To everyone who to deal with me with I was young, I offer my condolences. I was so sure I knew what was going on. I was confident in my abilities to see the risks and pitfalls. I had no doubt that my approach to a given problem (any) would work. If not, I knew I could work my way through it. Goals would be met. Deliverables would be on time. Budget always delivered with a bit to spare.
I see variations of my younger self. I love the energy. I admire the confidence. There is a dark side. One looks through a lens at life with the knowledge of risks that do become real. One knows that bad things happen, even to the innocent. One understands that effort is not always enough. You can work as hard as you can and still lose. Others may be stronger, faster, smarter, and lucky.
There are two reminders that haunt me.
The first is the responsibility that comes with age. A friend says that nobody should write a movie until they are at least thirty-five. “Until then, there is nothing worth saying.” I find myself agreeing with his view. Yet, when one comes of age, what does one do with one’s insight? Is it used for good or merely for self?
The second is the insight of knowing what can and does happen. As a seasoned traveler, one pays attention to the words of others that speak from experience. When “Paul warned, ‘I see only disaster ahead for cargo and ship—to say nothing of our lives!—if we put out to sea now.’” (Acts 27.10) Yet, the question comes again; what does one do with one’s insight?
I offer the following suggestions.
Live and learn the lessons that come with age.
Be cautious in offering your experiences to others. Others may not be ready for your insights.
When asked, or in the grip of conviction, respond with compassionate guidance. At its best, it is merely a gift. In giving it to another, release it to be embraced or rejected.