Last week, I received an e-mail from a well-meaning gentleman who was concerned that some of the things written in this column might send the wrong message to his 15-year-old granddaughter.
"You have such a wonderful chance to be a good role model for young people," he wrote, "but your column today is such a disappointment..."
While I'm complimented by the notion of being seen as a potential good role model -- and hope I can be one in that I consider myself a hardworking, decent person and a fairly respectable woman -- this particular column is not intended for teenagers. Believe me, I'd write very differently if it were.
Call it good sense, or call it hypocrisy, but there are some subjects I see fit to address differently with one audience than with another. Of course, some of it is related to legality. And while the notion of media parenting runs rampant, well let's just say if a 16-year-old gets wasted and runs around in a toga, I blame his parents, not "Animal House." And that's not because I'm trying to shirk responsibility as a member of the media.
But while my audience will affect how I might address a topic, I also know my views have changed in the last 15 years, especially when it comes to love and other, you know, indoor sports (did you like how I did that?).
Case in point: When I turned 25, I wanted to cry because I wasn't married. Five years later, when I see a 25-year-old sporting a diamond engagement ring, I can't help but think, "Oh, you are very young to be getting married." My perspective has changed.
Or on the media note, thinking about how certain stories that seemed so romantic when I was a teenager have lost their luster as I've aged. Take "Romeo and Juliet." Oh, how my 17-year-old self swooned at the notion of being so in love that you'd rather not live than live without him. But at 30 (and I've said this before), I think Romeo and Juliet were a couple of petulant brats. Again, my perspective has changed.
I see it, too, in the people around me, how perspectives and priorities can change with age and time.
Ten years ago, my grandmother said she hoped she lived long enough to see me and my sister married well (she didn't, unfortunately).
"What do you mean by 'married well?'" we asked.
"Happy," our grandmother said.
"Financially secure," our mother added.
A change in perspective? Perhaps. I'll ask her again in 20 years.