Remembering the times when as a teen , young adult and a new mom, I used to hear older people talk about how they know better because of the sheer number of years they had lived more than me. It used to infuriate me a little too much. What can a young person say in defence to someone’s grey hair ?
While growing up, my home used to turn into a battle ground sometimes. Voice of youth is shriller, more arrogant and supposedly more surer. So whenever there was an argument -there was only one winner and that was me. Looking back I realise, my parents didn’t seem to want to win the battles , instead always had a smile on their faces and calm in their eyes. I DIDN’T REALISE then that they always had an upper hand in our arguments because they unlike me had experienced youth and crossed over to another stage of life.
Got thinking about this today after so long and God am I amused? With many grey strands desperately trying to peep out, I am not young anymore. How much ever we middle aged people tell ourselves that age is just a number… we are getting older. Our society teaches us to compare often and use positive or negative adjectives like young is great,old is not, fat is bad and thin is good. But I am old and insist I am good too.
Why the philosophical rant today? I am here at my son’s college..came to settle him in his apartment. Second year college, he has settled well, found the balance and all is going good. He and me have come a long way in understanding how futile our arguments were an year ago. The battle of experience and youth has come to a consensus… it’s a tie as we both have what the other doesn’t. And nothing is more important than the other.
Last year was full of anxiety as my experienced self knew this won’t be easy but my young adult had confidence in his youth. I remember after endlessly ranting a very long list of advice and instructions, my son asked me this, ” How can you say all this will be a problem and what I should do or not do, if you have never studied in America, away from home in this particular university?” I stopped dead in my tracks and shook myself up to the reality of what he said to me. Because what he said was true, but what was also true that experience told me to keep quiet and stay close emotionally because something that young people think is easy peasy… is the one that makes them learn nothing can’t be taken for granted. AND THEN THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT EXPERIENCE MEANS AND HOW IT HELPS.
Second year and I am back here again, looking at many anxious parents giving a long list of instructions and telling their experiences to their freshmen and freshwomen here. Me & my Son, we are looking around and finding it difficult to dig our smiles because we know their battles have just begun and ours are almost over.
I understand now that my experience knows a little better but not everything as circumstances, places and ideas are all different in this new world. Also since my son is born in a different era, my experience cannot help as much as I thought. He has to make his own experiences count. And I accept that I don’t know more because I am older.
He understands that just confidence doesn’t do it, it’s the insights he carries forward of both good and not so good experiences that matter. And Mom is sometimes right if not all the time in a few points on that old instruction list she ranted millions of times.
With Love from a Middle Age Mom, who is happily growing old, BECAUSE OLD IS GOOD- no exams , no running , no self consciousness, no proving to someone my worth anymore and yes loads and loads of experience!