Manners & Misdemeanors

Generation Gap: What Rich People of Every Age Can Learn From Each Other

Like the honest plants that grow in my garden, life can be a wreath of harmony if we hold hands and stick them in the dirt together.
ILLUSTRATOR SANDY ARANAS
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I like gardening because it is honest. Care well for your plants and they will flower in full or bear juicy fruit or just grow a multitude of leaves that will delight. Simply put, the more you toil in your woodland-style Piet Oudolf-esque garden, the better things become. I once had a sorry specimen of a Euanthe sanderiana (waling-waling), but because of the work I showered on it for years, what used to be a stubborn stump of green transformed into a flowering beauty worthy of a blue ribbon.

I share this because I want you to know that, believe it or not, I do get my hands dirty from time to time, and also, I believe in working things out.

Lately, in my circle of friends, there have been storms brewing between the old and young. It's usually a trivial thing such as the protocol of a party or the management of the family empire that causes friction. A COO (child of owner) pushes for increased resources in a company's social media efforts but HSD (his stubborn dad) shrugs it off. The mother insists on chic multi-course service from M Dining, but the kids only want hamburgers from another M: McDonald's!

Of course, there will be differences between generations, but really, like the honest plants that grow in my garden, life can be a wreath of harmony if we hold hands and stick them in the dirt.

You Young’uns!

How quick the young move! How carelessly they rush into action! How intent they are to change things even when everything works! These are but a few complaints lobbied against those who are living in the flower of their age. Also, they have strange taste in music. What is this oonts-oonts-wub-wub noise?  

These Old People!

We will do away with the jokes about slow driving and attic odors (please have respect!) and concentrate on older people's ability to make you feel uneasy. They make you stand straighter, talk funny, and do things you prefer not to do, such as arranging your teeth into a happy smile. They want to be your friends, but, uh, you want to have fun. They are also immoveable like a moldy statue that insists you have strict dinner service for an informal gathering of nine!

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Can We Still Be Friends?

My garden of wildflowers thrives because I propagate only the most improved specimens. One technique is to graft the possibilities of a sapling onto an established plant, and through the magic of science and with the holy blessing of Saint Fiacre, the patron saint of growers, a tiny thing becomes stronger.

So, instead of shouting from opposite ends of the table, why don’t the young and old meet in the middle? There is a lot to learn from each other.

For example, having lived longer, and likely in different places with many kinds of people (my great aunt once lived with a rock star all over Europe!), an older lady or gentleman possesses the advantage of wisdom. They've been there, done that and know how to mix the perfect Negroni, as well as what to look for when buying your first building.

Another thing to learn from people of advanced age, specifically from people of advanced wealth, is that it is not greedy to build wealth. It is an honest pursuit when accomplished with your own sweat and tears. Related to this, they are usually the ones who know how to do this correctly.

On the flipside, the nose-to-glass proximity of the young to technology makes them the leaders of this strange age. Personally, I consider them my technobabble translators who teach me what I should NOT do on my phone. Consider also how refreshing their courage is. Seldom afraid to take risks, they embrace life, try new things, and revel in fun, which includes karaoke and dancing (in public).

Older people are more likely to ensconce themselves in what is comfortable, but if you refuse to sail away into the sunset just yet, you need younger friends to connect you to the present. Meanwhile, the young think of the older generation as human potatoes spewing horse poo and simply refuse to listen to them.

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But lift the blinders. Embrace what's new. Graft the good parts together to make a super mutant half-old, half-young human. You'll see that life can be improved or, at least, become more colorful with help from someone with another perspective.

The Mirror Has Two Faces

Yesterday, as I was exiting the gym, a yoga queen, sheathed in neon green spandex and with the outrageous skin of someone who has not yet fried her body with butter, libations, and sin, came up to me to return the glass water bottle I had left on a bench.

It was kind, till she started her greeting with the cruelest word of all: “Ma'am.”

I am not a ma'am, not yet, I thought, as I slipped into my waiting car. As my driver pulled away, I saw the yoga queen waving cheerily in the direction of my heavily tinted window. I realized that while I may be perceived as a young person to society grandmothers, I am an old person to yoga queens, social media stars, flight attendants, my assistants, that girl over there, and all the beautiful babies of the world. Maybe I should pick up yoga?

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About The Author
C.C. Coo
The Truly Rich Lady
C.C. Coo—also known as Town&Country’s Truly Rich Lady—is not a professional seeker of leisure as many people wrongly assume, for she has a real-life occupation: a SHE-EO of Important (Sub)Company of an Empire, for which she works very hard to make sure that the people in her care are not left wanting. She believes that manners are utterly important: “If society is like one of those costume jewelry worn by Jackie O or Diana, it would be the glue that keeps the veneer of a most beautiful thing from falling apart,” she says.
View Other Articles From C.C.
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