The Many Paths

I received an email the other day from an acquaintance. She had been introduced to some Old Money Guys and Gals who habitually wore jeans and t-shirts, were very casual in their socializing (pizzas and beers on the coffee table with hardly a cloth napkin in sight), and even expressed a measure of disdain for their ancestors attitudes and achievements.

Her confusion and even despair was understandable. Shouldn’t all OMGs sport the polo shirt and khakis and have some measure of structure and decorum in their lives?

Well, if you’re asking me, they should, but as I’ve noted before, our best lives are out there waiting for us when we eliminate the word ‘should’ from our vocabulary.

We don’t use the word when we refer to what we ‘should’ do. We either do something or we don’t do it.

And we don’t apply the word to other people. We don’t judge others and say, Oh, they ‘should’ do this or that. Their choices are their business.

More to the point, Old Money is not a cookie cutter, Ken and Barbie culture. Many people rebel and/or go their own way with regards to dress and (to a certain extent) manners. Sometimes it’s a permanent departure from convention. Most times it’s a phase.

As the old Hindu saying goes, The paths are many but the goal is one. How people dress, what they do for work, how they live their lives–these are multifaceted, even in Old Money culture. Embracing our Core Values and passing those on to the next generation remain the goal.

So do not worry or abandon all  hope just because your local OMG is wearing beads and rocking out to rap. These are surface considerations. Eventually, the culture wins out. A professional direction comes into focus. Work habits reappear, dusted off from boarding school. Relationships get serious. The ‘meet the parents’ wardrobe comes out of the closet and, by default, veers toward the traditional. Children are born and the lessons of generations past return and echo with comforting familiarity.

Old Money is not ‘one size fits all’, but the fundamentals of health, education, and personal responsibility form a sturdy, recognizable scaffolding that surrounds very often contributes to a healthy and productive life.

So relax. Don’t sweat the window dressing. What’s inside remains the same.

  • BGT

3 thoughts on “The Many Paths

  1. I have often noticed that people with an old money background will occasionally venture into unusual areas, sometimes briefly, sometimes permanently. I suspect it’s a combination of an upbringing that instills good values so they know how far is too far, and the lack of a need to impress anyone, especially with trappings like clothes and gadgets.

  2. BGT-
    Words of wisdom to live by in these times that are quite trying. It reminds me of the much needed map reading classes I indured where only those that know the areas of a legend are capable of actually knowing the difference between magnetic north and true north. When you stated, “…do not worry or abandon all hope just because…” it reminded me of my early formidable years and the necessary worth-while work laid before me as foundation that has lead to the “recognizable scaffolding that surrounds very often the contribution to a healthy and productive life.”

    With sincere gratitude,

    K. Lee George

  3. I work with a wide range of highly successful financially independent people every day. Most dress quite casually. Nonetheless, I always dress ivy/old money. It’s my uniform and I feel properly dressed no matter where I go. So what I’m saying is – I don’t care how casually other people dress — I’m sticking with old money style.

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