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.