Do you think a twenty-something and a seventy-something,
for instance, share life lessons, questions and advice?
Last year, I did some reading about the oldest of old. What they lived, thought, and hoped for moving forward. It made me wonder about the recollections, lessons, and questions our older residents could pass along to the rest of us. What could we learn from, for instance, eighty plus years of living? Hoping to tap into the wisdom of the ages, I developed a list of more than sixty questions to pose to older people in my community.
And then I heard Amanda Gorman deliver her poignant inaugural poetry reading on January 20, 2021. Here was a twenty-something (twenty-two to be exact) with recollections, lessons, and questions.
The obvious occurred to me: We can receive wisdom from all age groupings.
Their perspectives may be the different. A vicenarian (people in their 20s) and a quinquagenarian (people in their 50s) may both experience a job loss but how is the perspective different? Is it different? Does three decades of separation create a different world view? Or six or seven decades? If it does, can we find lessons in that separation that speaks to us as common humanity?
And what about the denarians (10 to 19 year-olds)? They have learned lessons and they have questions. Don’t they have something to share in this conversation? I believe they do.
Life is Like a Round of Golf
The golfer starts at the 1st tee and she makes her way around the course encountering open fairways, sand traps, water hazards, trees and, depending on the location, perhaps an alligator or two. Each hole, obstacle, swing, success and challenge provides experience on which to draw for the next hole. While all eighteen holes occupy the same course, the experience from each hole brings about a different perspective for each hole to come. Finally, on the last hole, as the golfer walks the fairway toward the green, she has an entire round to reflect upon. When the ball drops in the cup, the match is over. The “19th hole” awaits in the clubhouse lounge. (Of course, we can take the metaphor further and compare “diverse” golf courses and clubhouses.)
For example sake, let’s say life expectancy in our nation comes in at roughly eighty years. Staying with our golfing metaphor, that means each hole equates to about 4.5 years. The golfer making the turn from the 9th green to the 10th tee has lived, (using these metrics), about 40 years. She is at midlife looking back and reflecting as she tees up the beginning of the back nine.
At this writing, I am sixty-eight years old. I’ve “played” about fifteen holes with three left before I exit to the “clubhouse.” My view will more than likely be different than those on different tees and greens who had different experiences or a better (or worse) set of clubs.
Regardless of where we are or where we are going, we have recollections, lessons, and questions.
And that is the point: Respect each group from the Denarians to the Supercentenarians for what it has to offer to the wisdom of our respective communities.
Next week I will share some wisdom from different generations. Do you think a twenty-something and a seventy-something, for instance, share life lessons, questions and advice?
You might be surprised.
Video recommendation for the Week:
An Andrew Zuckerman video in which various celebrities share what wisdom is and what it is not.
Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.
My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click here.
My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.
And you can still order:
- Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
- Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.
You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®