The Perspicacity of Aging
The Perspicacity of Aging
It drives the youngsters up the wall when anyone “over a certain age” intimates that perhaps they have a better and more far-sighted view of a situation because they have “been around for a while.” With a shrug of shoulders, a set of rolled eyes and a facial expression like a strained bowel movement, the younger people listen but do not hear what you have to say.
No one, younger than fifty, wants to admit that, by hanging around the planet for a few score of years, you develop a better and more informed view of life’s vicissitudes. In fact, it does. I don’t think in any way that getting older makes you smarter. I am certainly dissuaded of that notion every night while watching the quiz show “Jeopardy” on television. I can’t come up with an answer, to the profferred questions, even half as faster as these whizz kids can. But, aging does give you insights into human situations that recur continually.
The famed Greek Playwright, Euripides, was once said to have claimed that there that are only twelve original life dramas. Everything else is a variation on a theme. Even in modern times, you have but to think back over television, and movie subjects to realize how often remakes occur. These, or other subtle variations on a n already produced and successful production, make up most of the thematic array in filmdom.
It is so too with life. Being alive, for a few score of years, means that you have already viewed any of these twelve original plots, referenced by Euripides, several times in your own experience. I liken it to taking a friend to a favored opera or theatrical production, one that you have already attended ten or eleven times. There is a pretty good chance that you will be able to recognize certain major character types and predict plot actions a few acts before your first-time attendee. It doesn’t mean you are any smarter, just that you have “seen this all before.” Currently, Farmers Insurance company has a long- time television commercial running, whose theme is that “they have seen a few things” and covered them over the years, so they know better what they are doing, business wise.
The only applicable caveat to this notion is an even stronger one that says “no one likes a know it all.” So, even if you see a life situation, and know what the probable outcome of the drama will be, perhaps it might be wiser to just dummy up and let things play out for themselves.
Younger people treasure the wisdom of life experiences that they have lived through themselves. So even though you know better, save yourself the rolled eyes and exasperated grimace of the younger set, and let them find things out for themselves. Besides, after a certain age, you can’t remember the answer to the question anyways.
Joseph Xavier Martin