Commented to several friends recently that it feels like an awful lot of this time of life – I’m guessing 25-45 – is waiting. We’ve invested in skills, other people, competitions, advertising our abilities and accomplishments, etc. And yet for a lot of us success hasn’t come, at least not the way we hoped. Some of us are fighting with work environments that seem to get pettier and stupider. Some of us are fighting with bills that don’t seem to get any smaller no matter how many payments are made. And all of us are looking for the most basic recognition that we’ve done something already that’s a bit more than you can ever put on paper.
Occasionally there are extended whines in select media outlets about how everyone is an adolescent and adolescence never really existed until the 20th c. and no one grows up anymore. I hate reading that junk; there’s a way to distinguish between “needs to grow up a bit more” and “perpetually immature.” The former means that we can recognize quite a lot we would call maturity. We can see young people trying to be better for themselves and others. Why on earth would anyone want to put that down by indulging in stereotypes like men playing video games all the time? (I should note that there are quite a few who do, to the detriment of everything – and everyone – else). And I don’t even want to get into the stereotypes that dominate the perception of women.
There’s a number of areas where we can do better. We can have a more robust sense of what is “public” and not reduce every issue to our personal desires. We can say “thank you” more, a lot more. We can read, listen and speak better and not be taken in by shiny, ostentatious rewards and titles. We can give real compliments and real help when it is needed, not after the fact.
And let’s add one more thing to that list: we can let people grow, and maybe even just wait a little bit longer for the success we need and want. I’ve been frustrated recently, make no mistake. It didn’t take me long to realize everyone else is frustrated, too – young and old, male and female, successful and non-successful. It isn’t because we’re ungrateful (that’s true too, but that’s another story). It’s because a better world starts with a common recognition that we’re all in this together. I can wait a little bit longer for people to realize what’s important.