to either distinguish yourself by showing some true talent so one of us old farts notices you, or remain on the bench and wait. I just had another physical on Thursday and the good doctor says I'm good to go for at least another 10 years. Sucks to be you!

Oh.... and you don't "deserve" shit. That's the kind of self-entitlement that defines your generation. It's not flattering. And it's why you are destined to wait. In real life, no one gets a trophy for simply showing up. That was some concept some shit head came up with during the "self-esteem" days of 1980's education. It was bullshit then, and it's bullshit now.


Vampire Hours said...

You have always been wise beyond your years, grey hair or not. You're the closest thing to The Oracle (from The Matrix) that we young'uns (and old'uns) better listen up!

Sissy said...

As Madea would say: "Ya betta tell somebody!"

And funny you'd mention The Oracle...that was my nickname at Allied; in fact that was what my nameplate outside my office said (those cheeky graphic designers changed it without telling me)!