I remember the first time I was in Rome.Â As I stood in front of the Senate, where Brutus stabbed Caesar, I was struck by the contrast between the facts that 1) Romans drive to and from work every day past 2000 years of history and 2) Philadelphians drive to and from work every day past 250 years of history. Which may explain the cultural differences and, for lack of a better word, maturity levels. My experience was that Europeans are more adult than Americans. They prioritize their lives differentlyâ€¦which led me to think about growing up.
In many ways we, in the United States, suffer from adolescence.Â We want what we want, when we want it. We have short-range vision. We act with disregard for the consequences. WeÂ often abdicate personal responsibility for what we say and do. We think we can disregard the rules of civility and the laws Nature. We crave not only the latest androidâ€¦we want the biggest house, the most expensive car, and the clothing that shows its label on the outside. We live beyond our means and expect someone else, mainly the government, to rescue us from ourselves. Ironically, even government needs rescuing from its own irresponsible behavior.
We have behaved very much like adolescents.
So, as each of us comes to realize that our lives are not working and all of the indulgences have not gotten us the peace and satisfaction we seek, perhaps its just plain time to grow up. The place to start is to take a look at your own life, how youâ€™re living it, what you value, where you turn a blind eye to responsibility, and decide to do something about it.
Gandhi said, â€œBe the change you wish to see in the world.â€ He was talking to each of usâ€¦individually. The only way we will succeed at moving beyond this moment is to accept what it means to be an adult, with ethical boundaries and personal responsibility, and then live that acceptance. Otherwise, sooner or later, the teen who refuses to stop pushing the boundaries and ignoring the rules ends up watching Life pass them by.
In our case, it will be the future of a great nation that will have been expendable.