Follow me. Way back. We’re 19 again. More hair, smaller jeans, focused squarely on what was happening Friday and Saturday night. If you can’t exactly remember 19, it might be due to those Friday and Saturday nights.
We’re 19 again. Remember making that one decision that would determine the path of your professional life? The decision that would put you in just the right place at just the right time to meet just the right people to secure just the right trappings of your current life? ‘Member that? Do ya?
My daughters are hovering around that confusing, foggy, delerious stage in life where we congratulate them on the accomplishments of their childhood and adolescence, then toss them into a world that demands they know their purpose in life and the professional pursuits that will help them realize their full potential. Thanks for that ass-kicking transition, Life. And now that the cost of a college degree is more than the mortgage on my first house, there is no room for error, for exploration, for dropping a toe in the water before making very mature, very business-like, very financially chilling commitments.
There’s a lot of uncertainty at 19, but also infinite potential. There’s a clean slate, few commitments, and the flexibility to bounce back from a hesitation, a misstep, a change of direction. I don’t envy young adults today. Our society places far too many expectations on those who simply are not prepared for making gut-twisting decisions.
The guidance we give our children leading up to this point in their life will help them through the fog. At 19, the basis of character and values are being formed, but a struggle exists between what is perceived to be life's purpose and the reality of what awaits – making ends meet.
So, my dears, the best I can offer you is the wisdom of 51, shaped gradually by the lessons of past mistakes, misdirections and general malfeasance. This is but one of many moments that will confound you. Use your intellect, rely on your best judgement, search your soul, then take that next step. Don’t worry, you’ll stumble. But at 51, hopefully you can look back with the satisfaction of leading a life full of thrills, laughs and achievements, knowing that you were brave enough to take that first step into the unknown.
September 26, 2015