Right before I left Notre Dame, twenty years ago, a lady in her fifties whose husband was an administrator said to me one day. "I always have two friends, one much older, one much younger. The older friend shows me the way forward. The younger friend helps me get there."
I've always thought this is amazingly wise. It captures so many truths about age and friendship and personal success, about mentoring and being mentored, about about inspiration in its different forms.
Youth at its best has energy, possibility, enthusiasm, action, openness, hope, and ambition, among other virtues. Age at its best has experience, discernment, perspective, wisdom, and a hard earned form of wonder, and even, at times, a deeper joy and gratitude. Youth is rambunctious. Age is measured. Youth is unfettered. Age is guided. Youth embraces. Age understands. And on it goes.
The balance my friend alluded to becomes increasingly important with adulthood, but is always a help. Do you have someone to show you the way forward? Do you have someone to give you the energy to get there?
I hope you have two friends, one much older, one much younger. And if not right now, I wish it for you.
We all need someone to show us the way forward, and someone to give us the energy to get there.