Most young people consider those of us on the far side of fifty to be inflexible. Popular belief has it that, once we cross the half century mark, we become set in our ways—even rigid in certain regards. In truth, we may get a little set in our ways… but rigid? I think not! Actually, we’re more resilient than ever.
As we grow older, life experience and wisdom combine to give us perspective. We’re far less likely to sweat the small stuff (and even some of life’s bigger challenges) because we know we’ve faced similar situations in the past, have lived through them, and came out the other side richer for the experience.
This lesson was brought home to me in a personal way a few years back. I was all excited because our local TV channel had filmed me advising jobseekers with tips and techniques to get their resumes past the scanners and screeners of today’s job market. It had been a while since they’d taped the segment and it was finally scheduled to air on Friday’s evening news.
In anticipation of the event, I sent out a newsletter to the 500+ people on my mailing list. I also contacted the employment center where the segment was filmed so they could spread the word, and I emailed my personal network of friends and other professionals in the job search field. All in all, over 1000 people were told I’d be appearing on Friday’s broadcast.
Finally the big day arrived. I turned on the TV, set the DVR and settled in with eager expectations… and, I’ll confess, a few concerns as well. I worried about my appearance, if I used too many “ums” and “ahs,” or if I articulated my points clearly and succinctly enough. All of these thoughts ran through my mind as the opening credits began to roll.
I knew my segment wouldn’t land in the first batch of stories so I waited through the first commercial, then the second, and, by the time the third one was over, I began to get nervous. It was then that the reporter who had interviewed me started her segment. However, rather than talking about resumes, she began an earnest piece on the hazards of using a barbecue brush.
It took a moment for the realization to sink in—but then it hit me: My segment had been bumped by a grilling tool! The suits at the TV station deemed this a far more appropriate piece to kick-off the weekend and had literally given me the BRUSH off!
I was mortified! No one had told me about the switch and all I could think about were the 1000 plus people who were anticipating my smiling face (which was not so smiling at this point) to make its appearance on the 5 o’clock news. When the phone started ringing and friends asked, “What happened?” I wanted to jump under the covers and never see daylight again.
But, as I wrote at the start of this post, age does gift us with perspective. I’ve been through lots and lots of embarrassing moments in the past and, mercifully, most of them are now lost in the mists of time. And besides—considering all the drama this created in my life that fateful evening, it makes for a far better story anyway. In addition to having understanding friends, I am blessed with one more reason to be grateful: I now know the hazards of using a grill brush!