If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watching Grown-Ups Grow Up

The other day I wrote about how nice it was to spend time with my family's younger generation.  It is an amazing thing to see people you've known since Day One (people who's diapers you've literally changed) as their grown-up selves.  When they're little you know the day will come eventually but it is a different thing entirely when it is today.

Since moving here, b and I have developed close relationships with members of SouthLite's younger generation.  These are people we have only known as their grown-up selves but they are at a point in their lives where a lot happens that matures you.  It is a very different (and special) thing to see these grown-ups, grow up.

In the past five years our friends and mentees have: gotten engaged, gotten married, had babies; started their first job; graduated college, started graduate school, and graduated graduate school. While these are all positive events, some have also dealt with (or are dealing with) tragedy: break-ups and the death of a parent being the most common.

There is a great deal of stress and uncertainty in the young adult years.  One of the benefits of aging is that those years are behind you.  Life may still be difficult but you've dealt with it before.  You've handled the stress of newness; of different; of grief and lived through it.  You have a confidence in your forties that you can't really imagine in your twenties.

Many of say we would never go back.  I certainly would never want to be younger than 30 and most days wouldn't leave my forties.  However another joy of aging is watching, supporting, and assisting (when asked) those who are living through it all for the first time.  The mentor-friend is a role I've come to cherish.

I enjoy our adopted group of twenty-somethings very much.  I admire them for their humor, good nature, and perseverance.  I am proud of them.  I hope one day to sit around a table, sharing a glass of wine, and experiencing them in their forties.

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