Another little piece from the back catalogue, I never had the nerve to post. To avoid confusing family members, I should point out that I wrote this piece back in 2013. I think the moral is still a good one though..
There is an episode of Star Trek – The Next Generation, that quite nicely illustrates the point I want to make today. I forget the exact details, (I’m not that much of a nerd) but the general thrust was that Captain Picard was gravely injured due to some energy burst or other, effecting his artificial heart. He was given the chance to go back in time to his young cadet days, when he lost his original heart in a bar fight, to change his past and therefore survive in the future. Anyway, he goes back and instead of behaving like a rash, arrogant and thoughtless teenager he acts like a responsible senior officer; with caution, diplomacy and hesitation. Consequently he loses all his friends and when returned to the future finds he is a lowly minor officer with no responsibility and years of bland service.
Still with me? The moral of the story is that without the rashness, arrogance and stupidity of youth he never would have become the bald legend he did. I recently attended a 21st birthday for my nephew, one of those family affairs that features a guest list aged from 6 to 70.. There sat in the corner a little gaggle of teenagers, 16/17 year olds, giggling and gossiping and being impossibly young. We smirked and tutted at how they dressed, we rolled our eyes at their pretension and we frowned at their almost concealed contempt at the opinions and knowledge of old farts like us. Okay I’m being unfair, they were all a nice bunch of guys and once I started playing the fool with my own brand of comedy karaoke and Dad Dancing, giving them a legitimate grown up target to openly laugh at, they opened up and chatted with the rest of us nicely.
It is an oft repeated axiom that ‘youth is wasted on the young’. I suggest that this is Grade A bull-chunks. I’ll admit I envy their vigour, it would be great to spend an evening partying, get two hours sleep and be as fresh as a daisy the next morning. It would be great to get out of a chair without an involuntary groan. It would be so refreshing not to look in the mirror and spot a new batch of grey hairs sprouting (usually from somewhere hair has no place growing at all).
But think back to those days just before you reached legal maturity. You’ve no money (Okay, bad example, I’ve got no money now either) Everything you do is still governed by parents, teachers and bosses, if you are lucky enough to have some terribly paid job somewhere. You’re old enough to have formed your own opinions and beliefs, but every adult around you instead tells you what your opinions should be or accuses you of being naive. Naivety is a harsh accusation; it suggests lack of experience which by definition the young have not yet got.
And that leads me to my final point. Think back to the heartaches, the worries you had then. Sure, in hindsight, they don’t amount to a hill’o beans but they felt like they did. Think of all the harsh life lessons they have to go through in the years too come, the disappointments of adult life, the stresses of learning who they are, getting together and breaking up, leaving home and standing on their own two feet. Would you really want to go through all that again and not end up as a dull Captain Pickard figure?
Let them have their youth, it’s a fair trade for the crap they’ve got coming.