I did not know


By special skills in this case is meant knowing what ingredients go into dinner, and where to buy them at the best value.  There are a lot of special skills like that in a life, and some even less obvious.

I poked around on the Net again, and found a lot of articles on credit cards and such things. There sure is a lot to know about credit. What to do, what not to do, and what happens if you do it anyway. Of course this is not only so for consumer credit, but many other things in life as well. I have picked up some of it over time, but other times I have just been lucky, it seems.

In all fairness, I was what people call a “country bumpkin”. As a young adult, I knew enough about farming that I could probably have taken over a farm and fed a family, if the world ended with me. I knew that much less about all things urban, I guess, despite high school and a couple years of mercantile school. We learned various things from bookkeeping to photocopying (not as easy then as it is now), but we did not learn all that much about everyday economics. Or everyday anything, for that matter.

What I am trying to say is that I was very much mistaken back then, thinking I was an adult. I was old enough to drink or drive, marry or serve my country in unpleasant ways. But I knew very little about life and very little about myself. What a boon it would have been for me then to have my current me around. Even if young me probably would have understood only part of what middle-aged me said, and would not have the wits to even ask the right questions, it would still have been a great help. Or so it seems. Since I did not have such a person, I must assume that in the universal Grand Scheme of Things it was all for the best that I sniffed my way through the world on my own. But in principle, it would have been nifty to have someone around that was not amazingly ignorant about everything from constipation to credit cards.

One thought that struck me was that perhaps young people would be better served to live with their parents for the first 30-40 years and listen and obey them. But that would not have helped in my case. No offense to my parents, both of which were amazing in their own way, but they had lived in a world that was fading. Unfortunately, that is the rule now. If I had children who were young now, much of what I knew would be about a past in which they did not live, nor ought they to. (They would probably think I was living even more in the past than I am, as young people generally think, but there would be something to it. Quite a bit probably, and I am a pretty cutting edge guy compared to most people.)

Things have gone fairly well, given the abyss of ignorance and (particularly) ignorance about the ignorance. I credit my invisible friend, of course. But even so, I can’t help but think there must be something we can do to “hand down” essential life skills more advanced than potty training. (Actually even potty training often seems to go horribly wrong, but let’s leave that off for today.)

This entry is so unfinished, it does not really have a conclusion. I am not really sure what people can do to get life wisdom before they have already made all the mistakes that give people life wisdom. I suppose you could read the rambling journal entries of middle-aged men, but I’d like to think there is some better way somewhere. Perhaps if I could ask my 75 year old self, he could tell me. Of course, there is no certainty there will even be a 75 year old self – especially without his sound advice on how to survive that long…

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