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Idealism and Optimism: First Victims of Aging
In My Opinion...
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 • Posted October 19, 2011

Remember when we were all young and believed anything was possible? When we looked to the future, we felt that the world was ours for the taking, and there was little we could not do.As we grow older, we have successes and failures in our lives, and that begins to color all that we do. Our new choices, and the decisions we make, are all part of how we have come to view life. Unfortunately, the failures and losses we've encountered begin to change us for the worst.We start to realize that not everyone is good. We stop believing in the best of people, and begin to expect the least of them. I had a conversation with a friend the other day and she had just realized that she now viewed many people just as had her parents. When she was young, she was angry with her parents for advising her against keeping company with some people, thinking they were not giving her friends credit for their good intentions and potential. Now, as a parent herself, she had begun to see that some patterns repeated from generation to generation, and she understood that, perhaps, her parents had made the right choices - the same choices she was now making when it came to the friendships her own children were forming.This is the way that "growing up" happens. We, quite literally, become our parents as we mature. We contain all the good and bad they gave to us, with some minor variations that we've picked up along the way. Unfortunately, one of the things that we commonly "inherit" from them are their suspicions, their prejudices and their fears. It is this generational "gift" that makes us a unique culture. It is what differentiates us from people in neighboring communities and neighboring counties. It is what makes us so very different from people in other states and other countries.And yet, I can't help but know there is still reason for optimism.I have seen families that were once enemies joined in matrimony. I have watched as old grievances are laid aside in order to forge new alliances. And, I have enjoyed watching the new generations as they navigate love, work and recreation, and they make some astoundingly good choices.The wish of every generation is that they will leave their descendants better off than before. Whether it is in material goods, enlightened attitudes, better living conditions,,, the wish is to leave things better than we found them.We, the generation that is growing older as we tend to the world, don't always make the right choices or the right decisions. But, we do our very best to provide a better world than we had. We want to make tomorrow better than today!We can regain our optimism and our idealism. If we remember to look at every decision we make, every choice we make, every move we make, and to remember that it is for "them" that we do all of it, we will have reason to be upbeat about tomorrow.And, sometimes, we can even be more upbeat about today!It’s all just my opinion.

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