March 02, 2011: When I get older...
Well, talking about age reminded me of countless episodes of youthful attitude that may not have reflected the best I had to offer at the time.
I was once fed up with an association, as I completed my Board term, because I thought it was too pompous and bureaucratic. The big issue of the day was whether or not to purchase a gavel to be handed down from one President to the next (like, who could possibly care about something that stupid?).
As my final commitment to the organization, though, I agreed to serve on the Nominating Committee, along with the Immediate Past President and two of the founding Board members.
The Board elected three Vice-Presidents (they were named 1st, 2nd, and 3rd). I nominated the 1st Vice-President to be the new Pres. He was a well-known business leader who seemed like the logical choice. My colleagues rejected him, saying he'd be a poor President.
So, I nominated the second Vice-President. He turned it down, telling us the 1st VP was expecting the nomination. The committee stood by its earlier decision, though, and offered the Presidency to me. I was the 3rd Vice-President. I accepted it.
At 26 years old, I was the youngest person on the Board.
I should have called the 1st VP immediately after the meeting, told him I had nominated him but had been outvoted by the committee, and assured him my selection was not a personal rebuke of him. I should have told him that I valued his participation and hoped he'd stay on the Board.
I didn't do that, though, because I was not accustomed to schmoozing with men my father's age. "Making nice" was not something I did - especially with older people. My twenty-something comrades were no different.
What I didn't realize was that the snubbed candidate felt that he had been stabbed in the back by someone HIS CHILDREN'S AGE! And that really, really mattered to him.
Even if I had known how he felt, I wouldn't have cared. Older people, I would have thought, were just too sensitive.
I understand him a little better today.