Earlier this week Margaret and I saw the recently released movie While We’re Young. The movie features a good cast of popular actors including Naomi Watts, Ben Stiller, Amanda Seyfried and a very old looking Charles Grodin, among other faces you’d recognize. Following is the Rotten Tomatoes description; “Noah Baumbach’s comedy While We’re Young stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as Josh and Cornelia, a childless New York married couple in their mid-forties. As their other friends all start having children, the couple gravitates toward a young hipster couple named Jamie and Darby . He’s an aspiring documentary filmmaker, a vocation Josh already has. Soon the older couple begins enjoying the energy they feel hanging out with the younger generation, but eventually Josh begins to suspect his new best friend might not be as straightforward and trustworthy as he thought.”
We really wanted to like this movie; excellent cast, contemporary subject matter, exciting locations. Unfortunately we were both disappointed. The principle characters were not likeable or believable. While I don’t have to like every character in a movie I do have to believe them. We also wanted to like the ‘vibe’ of the movie, the hip characters and setting, but it never grabbed us. For me the most believable character was that played by Charles Grodin even though he was sort of a bastard, but an authentically portrayed bastard.
So even though I didn’t love this film it got me thinking about how we age, how we compare our age to the generations in front of and in back of our own and how we relate to those generations. The advent of rapidly changing technology and how each generation uses that technology is the new generation gap. My baby boom generation grew up with a huge cultural gap brought about by civil rights, opposition to war and radically new fashion/music trends. Today it’s all about information; how we access it and use it. And even though we have the same concerns as we did in the sixties and seventies the ‘information age’ has caused changes to happen so rapidly we don’t have time to be involved in the same way we were forty years ago. However, I am not one to believe ours was the last great generation; every generation believes theirs is the best….that’s human nature. But I feel we shouldn’t pigeon hole ourselves into basing ones life in only one generation….while we share a time with others born within a given generation that doesn’t mean we need to live only by the beliefs of that particular period. There’s much to learn from those who came before us and those who have come after. For technology I love to ask my younger friends for advice while they look to me for answers they themselves don’t posses (financial, career, cultural, etc.). And if we listen we can learn from those older than ourselves, those who matured before rapidly changing technologies played such a dominant role in our everyday lives.
Where am I going with this post? I’ve thought about it all day and guess it really boils down to this; learn from those older than ones self…they have a life time of experience; learn from those younger than ones self….they have a different world and self view that may be enlightening. But most importantly keep learning to keep growing….keep yourself open to new ways of thinking and doing.