Youth and Age

Are the blanket statements of youth more honest?

As we start to consider others and worry how our opinions impact on people, do we lessen the veracity of our words?

Integrity has to be a shifting goalpost because we set these rules on concrete, and then we learn more and we redraw the maps. Or we don’t, and we get lost.

There are landmarks that tell you that you are in the same area, but sometimes the lay of the land is very different. Adult life, as compared to youth, seems often riddled with holes in the way swiss cheese is, or something built atop a network of mines. It’s a perceptual problem.

You can start to believe someone else is the architect, and that the blueprints have been hidden from you. In youth you were a parkour runner who didn’t need to understand the underlying structure in order to gracefully navigate the landscape. What happened?

Failure eroded your surety. Doubt crept in. Your opinions and forthrightness were blunted and your opinions were copied down in crabbed shorthand from others.

But the door isn’t locked. Say what you think. Make proclamations. And if you make mistakes retract them. You can change your mind. Pride used to be something based in achievement for you, not based in rigidity.

Say something careless. Be dangerous. Nothing stays broken. Well, not if you’re around to fix it. In youth we have a bravado that let’s us charge at the ramparts, and we forget it wasn’t a physical thing; forget that the hurt didn’t last forever. You have to guard against cowardice, and that means you’re going to make mistakes.

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