I admit it. Young adults are among my very favorite people. These two young ladies in this picture are among my favorite people. They know it, too. Because I've told them. And I continue to tell them. This was the final year of undergraduate studies for one of them (yeah, you guessed it --- the one in the cap and gown who graduated on Friday). This was the freshman year for the other one. Both of them attend the church where I serve. Sure, that makes them important to me, but that doesn't have anything to do with how likable they are to me.
It's graduation season. And I'm reminded of all the young adults who are somewhere on the journey toward creating the life they want. For some, like these two...that means higher education. For others, it means entering the workplace to figure out what they may want to do. For others, it may mean taking time to travel and venture out into the world to experience different countries and cultures.
Two words loom large for me (and have for the past 20 years or so): Legacy. Significance.
It was the genesis of this podcast. Nothing has changed. If anything, it's just intensified.
Passing it on has been a preoccupation. I don't feel any responsibility to tell anybody how to live necessarily. But I do feel confident to help show younger adults the pitfalls they may face. In the last few years, most of the focus has really been helping them navigate their own self-awareness. I find myself steadily offering insights on things they can do...things I wish somebody would have shared with me.
How We Got Here
Wherever you're at in life. Age-wise. Financially. Relationship-wise. Any other way you'd like to gauge it. Consider where you are right now. And when I ask how you got here I don't mean in all the little details. Mostly, I mean in the bigger issues. Important factors like influence. Viewpoints. Philosophies. Standards. How did you develop those? Who influenced the development of those?
Me? I got here because of people who had a big impact on me as a little boy. I got here because of some old men in my life. And a few old ladies, too. I got here because of parents. The short answer is, I got here because of the people who influenced me. The things they taught me. The warnings they gave me. The fear they instilled in me. It all mattered.
Something happens when you get old. Define old any way you'd like, but for me...old is when you've got more past than future. I know we can't know our exact lifespan, but we've got some expectation. Hopefully, a reasonable expectation. Do I have 10 years, 20 years, 30 years? I don't know. But I know how many decades are behind me and it's impossible that I'll have that many years ahead of me. So there. I'm old. And I'm good with it. ;)
What I'm not good with is neglecting to pass on what I've learned. It doesn't mean I'm telling these young ladies, or anybody else in my life, how to live. Or what to do. It means I'm sharing experiences and insights. They can do with them what they will. Kick them to the curb. Take them in and apply them. Be bored by them. Or be entertained by them. Or all of the above. I respect whatever they choose to do with them. And that's not hard because they give me the one thing that triggers me - TRUST.
Because our trust is mutual, we listen to each other. Because I'm old, but vividly remember being young - and because I'm completely empathetic to young people and their challenges. I don't hold them accountable to how life was when I was young. These two young ladies have never lived in a pre-Internet world. Or pre-cell phone world. Their viewpoint is very different and I understand that. They know I understand it.
Nor am I romantic about the past. While I'm grateful to have been born in a time where I could see all the changes that have happened, I don't suffer "good 'ol days syndrome." Honestly, today is the best time ever to be alive. Mostly, because this is the time when we are alive.