Musings of the Great Eric

Things I Hope I’ll Still Remember When I’m Older

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Simply, I don’t think old people are that great.

I won’t make any blanket statements about them, but let’s just say I’m skeptical of the notion that with age comes valuable experience and wisdom – there are a great many old people I’ve met for whom that’s simply not the case. (The halls of our nation’s capital are filled with old people after all, which in my mind puts to lie any notion that brains automatically come with age). Further, to put it bluntly, old people are a lot more likely to be bigoted, racist, prudish, and mentally stuck in some past era long after the rest of the world moved on.I’ve also found that old people have a uniquely patronizing attitude towards the young. And when I read articles like Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was Younger, they just sound patronizing. I’m sorry you didn’t get clued in when you were younger, but not all of us are that stupid.

So, rather than revere the above-linked revealed “wisdom” of old age, I thought it would be better to compile a list of advice to my future self – things that people too often seem to forget as they age.

Things I hope I’ll still remember when I’m older:

  • Kids aren’t stupid. Too often, adults assume that they are. They talk down to them, often confusing ignorance with idiocy. I should never, ever forget what it’s like to be a kid.
  • On a similar note, kids of the future will be better educated than me. They’ll learn things in grammar school that are entirely unknown to science today.
  • Old people are neither smart nor wise simply by virtue of being old. Wisdom only comes if I’m smart enough to learn from the experiences I’ve had; this is an active process I have to constantly engage myself in.
  • As a corollary to the above two points: Keep learning, keep adapting, and be willing to change as I get older.
  • In forty years, when someone invents a new disruptive technology on the scale of the PC or internet, I should do my best to learn to use it, rather than obstinately peck away at my antiquated system because it “works for me”. And when I do adopt this new technology, I should avoid pestering my grandkids about it because I’m too incompetent to figure out how it works by myself.
  • The quality of music did not peak when I was in my 20’s.
  • Much of what I believe today is probably wrong. Much of what I’ll believe in my 30’s will probably be wrong. Much of what I’ll believe in my 70’s will probably be wrong. It’s likely that at no point in my life will I ever really know “the truth”, let alone have a monopoly on it. I should never be afraid to admit that long held beliefs were and are wrong.
  • Cultural change should not frighten me – my attitude should be one of tolerance and respect, and I should be glad for the increased freedom that all people have to be the person they want to be.
  • The way young people dress, the music they listen to, and the way they talk is not a personal insult to me, and these things have nothing to do with “showing respect”.
  • And on respect, elders should not be respected because they’re elders. Elders should only be respected when they’ve earned it from the people they’re seeking respect from.
  • My waistline is not above my belly button, and consequently there’s no reason for my pants to go up that high.
  • Absent some major medical advances made in the next 40 years, there will come a point in my life where my hearing, vision, and reflexes have deteriorated to such an extent that I can no longer safely operate a motor vehicle. I should not arrogantly insist on doing things that are beyond my physical ability to do safely.
  • Related to that, my medical conditions are not interesting. Unless I’m dying, no one cares what the Doctor says about my bodily discharges.
  • And finally, most importantly, my lawn is a great place for kids to play.
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Written by Eric

August 3, 2007 at 8:00 am

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