As we age, certain things fade from our consciousness, out of necessity or because we’re no longer interested. For instance, when was the last time you could name, let alone hum the tune to, any songs on the Top Ten Billboards? I can’t now nor have I been able to do that in several years. I haven’t found the time or energy to keep up with current music and, as such, never watch the American Music Awards when they’re broadcast in the fall. But I am interested in trends, including music trends. When everyone on my MSN Home Page or Facebook is raving about Taylor Swift’s new song, “Me,” I wonder what I’m missing.
Energy that we used to have to practice body rolls, or other cool looking hip hop moves, has been replaced by making sure we stay upright in our everyday lives without tripping or falling, which could kill us! In spite of being interested in trends, I don’t have the inclination to stay super current with my wardrobe, or home decorations, or hairstyle, or a myriad of other sociocultural aspects of life.
I DO save time and energy for continuing to learn in general. I love all things documentary, and nonfiction is my go-to reading material. In this way I’m very interested in holding on to my curiosity. I don’t want to be the curmudgeon who says, “Uber? What is that?” I want to know why millennials aren’t buying homes or attending church, even though that knowledge doesn’t directly affect me.
Thank goodness there is a solution to wanting to be somewhat hip (for myself and, obviously, for appearances sake – ha!), and that solution is young people!
John Waters refers to them as “youth spies.” If you’re still interested in life, you’ll appreciate that young people can keep us abreast of new music or the latest in culinary trends or fashion or snake charming – or anything! We don’t have to take a full-on course or read a dissertation-sized diatribe on the subject. Enjoying a lunch or a cup of coffee or a glass of wine is all the time it takes to get an infusion into the latest art, food, and weird and kinky stuff in general (if that interests you).
Elders have been known to spend a ton of time criticizing the youth of today: they’re unfocused and apathetic or lazy and bored. They don’t care about us or our concerns, so forget ‘em! In fact, it would behoove us more to cultivate friendships with those who DO have the energy, time, and interest for the revolutions of the future.
I’m interested in being a curious elder, someone who wants to continue to learn and grow as I age, and someone who is, for the most part, interested in what young people are up to. I’m not interested in judging them; I’m interested in learning from them.
The younger people who are currently our leaders, our doctors, teachers, parents, and family members will do the work for us. We just have to 1) cultivate the attitude that today’s youth are alright, 2) celebrate our relationships with them, and 3) hold on to your curiosity.