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wundayatta's avatar

How well do you remember what it was like to be young?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) September 18th, 2012

So for me, the young I’m referring to is teens and early twenties. For me, it was the time of the most turmoil and difficulties finding jobs and love and apartments and getting through school and all that. It was a time of great change.

I feel like all my life I’ve not wanted to forget the time because there was so much change and I didn’t want to become one of those old fogies who didn’t seem to understand. So even though the specifics are largely gone, I still remember the feeling and the energy and fear and excitement that drove me.

I have tried to cultivate a sympathy for young people by not forgetting. I think that a lot of older people have trouble relating to young people because they forgot. They don’t remember why they were rebellious or tried new things. They don’t remember why their parent’s instructions seemed so irrelevant.

I want my advice about youth to come from those memories. Maybe other people think it isn’t necessary. Maybe people think we should use our experience to tell young people what to do, and they should just listen to us because we’re older and more experienced.

Where does your advice come from? Do you find yourself just telling people what you think is right or wrong? Do you ever try to show people that you remember what it was like to be in their shoes? Is that necessary? Or does it hurt your chances of being taken seriously?

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9 Answers

DrBill's avatar

I have been passing on knowledge most of my life as a teacher. But it does little good as most young people already know everything

picante's avatar

It’s important to embrace the perspective of others in all cases, and since we have actual experience as a young(er) person, we should be able to relate, empathize, and communicate from a common view. We have shared many of the same pressures, insecurities, worries, fears, excitement, surprise and wonderfment, and I think finding a common “story” around those experiences is important in making a connection.

In my profession, I am the old fogie. At least I’m older than many. But my fogieness is mitigated by my ability to communicate experiences that are relevant to younger generations and professionals who are working up the career ladder. I think this view supports my credibility.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

My grandma’s good advice that she gave me when I was young, has kept coming back to me through my whole life. I am sure she thought I wasn’t listening. Actually, I thought I wasn’t listening! She used to say, “you can’t put an old head on young shoulders.” I didn’t really know what that meant until my own kids were in their teens and 20’s. Now I get it. You can give your kids advice but not experience. However, give them all the advice you can, because at some point in their life, they are going to remember what you said.

Sunny2's avatar

I could write a book, but when giving advice, I try to remember that that was then and this is now. So many things are no longer relevant.

YARNLADY's avatar

I believe I remember it quite well, but I’ve read that we remember what we want to think, not necessarily what actually happened. for me, it was over a half century ago, so my memories are probably tainted.

rooeytoo's avatar

I remember quite well (at least I thought I did until I read @YARNLADY ‘s response above!!!). It was all that you said but a wonderful time as well. The thrill of getting away from home, out from under my parents roof. The agony of scraping together enough money for rent or groceries. The headiness of knowing all the answers, the lessons that taught me I didn’t have a clue most of the time. I can remember all the crumby but wonderful apartments I had in different cities, going to new schools, new people, crazy people. But it seems to me the main difference is that it was all primarily self subsidized. I didn’t expect anyone or anything to support me. It was my game. I loved the working and studying, well I hated school and studying but I did it anyhow cuz I wanted to make big bucks and save the world. I didn’t believe they were mutually exclusive. Hmmmm, maybe there isn’t that much difference between me and them, except respect for authority, but then again, there were the protest marches and sit ins, hmmmmmm…...........

wundayatta's avatar

You had me until the end there, @rooeytoo. So, are you saying the protests and whatnot are or are not different from you now?

Shippy's avatar

My youth wasn’t great, but I do miss it.

rooeytoo's avatar

I still protest but the targets and object of my protesting have changed as I have aged. So same me just different outlook. But I am still thinking about the whole thing. It has created food for thought in my head!

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