I went to some friends’ party Saturday night. Boy, did I feel like an outsider. I don’t mean that my friends were anything less than awesome hosts. It’s that when I try to converse with your average twentysomething, I realize how little we hold in common.
Living in Massachusetts, the odds are that in any random grouping of young adults, most will be very liberal and not very religious. Now my friends (well, two of them) are very faithful Catholics while the third is, if not antagonistic, then agnostic. The three are all women and one is a high school teacher, another is an instructor at a local college, and the third works for Fidelity Investments. (Guess which one is the agnostic; you might be surprised.)
While faith didn’t come up at this particular party, politics did come up briefly—a teacher who said if Kerry became president, he would solve the economic problems; I nearly gagged on my beer. My friends looked at me to see if I would respond because they know my strongly held conservative opinions. I chose not to pursue the topic and start an argument.
But I realized in talking with some of people that my values are radically different. Oh sure, we discussed cigars and Scotch and cars, and those are things I like talking about. But, especially when conversation turned toward relationships or anything of substance, either the opinion was hostile to the teachings of Jesus Christ or just completely shallow. And it appears that cursing substitutes for thinking.
Okay, I’ll admit to occasional use of “salty” language, but when you’re using the words as adjectives, nouns, adverbs, and verbs in every sentence, you probably shouldn’t bother speaking until you have something to actually say.
The worst part of all, though, was when I realized that at 34 years old I was the oldest person there. Start measuring me for my rocking chair and cane.
I suppose it’s not a bad thing when you’ve grown beyond the wrong-headed belief of youth that you know everything, that “partying” is the key to happiness, and that acquisition and consumption are your major life goals. But every once in a while it hits home that I’m not part of the general culture around me.