I am reminded every day, as I get older, of my wild and crazy youth. Once my body was made of steel, now it’s made of petrified wood. At one time I felt that I could do anything even if it meant putting my body through rigorous pain. Now I know to search for the easy ways instead of blasting through head first. Once I was ten feet tall and bulletproof, now I know I was just stupid at the time. I am now paying for the heroics of my youth with a much wiser set of rules for myself. Am I any more fragile than when I was young? I don’t believe this to be true. In all actuality, I’m probably stronger now than I ever was. The difference is, now I understand how much abuse the human body can withstand. Now I know with great feats of strength, come great pains of what was in the beginning.
I’m not sure why, as young men, we must try to blast through that concrete wall when it is much easier to use the door. Some say it’s the testosterone running through us and yet, others claim it is the rite of passage. Maybe, just maybe, it was that pretty girl that walked by, and she must be shown how massively strong this young buck was. Of course, later in life we realize that she, who turned the young buck’s head, thought we were just stupid. She, of course, was correct, but we are blinded by the beauty and the testosterone will boil! There is a certain dynamic to these tales that will be relived over and over through our lives. And when the magic 3-0 rears its head, the pain will drive a man to think twice about going through the wall instead of using the door.
I believe in my heart, for most men, wisdom begins at thirty. How much damage have we done through our twenty-nine years of being untamed, stupid and just plain not right in the head before this time is anyone’s guess. We all have the stories of our wild and crazy youths but, you have to ask, was it worth it? The answer depends on how much your body reminds you of your wild or shall I step on and say, “Stupid” days. Did you break some bones or almost die from something that seemed like a good idea at the time? Did you wreak your first car by trying to make that 20mph curve at 60mph? Did you do something that even you knew at the time was idiotic, just because someone dared you to do it and out of the corner of your eye, you seen that pretty girl that you wanted to get to know? And afterwards, did really feel stupid when you did it and you got hurt, let alone seen that pretty girl leave the scene with someone else? Ya, me too!
All the cases above had some form of truth to them in my own life. I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the barn. However, I have become much wiser for my misadventures so in some ways, it wasn’t so bad, I guess. I do feel all the twinges of pain more and more as I gain age. Even though I never broke a bone growing up, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. In all actuality, I believe the good Lord was taken care of me. Many times, I should have died from my variance, but it wasn’t until much older that I experienced my own death. Of course, that is a story for another time. So was it all worth it? Well I didn’t get the girl, I messed up a lot of vehicles along with my body, and I’m feeling a lot more pain from my adventures. I guess I would have to say, yes it was. I am who I am because of my stupidity and I enjoy a wisdom, I never would have without my misadventures.
Would I live my life the same way over, given another chance? I guess I would have to answer no to that question. This would be because I now have the wisdom, so unless said wisdom was taken away, my answer would have to stand as no I wouldn’t.
Another part of this would have to include my sons and grandson. I raised my boys letting them know, I didn’t want them to do stupid things, but knew they would. I never held it against them, of course there was always punishment that would be handed out. They are getting close to their thirties now, and I know, the wisdom will come when their time is at hand. I have one grandson now, and I hope his daddy will show him the same tolerance. We are all boys and as the old adage says, “boys will be boys.”
As fathers, we must remember our youth and allow our sons to find their way in life, too. We must be stern when they mess up. We must teach them respect, and we must allow them to grow up to be good men. They will find wisdom on their own path in their own time, but don’t take away their rite of passage. They are going to mess up and cause themselves pain along the way, but it will make them stronger and wiser men. The last thing I must add, be careful telling them of your youth. Pick and choose your stories careful, at least until they reach the turning point from stupid to wisdom.
I once was 10 feet tall and bulletproof! I am now not so tall and no longer bulletproof, but I am much wiser for the things I have been through. Furthermore, I would love to hear your coming of age stories. Was there ever a point when you just knew you turned the corner from stupid to wise? If you had a chance to go back and try again, would you? What are your feelings on this subject? I hope you enjoyed this one. Take care, God bless, and I talk to you again next week. Remember, we are all in this together.