What exactly do we mean by experience?
Is it the feeling of ‘been there, seen this, done that’?
Or offering unsolicited advice based on it?
Or looking back in pride at the steps you have climbed to be where you are today?
Or shaking your heads at the yuppies trying to clamber up a tree (and thinking, ‘that’s not the way to do it, kid’)?
Or being able to do things in half the time, because you had spent half your lifetime doing it?
Or looking at a bubbly girl and imagining evilly that all her joy will be gone in ten years (and hating yourself for thinking it)?
Or listening patiently to the polite and eager youngster put up his new idea, and trying not to kill his enthusiasm by saying things like ‘I came up with something like this a few years ago and it was mercilessly shot down’?
Or being able to look into a friend’s worried eyes and say ‘Everything will be all right’?
Or feeling great about your smart methods because you know how much you have struggled to master them?
Or feeling terrible that after all these years, you still haven’t mastered a thing?
Or being able to ask the right questions even though the entire concept is new?
Or playing down the admiration of admiring youngsters?
Or being arrogant or modest or cheerful or composed?
Or thinking fearfully that you used to be so good at it just a few years ago, ‘is age catching up so soon’?
Or holding back when you want to shout in anger?
Or yelling in anger because you have ‘been there, done that, more than you, dammit’?
Or trying to keep yourself from breaking into a smug grin, when you see someone failing miserably as you once had?
Or not offering a word of consolation or hope to a person who’s struggling, because there was no one when you needed a word of support?
Or being able to hold out a hand to the fallen man and tell him it’s okay?
Or not being overtly ecstatic when your efforts are finally successful, because somehow today you know what it means to totally deserve something you got?
Or being perplexed that something that had seemed impossible five years ago seems today like a piece of cake?
Or being humble because you acknowledge that you are standing on the shoulders of Giants?
Or knowing that you do not know everything in the world yet?
Or believing in the good result that would come from luck, hard work, talent and positive attitude?
Or deciding whether it is pessimism that drives you, or optimism, or a healthy combination of the two?
Or knowing that muttering a prayer or shedding a tear isn’t a sign of weakness?
Or saying ‘That was awesome’ – and meaning it?
Or having a helluva lot of crazy thoughts and memories that cram your ‘experienced’ head?