The very well known marshmallow experiment poses a question (roughly) to kids: you can have 1 marshmallow now or wait 10 minutes and have 3.
Interestingly, there have been at this point numerous studies that the younger someone is, the more apt they are to focus on short term thrilsl over long term consequences.
So, the younger someone is the more likely they are to choose the metaphorical 1 marshmallow. Which would then assume, that the older someone is the more likely they are to choose the later, realizing after years of experience that long term consequences matter.
I once heard someone say that we are a nation filled with grown teenagers. If there is a reason that the elderly in our country are routinely dismissed by the younger generations, it’s because they act just like older versions of the younger generation. In fact, one could argue at this point the older generation is acting worse than the younger - obsessed with the now so much that the future be damned.
Maybe because I’m reading Chip Conley’s book about the making of a modern elder or maybe because I’m getting older myself (and thinking lots about this) or maybe because it’s hard to find older people that I look up to (they definitely do exist) or maybe it’s because I really do expect more from the older generation than looking out for themselves… but, please…
If you’re older, please be an elder, not just an older.
We need you.
And if you’re younger, unfortunately for you, we may need you to start acting like elders sooner than later.