Don't Tell Them
I was walking down the street in Midtown the other day and saw these two teenagers holding hands and having a blast out there. Kissing each other in a pure unadulterated sign of affection. They were in bliss and were having a great time together, with youth on their side.
It reminded me to back of the good old days when I just graduated high school and was on my way to an Ivy League institution. I also made my first girlfriend at that time, and I thought everything was going to be peaches and cream from here on out. I thought life was just going to be smooth sailing for the rest of time and that I would live a joyous and fulfilling and completely purposeful life for all eternity.
Of course, it didn’t end up that way. Far from it. As we probably all know by now, life will throw us curveballs whether we’re ready or not. Progress forward is not a straight line upwards. It’s a long, meandering, and winding road that can be sometimes infuriating, anxiety-riddled, and yes, a little bit saddening.
Sometimes, I would think about what I would tell the young me if I were to travel back in time twenty years ago to my high school days. Would I warn him and let him know that life was not going to be as smooth as I expected it to be? Would I try to give him a prescription on how to soothe all the inevitable pains and challenges in life that I would encounter throughout these years? Would I try my best to insulate them from the outside world and make sure that their experience is as pristine as possible?
I would wonder whether or not to let them know. And whether it is in their best interest to know. For now, my conclusion at this moment is to just let them be. Let those young ones be ignorant. Be full of bliss. Be completely naïve about what is to come in their lives. Let them figure it out for themselves. Let them go through these trials and tribulations with open eyes and open arms. And let them figure out their own perspective and their own solutions.
Let them come to their own conclusions on how the world operates. Let them make their own flawed group of friends. Let them nurture their own political beliefs and what is right and what is wrong about the world. Let them succeed. Let them fall and fail. And let them continue to move forward.
There are these two common sayings. That ignorance is bliss. And that knowledge is power. I guess these two sayings are not mutually exclusive. They can be intertwined. You can have the best of both worlds and can lead a more fulfilling life because of it.
Let the young ones be ignorant of what is to come. But at the same time, let them gain the knowledge and wisdom along the way to grow into their true potential and become full-fledged human beings.
Don’t tell them what is right and wrong. Some guidance here and there is fine. But at the end of the day, let them live their lives and do what they feel to be the right moves. The world needs all types of people. They need the young and the old. They need the left and the right. They need the passive and the aggressive. They need the loud and the quiet. All types of people will come and go. And at the end of the day, that is the type of synergy that will keep this world progressing and moving in the so-called right direction.
It's a constant evolution out there and the best way forward is to figure it out for yourselves. Be responsible for your own decisions and actions. And sooner or later, you will realize that life is not peaches and cream. You will not stroll down the streets of Manhattan holding hands and having a great time with your partner forever in your early 20’s. Life will get in the way in some form or fashion. And that’s not a bad nor a good thing.
Things simply don’t last. And you can take that however you want. I’d like to think that the world will continue to adjust and evolve as it sees fit. And people will continue to evolve with it. New needs will pop up. Old trinkets will gracefully step out of the limelight. And whatever will be will be.
At the end of the day, I would still let my younger self be at bliss with ignorance. And I will let him figure out by himself that life is not easy as he initially thought. I will let him succeed and fall and get back up. And I will let him continue to enjoy the journey that is this beautiful life.
I hope you all continue to evolve and grow and be at bliss, while also holding the wisdom of your past with you. I hope that there is continuous growth in all of us. And I hope that we don’t tell our younger selves about the trials, the joys, the pains, and the secrets of the future.