Youth

The other day I was with a group of friends of my age (above 35). They started to ask me why I have seen them less and less lately and instead I prefer meeting young friends, less than 28 years old. I perceived a slight tone of mockery in their voices. “Don’t you think they don’t have much experiences to share? Don’t you think that conversations could be limited?”.

I felt a strong need to stand up for my young friends. I love young people. I work with young people. I am surrounded with young people. And I truly disagree with my friends.

We live now in a difficult period where unemployment rate gets higher each year. The world is not as sweet as in the 60s, I think. When we could leave the door unlock and nothing could happen. Or in the 70s, the whole hippy and peace period, when love was spread out everywhere. Nowadays young people get out of college and they are not sure to be able to find a decent job. I don’t say that they are more or less optimistic than older people. I think there are no major differences because of the age. It is not about the perception of life. I think we all perceive life and its difficulties in a similar way, young or old. No one is dupe. The difference is how young people deal with life once they see all the flaws and difficulties.

We, old people, are tired, our luggage we have carried through years gets heavier and heavier. Young people travel with a light suitcase. Few experiences. It is not about innocence or purity either because believe me, they are not. It is just the way they embrace life and how they get ready. There is a touch of adventurousness which amazes me each time.

It is their future that I like. I think I like being with them, accompanying them to see how they will turn out, what they would become one day. I think I like being this kind of observer. And I never underestimate the knowledge of kids nowadays. I always learn something new from them.

I like the way they tell me their hopes, their love stories, the way they live or experience sex. They can worry, they can be sad but never in the same way as people of my age. The possibilities of a better life are still with them. They don’t feel the need to stay in couple out of convenience. They don’t feel the need to cheat in couple, they just walk away when they fall out of love.

When I am with them, I see the world with their eyes. Things cannot be that dramatic because there are still so many years to live and many surprises to come. With my friends, we are like in a tunnel. We know that we had lived this or that. We get stuck with each other. We see each other’s situations and we don’t envy that. We are sad creatures talking about the same thing when we are together. I don’t deny them. I don’ want to be young forever either. It is just a feeling: with my young friends, I am a feather. Because my experiences never scare them away and they never judge any of my behaviors. With my friends, I am like a stone.

That was my clumsy way to explain and defend my young friends. I hope I did not hurt the older ones’ feelings. But they need to know. And maybe I am wrong and it is not an issue of age, but rather a question of personality. Maybe young people can be old and old people can stay young in their spirit. I cannot generalize and this is just a thought.

I share this because it is a beautiful sunny day and I will be heading to the lake to meet my young friends now.

Happy afternoon to all !

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