There may have been some time in the distant past when achieving great age was seen as a path to wisdom. But here in the 21st century, the wisdom of three days ago, let alone three decades ago, is discounted as outdated. Amassing the experience of several decades on the planet is looked upon not as a passage to wisdom, but as an express ticket to irrelevancy. It’s no wonder people of my generation—we ubiquitous Baby Boomers—nurse an irrational fear of growing old. We are shown daily that we must either match the frenetic pace of our children’s society, or be cast aside like yesterday’s iphone.
I’m not sure that age has ever been that respected in America. At least not since the middle of the 1800's. Once the frontier opened up at the end of the revolution we were able to endlessly reinvent ourselves. My dad’s family hit the east coast by the end of the seventeenth century. They hit Ohio before the 1840’s and the Oregon coast within a generation. We don’t preserve our cities, we abandon them. We don’t pass our homes to our children; how can we? The folks have moved to Florida. The sons were transferred to Dallas and Seattle. The daughters ended up in Atlanta and LA. How can you respect the wisdom of the ages when it’s pulled up stakes and moved to Miami? It’s not just technology. Too many shop at big box stores in strip malls catering to our appetite for fast food, fast coffee, cheap clothes straight off the ship from you know where. Neighborhood churches are abandoned for mega churches that were founded not centuries or even decades ago but last year. Is there any way to put this country on rewind?