The 20s vs. the 40s and 50s

14 Oct

I enjoyed my 20s when I was in my 20s. Those days were a lot of fun—then. But I wouldn’t want to be at that age now, knowing what I know now, I told a neighbor friend as we discussed the subject of 40 and 50 year-olds engaging in behaviors that we or those we knew had engaged in over 20 years ago.

Balking at the thought, I said I can’t believe that adults in this age group still acted in the same irresponsible reckless way some of us did at the time. When we were in our 20s, we were either in school or finishing school. We weren’t concerned with bills or too seriously worried about our futures. We partied hard every weekend, Friday and Saturday night through Sunday mornings. We’d be headed home when folks were on their way to church. I remember the rays glaring down so strongly sometimes, it seemed as though God was scolding us.

Naturally, we felt a little guilt but we were living out our youth, celebrating coming of age by hanging out and participating in recreational activities like many other young adults in the mid to late 80s. Living la vida loca! Before the advent of Crack became an epidemic and ruined it ALL! Then it no longer was fun to be young and adventurous. That should have been enough to scare anybody straight. It was a real wakeup call!

When you get older you may not get wiser but you get more mature, and hopefully, smarter and eventually tire of it. Essentially, you want to progress not regress. Some people made ill-advised decisions and others encountered bad breaks, which set them back. In any event, Oprah often quotes Maya Angelou when she says, “When you know better, you do better.”

So you can’t blame middle-age misbehavin’ on post-youthful indiscretions, because we’ve been there and done that. And I repeat it was fun—then. But with age you acquire responsibilities, many in fact you may not have even foreseen. You realize your life has to move forward in order to meet them, I reiterated.

In conclusion I told this neighbor I would not want to be doing at 40 or 50, what I did in my 20s. That, Oprah, I know for sure.

p.s.  As you relate to young people, remember when you were their age…


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