Younger

October 11, 2016

 

I wish I were younger, but not for the typical reasons.

Most people want to be younger because when they were younger they were thinner, had more energy and fewer aches and pains, and were more attractive to members of the opposite sex. I don't care about any of that. Okay, I do, but that's not the reason I want to be younger.

I want to be younger because way back then, I knew everything. Today I find that I don't really know much of anything. When I look back on some of the things I thought and believed, I ask myself, “What the hell were you thinking”? I want to be younger so I can know everything again.

When I was in college, I had all the academic credentials. Top of my class in high school, valedictorian, National Honor Society, member of Mensa—I had some serious horsepower. Worse than that, I was so smart that I never realized how stupid I really was.

Let's take Mensa for example. For those who don't know, Mensa is an organization for people with an IQ in the top 2 percent of the population. I thought that actually meant something. The only thing I've learned about Mensans is that a Mensan can do stupid things faster than normal people. Yup. That's me, all right.

There are very few people more arrogant than a college student who thinks he knows how the world works. I know; I was one of them. A college student is like a chocolate cake—the cake isn't ready until the timer goes off. A college student isn’t fully baked until they're at least 25. Some cakes take even longer.

Back then, if you asked me about politics, or about any problem in the entire world, I could give you the answer. I knew how to take care it. Why can't other people see how easy these things are to fix? I thought. Am I the only one who has these things figured out? Why doesn't everyone just listen to me?

I never fully realized that, because I was only in my early twenties, I hadn't yet developed the ability to see around corners. I could only see straight ahead, and that's only good if you're a horse with blinders on. Now, after raising two daughters and two stepsons, I've seen and listened to lots of young people. I envy their incredible naiveté, and the fact that they have no idea why I'm shaking my head when they talk.

It frightens me that anyone under 25 can vote. I'm still not entirely sure that I'm mature enough to vote, and I'm way ahead of this group. Not a single young person that I have spoken with has been able to give me a reasonable explanation of why they support this candidate or that candidate. They really don't know why. They're not alone in this; most people can't explain why they support someone in any way that makes a lick of sense.

This is why I want to be younger, so I can be smart again and utterly convinced of my own infallibility.

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