Did you want to be around older people when you were younger, rather than your peers? What about as an adult?
There’s an ancient common belief that older people are wiser; as much as this depends on the case, it is often true. However, when we are growing up, the wish to make friends with people who are older than us doesn’t necessarily come from the ‘search for wisdom’.
It comes from wanting to appear cooler, and perhaps know something more, because you already feel what your peers do. You’re interested in something more, even if the motives for doing so feel superficial (being cooler than your friends). The underlying reasons are always there: curiosity and the desire to learn something new, disguised as wanting to appear grown up.
‘Search for Wisdom’
What happens when you do grow up though? Do you still look up to older, therefore wiser people in the search for more?
My father has always been an eccentric, but most definitely an interesting person to observe. On one hand, he exhibits certain conservative stands, but on the other he’s a big cosmopolitan and liberal.
While all his peers and even those younger than him refused to have anything to do with the computer era, he was the first in the family (even before me as his third daughter) to have a computer and learn how to use all kinds of programs, from simple Microsoft Office ones to complex drawing ones like AutoCAD, without tutoring. This may not be surprising, but the fascinating fact is that he doesn’t know a word of English, so he must have pressed on all the buttons thousands of times in order to find what he was looking for and see a pattern.
Years ago, he started hanging around with young people, some even my age, almost 30 years younger. They’re his new friends, discussing all sorts of things, from love and life problems to politics, culture, science and art. Often they come to him for advice. At first, I couldn’t understand his behaviour, thinking he only wanted company for a few drinks and someone to lecture. As time passed, I started to see that as much as they’re learning from him, he’s doing so too. And this was admirable. While others resisted change and treated youth no more than children, he was there with them, shoulder to shoulder.
One generation is substituted by another and another indefinitely, but on our path of getting older, things change. What me and my friends were doing in high-school is no longer popular and only by fully engrossing yourself in the ‘new environment’ can you understand the development and put on a fresh perspective.
Looking ahead is always recommended, but looking behind is as much important. The ‘new’ and ‘more’ is on both sides, so make sure to look in two directions on your ‘search for wisdom’.
Did you look up to older friends? Have you had an experience when a younger person has taught you something? Share in the comments.