I wear my youth as a badge of honor. Actually, as a handy excuse. When I miss the obvious or rush to a conclusion without properly thinking it through, it's "Well, he's young and foolish. We all were." Instead of trying to compare myself to countless baby-boom mentors, I can compare myself to the do-rag-wearing, pant-sagging, '88 Prelude-driving, broke cad who's deafening himself to Eminem at 140 decibels when I pull in to get gas. Suddenly I don't feel like such a failure.
I'm a decade-and-a-half from reaching the ranks of the American middle-aged, but I'd be over-the-hill in a host of countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, East Timor, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritirea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Gaza, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania,
Micronesia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, the West Bank, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
And I'd like to live in exactly none of those places. Here's to the elders who hold society together--may we never take your sagacity or sobriety for granted!