Advantages and Disadvantages of Age & Experience

Stuck in the Middle ~ Philip Brent

Stuck in the Middle ~ Philip Brent

Confidence is something you feel before you fully understand a situation.

Esen alit-Quar

I have heard, though yet to use the expression: Youth is wasted on the young. I understand intellectually that the energy, confidence and perceived invulnerability of youth without the experience and wisdom hopefully accrued with age appears to be a waste. I haven’t previously understood that the two states may be mutually exclusive. It is far easier to feel confident when one has no grasp of either how difficult a chosen action may be or knowledge or belief in the probable outcome. However, it is also easier to be confident when you are taking no action. As the saying goes: Talk is cheap.

I always interpreted that to mean that discussion alone costs nothing, but accomplishes nothing. I thought only in financial terms, not in terms of risk. Whatever I don’t do will cost me nothing financially, but the avoided risk encompasses both failure and success. If I do nothing, I cannot actively or overtly fail. Unfortunately, this also negates any chance of success. Few and, I believe, no one is instantly successful. Training, grit and the willingness to fail are intrinsic to eventual success.

When I was younger, I wanted to write fiction, stories, novels, plays, movies. I am a storyteller who tries to find and express truth through writing fictions, by telling lies. I also had a strong-enough sense of self-preservation that I rarely acted. I was so busy talking about it and dreaming about it that I rarely did the work required. With help, I finally got past this hurdle. I wrote stories, one-act plays, a three-act play, a couple of novels and over a dozen screenplays. However,now that I was walking the walk, I had to fall down, I had to fail. More importantly, I had to be willing to fail.

Perhaps if I discovered this when I was younger, my life would have been different. It would have been different, but there’s no guarantee it would have been better. For example, when I turned to screenwriting, I did this for all the wrong reasons. I want to tell stories, share my vision of the world, but I wanted the recognition and the money it entailed more. Somehow, this seemed like validation.

Now, knowing that the odds of failure are greater than the chance of success, it is difficult to believe in the single-minded way I did was I was young. Then, I was invincible and nothing could stop me. As an older adult in a long-term relationship avowals of grand success are met with a degree of skepticism. My wife, being more practical, had hoped for a stable bread-winner with both feet on the ground. She believes in what she can see, hear and touch. Still, she married me. I’m a dreamer. I believe, at my core, that all things are possible. In many ways, this has proved a good combination, a pragmatist married to a dreamer.

Now, I understand I can be successful, but I don’t need to become a superstar in order to achieve it. Age has definitely made the attempt more difficult on some days, both physically and mentally, but I also have my own history of trying and succeeding in other areas. Who knows, perhaps I will become a forty-year, overnight success. I’m not counting on that, but I do believe it is possible. I no longer have the blind confidence of youth. But, I do have the confidence of wisdom that comes with age.


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