Remember, Billy Joel singing, ‘We were only having fun. Never hurting anyone. And we all enjoyed some madness for awhile?’ That kind of summarizes what many of us thought when we were in our 20s.
Oh, sure, some were responsible. Some didn’t even drink and, if they did, it was in moderation but they were in the minority. We called them nerds. Boring. The last thing most of us wanted to be. Well, how’s that looking for us now?
What I recall of my 20s is that there were often times that I couldn’t recall much of anything. Friday and Saturday nights were occasionally a blur. But, unless something heinous happened, it didn’t matter. We were bulletproof. No, I don’t do that stuff. Well, I guess it can’t kill me. Drunk driving? Nah, I’ve only had a few and I’m going straight home. Condoms? Yep, no exceptions. Well, maybe just this one time. I mean, the odds are huge …
When you were in our 20s, the world was your oyster. If you weren’t in college or university, you were making good money. You played sports (usually followed by a few beers). You had lots of crazy friends. You travelled and went to hockey games and concerts. You celebrated a post-secondary graduation. Now try and imagine the 20-something you in this coronavirus world.
I am not saying the kids should be given a pass, but let’s not judge them too harshly when it is so much easier for us middle-agers to kick back, read a book, watch TV, or go for a walk, than it is for them.
And, to be fair, the rules have been a little misleading. Restaurants, bars and clubs are open but you still have to keep your distance? And how much of this is the lack of diligence on the part of staff at these places? The mask message has been fairly casual and we’ll soon be sending our kids back to school.
What I’m saying is, let’s try a little empathy before finger-waving, stern glares and harsh words. They are losing a lot. And it doesn’t help to tell them it’s “just a ceremony,” or “just a game,” or “just a trip” and “you’ll have other opportunities to (fill in the blank),” because we don’t really know if they will, do we? It’s just like how we shouldn’t tell kids who scrape their knees or lose a toy that it’s “not a big deal.” It is to them, and that’s what matters.
So, yeah, let’s tell our 20-somethings to be more careful, to abide by the regulations, to think about who it could really affect (specifically, the elderly, their grandparents).
But let’s also tell them that we understand their frustration, that we know the regulations leash feels tighter on them than it does on anyone else because we were 20-somethings once and, uh … had some good times but, uh, well, if we had this happen back then, we would have totally followed the guidelines. To a “T.” Absolutely.
And remember that the first two suggestions in Dr. Henry’s catchphrase are just as important as the third (being safe): be kind and be calm.