Categories: Editor's Desk

Samir Shukla

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By Samir Shukla

There’s much chit chat around the country about oldness. The presidential election is a few months away and now we’ve got a couple of, ahem, oldies essentially set as the candidates. Barring any unforeseen calamities before election day, they are going to duke it out for the big prize. A grudge rematch awaits the American voter. A rerun of oldie but not necessarily goldie will take place during the incoming chill of early November.

Talk is floating among citizenry about maybe putting an upper age limit on who can run for president. We already have an age requirement on the lower end, 37, below which qualification for candidacy is not met. So why not an upper limit?

Well, it’s a bad idea. Who is to judge? An 80-year-old can be vibrant and fully engaged, able to run marathons, while someone a couple of decades younger may already be degrading mentally or physically. Everyone ages differently.

Our lively, aggravating, invigorating electoral system has a way of working things out. Reasoned folks need to and often do stand up, show up and help make that happen. Besides, there are systems in place, others who can take over if an elderly, or young politician, becomes unable to attend to duties.

These unforeseen circumstances, such as death, are generally covered in state constitutions as well as our national constitution. Continuity is assured.

Generational sparring has always existed. When we were young many of us sometimes wanted the oldies to get out of the way and let us do our thing. Get something done quicker. Hey pops, let the youngsters handle this task; such thoughts swirled inside young minds and, a confession here, mine included.

I’m now strolling along on the other side of 60, and often want an impatient youngster to get out of my way. Hey kid, let somebody who’s been around the proverbial block a few times take care of things. I got it. Go back to your smart phone.

Sure, some older folks have those clichéd senior moments – failing memory, repetition, slower reflexes – but what about junior moments of the youngsters? Those pesky things like inexperience, impatience, thin skin, digital madness? Generations have quarreled and argued with each other since recorded history.

This is nothing new. It just seems amplified in our incessant digital world.

Here’s a concept that my well-aged brain has cooked up. If I may riff on an old classic formula that everyone on the planet knows, even if they don’t understand it. Brother Einstein came up with this one, E = MC².

I’ve discovered, through years of intermingling with myriad humans, a powerfully workable formula: P = EX² (Progress = Energy X Squared (X is Experience)). It’s the Energy of youth and the Experience of age squared and when melded properly and multiplied can create the lovely bridge of progress.

When bright eyed youngsters interact with squinting eyed folks, in a let’s learn from each other manner, everyone benefits. Progress happens. We pass on years of experience learned via mistakes and missteps while gaining the forward-gazing energy and ideas of youth.

Meanwhile, in an interesting turn of events, old is new again – retro fashion, vinyl records – among other things, are enjoying rebirth as young people gravitate toward them.

I’m a lifelong music lover who cherishes the ongoing soundtrack of my life, which includes many songs and pieces of music going back even before I was born. I’m also always on the lookout for fresh music, young musicians to add to my musical catalog. Music is such a universal beast; the oldies remain warm while fresh music helps further color our world.

Along with seeking new, young music, I’m planning on hanging out with some, let’s just say, finely aged musicians and performers in the coming months.

Concerts on this summer’s list: Rolling Stones (aged 76 – 80) Bob Dylan (82), Neil Young (78), Willie Nelson (90), along with a slew of others in their mid-70s – Robert Plant, Aerosmith…

Summer, that ageless season, is arriving. It’s the perfect bridge for young and old, sun and sand, music and light. Happy times for people of all ages. Kick back, pop open couple of cold ones to share, with someone outside of your comfort zone or age, and let the warmth spread.

In the meantime, don’t be in such a rush to mark someone’s age, whether young or old. Both youngsters and the experienced can learn a thing or two from each other.

Einstein’s classic formula is reserved for science, but P = EX² seems a workable formula for everyday people.

Oh yeah, one more thing. There’s another inspiration of mine. This youngster named Clint Eastwood is currently directing a new film at the tender age of 93.

Hold the old.


Samir Shukla is the Editor of Saathee Magazine
Contact: [email protected]
Twitter/X: @ShuklaWrites
Newsletter: ShuklaWrites.Substack.com