When my mother became “a woman of a certain age,” I noticed that most of her new friends were younger, and now that I’ve slipped into that age group, I find that with but a few exceptions, my new friends are between ten and thirty years younger
No, I’m not trying to hold onto some fading youth. These are the people that I gravitate to, and the relationships are reciprocal. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t dumped my older friends, just weeded out the disgruntled complainers – and the technologically resistant.
Perhaps my biggest generational challenge is smartphone etiquette. I was raised to believe that when you are in the company of others, you afford them your total attention. It’s a matter of common courtesy. But when hanging with my thirty-year-younger friends, the smartphones come out, are placed on the table, and checked and responded to throughout the course of a meal. Dinner for five becomes dinner for twenty with the smartphone friends in attendance.
Not wanting to appear out of place, I put my phone on the table as well, but I can’t bring myself to respond to it in the presence of my buddies. Now don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not criticizing my friends, because, indeed they are not rude folk. It’s just the etiquette of the present time, and I must learn to flow with it.
There’s a generational component to my blogs as well. As I review the responses of my readers, I notice that my audience spans the thirty years of my friendship range. But just last week, I had a great surprise. I had written a piece that I feared might be too political to submit to the publication that hosts my blog. Instead I read it at Safety Harbor Open Mic. To my delight, two young men fifty+ years my junior, were more than generous in their feedback: “Amazing – that was so powerful. I loved the meaning behind it. Keep writing, keep speaking, keep feeling.”
My spirits were lifted that evening, and my heart is warmed to learn that I am achieving my goal to be relevant, spanning the generations both in my life and in my literary work. And yes, I’m still working on the smartphone thing.
Author of You CAN Go Home Again
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