My involvement in youth today has been reduced to a spectator sport. So many years have passed since I was one that it seems kind of speculative that I was ever in the game. When I think back to those days and the things I did that seemed so right at the time, I often come away with the same question. What The Hell Was I Thinking!!!
When you are young it seems, you are Teflon. Nothing sticks to you. Everything is open to exploration without reservation. Act first and think later. Taste everything, without any real regard for possible consequences. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it doesn’t deter you from trying whatever the next thing is that catches your interest.
I guess in it’s own way, this is part of our preparation for adulthood. Choices are not the sole domain of the young. Once we sign in and begin life, everything suddenly is subject to exploration and discovery. I think the only thing that changes is that the cocktail of the adult is mixed with a shot of discretion, to be sipped as opposed to gulped.
I have, however, come to realize that ‘older’ and ‘wiser’, are not necessarily joined at the hip. Some of the things I have done, said, or believed throughout my life have left something to be desired. And in retrospect, in their own ways, were as free from serious thought as some from my youth.
The thing I find most interesting, and amusing, is that regardless of the decade, I did these things without fear. They apparently seemed so inherently logical at the time that to not do, say, or think them would have been scary. I have often heard it said “someday we will look back at this and laugh.” In many cases, I can do that now, as the danger has passed. I also don’t kid myself that I have many marginal decisions still to make, and have no reason to believe they will all be right. But in making them, I have learned to consider one thing. You only have one chance, but you always have two choices.
From the archives 2014