The wise and witty Mark Twain once said, “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.”
Right on, brother.
I was born in the early 1960s, one of the last of the baby boomer generation. I’m approaching—at warp speed, it seems—the final third of my life. According to my charming children, I’m older than dirt, hopelessly out of touch, seriously uncool—in short, some prehistoric creature who obviously knows nothing about life, school, friends, homework, life, technology, nutrition, integrity, fairness, life, etc.
Did I mention I know absolutely nothing about life? Because I’ve been on the planet for only, like, half a century. But, still, I’m clueless.
OK, so I don’t “get” most of the technology out there. I own exactly one rather old television, one desktop computer, and none of the following: DVD player, Blu-ray player, Kindle, Nook, laptop, iPhone, iPad, iPod, or anything else that begins with a lowercase I. A couple of years ago, my son Jake asked an average of once a day if I would buy him a laptop and/or an iPhone. Each time, I quickly responded, “Dude, I don’t even have a laptop and/or an iPhone!”
Sometimes my children say very sarcastic things like, “Gee, Mom, did they even have TVs when you were a kid?” and I respond with raised eyebrows, accompanied by “the look” and an equally pointed barb, such as “Yes, and we actually had to get up off the couch and walk on our legs to the TV to change the channel. And we got a whopping seven channels, all in glorious black and white. And we usually had to make physical contact with the antenna on top of the TV to make it work.”
I digress. The point is that they’ll always know more about some things than I will, and I’ll always know more about other things because I was there and lived it. Nyah, nyah!
I know, of course, that I should at least make an effort to keep up with all things technological so I’m not left sitting in the dust thirty years from now, wondering why I can’t send a simple e-mail while my grandchildren are busy sending e-thoughts. But, you know, I’d rather not. Keep up, that is. At least, not any more than I absolutely have to. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Yup, I’m a dinosaur, and a very happy one at that.
I sincerely enjoy and look forward to simple things: settling down in the evening with the newest issue of my favorite (paper) magazine or a quaint old (paper) children’s book I picked up at the Goodwill bookstore; sipping a delicious caffé mocha; meeting friends for lunch; watching a movie with my boys, a big bowl of popcorn propped nearby, and not caring about the mess they’re making on the coffee table because someday I’ll miss both them and their mess.
Truth is, I know a lot more about life now than I did at twenty or thirty or even forty. I know how not to hold a grudge, how not to worry about every little thing, how not to sweat the small stuff, which is all, by definition, small stuff.
I can enjoy the peace, patience, and perspective that come only with age. I live every day with a sense of calm, a sense that everything will be OK, and, even if it’s not, that I’ll be able to handle it. If only I had been born with this hard-won wisdom.
Good old Sam Clemens would certainly agree. And he didn’t have an iPhone either.