There were a few times in my adolescence when my mother told me that one day I would have a teenager who did to me the things I did to her. I wasn’t awful, but I did those things that wear on a parent’s patience like being disrespectful, making messes and leaving them for others to clean up and generally being too self absorbed to realize how my actions effected others. I did them all, and I did them pretty well, I think. Perhaps my mom will comment below with her fond memories of a younger me.
I thought I’d have years and years to go before I actually had to deal with that myself but that day has suddenly pounced on me and wow is retribution sweet for my mom.
This week we have 2 teenagers visiting us in sunny Southern California, one our niece and the other her friend. All of a sudden I am that adult sitting at the mall waiting for kids to finish shopping. I am that person at the restaurant table trying to make conversation with kids who choose not to interact with those in close physical proximity in favor of texting people not present. I am the person who cleans pennies and hair pins and general whatnot out of my sink and shower every day before I can use them.
Having this experience is not the birth control it would have been for me a few years ago. Now it’s another experience that makes me realize that I’m not the kid I once was, I’m not the young adult I’ve been, I’ve reached the next level of life. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, this getting older and, hopefully, wiser. It makes me think of my Grandpa’s recent birthday party, the one at which we celebrated his big 9-0.
If you knew my grandpa you’d know what a special person he is, easy going and wise, but very quietly so. Every year on his birthday everyone wants to hear what words of wisdom he has to bestow on those of us younger than he is.
He doesn’t give a lot of advice and I haven’t asked him why, but I kind of think the reason is because he feels that everyone’s experience in life is going to be different so what he has learned on his journey may not apply to others.
I think that makes a lot of sense but I also think that there are many things in life that happen to all of us. We all have childhoods then go through that teenage period and most of us also get to face the other side of that coin as the parents of teens.
My Grandpa has seen a lot and he’s been through more than I ever will ever know, but he hasn’t done and seen some of the things I have and I may be a ways behind him but I’m amassing my own wisdom (At least I like to think I am). I’m starting to think that maybe sharing it is a bit of a conceit that serves mainly to validate the uniqueness of our life experiences. Perhaps we should keep it to ourselves and let everyone find their own wisdom.
No way to find out for sure but to get there. I’ll let you know what I find out… or maybe I won’t.