Several of the young people I worked with and taught in New York City are now major talents in their field – starring in Broadway shows, television actors, even a film star and presenter at the Academy Awards this year. I’ve had my time, and now it’s their turn. I enjoy talking with them now and then. I am thrilled by their success. It gives me pleasure to stand back, watch, and know I might have influenced them somehow.
I’m happy to now step aside, enjoy my new life, dig in the dirt, and keep my mouth shut unless asked. Younger folks must be allowed to do things their own way, I believe.
I am in my early 40s, and “my kids” are now in their 20s and early 30s. Of course, being still at least somewhat youngish myself, I have elders too. And, a few of them are far less than gracious about letting the younger be younger. It’s a conundrum, and a fascinating lesson. And it drives me nuts.
One local elder has a comment for every project I start. Always. It starts with, “If you want to do that like the Adirondackers do …” Besides that, he complains constantly. This is a person who does not garden, and would never attempt half the things I have. So I now completely avoid him. Another older neighbor refuses to recognize the fact that I have my own plans, and a way I like to do things.
This person walks up to me and directly criticizes whatever I am doing at that specific moment. Frequently. The lack of self-awareness is amazing. If I am raking, there is some sort of “I don’t know why you’re bothering to do that” comment. If I am watering, there’s a comment about possible showers. If I am moving dirt and rubble to one place, I should be moving it somewhere else. If I am working outside, I should be thinking about building a house, not planting a tree. (These are actual examples.) And so, I have started to avoid him.
I don’t want to go out of my way to avoid people, but this whole digging-and-ripping-and-tearing-and-creating thing is fun for me. I won’t have it ruined. I begin to understand why a lot of folks around here keep pretty much to themselves. Nice folks too. It’s a real thing around here – gossip and unwanted advice. Get a load of this one straight from the local rumor mill – A good friend of mine had an operation for a spine accident. He’s very tall. He fell while on a boat. By the time the local grapevine was done with it, he had purportedly undergone a “spine reduction” operation because his extreme height was unhealthy. (I’m not kidding.)
I suppose it comes down to folks getting a little older, maybe feeling a little obsolete as the village gets younger, and not knowing any better than to stick their nose in where it doesn’t belong. However, I also recall an expression about cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face.