When I was growing up, I used to tune out as soon as someone started a sentence with “when I was your age.” I was not interested in listening to others’ often-exaggerated heroic tales or modesty smeared with jealousy, and besides, I did not find much importance in making comparison over time and across culture.
But now that I have become the age of those who used to tell me back then of how they were when they were my age, I am shocked to find myself starting many sentences the same way!
For example, just today, I was saying to a young colleague “when I was your age, I could pull all-nighters consecutively for an entire week and still think just as straight, but nowadays I pull one all-nighter and I can’t even stand straight.” (To which the young colleague replied confusingly, “um… I’m sorry for you…?” I was doubly shocked that I made him feel like he had to be sorry for me for something that did not concern him at all!)
So, why is it that I am now doing something to others that I once hated being done to me?
Maybe I have become such a bitter person from being made to listen to “when I was your age” stories by so many people so many times, I want to make others suffer from them just as much?
Or, maybe it is a symptom of aging that manifests in all of us, whether we like it or not?
Maybe it is a behavioural pattern encoded in our genes that has some yet-to-be-discovered evolutionary advantage?
For example, maybe the stories of “when I was your age” sound all jibberish, but there are some important messages hidden in them by our forerunners, teaching us of the lessons learned or giving hints on realizing dreams?
And maybe this is one of the ways we transmit valuable information from one generation to another, so then can be kept in the memories of individuals and/or be made into customs in our society?
But then again, maybe I am simply telling you another one of my “when I was your age” stories… “when I was your age, I wanted to know the answer to everything, but nowadays I know I cannot make sense of everything that happens around me – you will understand when you become my age!”
A last note: I am so very sorry to hear of the devastation that has hit the Chapecoense soccer team… there were a few who had played and coached in my homeland, and we are in deep grief over their loss. I cannot imagine the pain the survivors and the surviving families and friends of the victims must be going through, but I hope it will not be too inappropriate for me to wish that you will tell many many “when they were your age” stories to keep them alive in our hearts.