Being young again

Have you ever wished to be a teenager again? That's a conventional manner of speech (and perhaps, as such, it is mostly innocent). But have you actually desired to be young again from time to time? Have you believed this would be a good thing? But why does it look so attractive? What did you have as a young person that you don't have now? A healthier, stronger, more attractive body? Unfailing enthusiasm and unlimited energy? All the options still available, all the choices still open?

Think twice. Wasn't that just an illusion, because you didn't know, at that time, what failings and limits are like? Wasn't that just the world as it looks through the eyes of someone inexperienced, someone who hadn't really figured out how to tell the important things in life from those that aren't truly relevant? Wasn't that someone mistaking shallow fun for something valuable, intensity of feeling for emotional depth, lack of control for passion, the inability to determine your own good pace for an infinity of options and a boundless playfield?

And what makes you think you won't make all your mistakes again? You made them precisely because you didn't have the experience of them. Now you have that experience, you can avoid them.

Freedom and creativity can only be exercised within a given frame of constraints, and they need a sense of direction. (Some artists have described their own process of creating exactly like that: they have to set themselves definite restrictions, even arbitrary restrictions sometimes, and they are then working towards a creative vision, within that setting; I think there is some deep insight in that description.) And the same is true for freedom and creativity in living your life. Just going off into the blue won't lead anywhere; and having no goals at all is not freedom, but arbitrariness.

Finding worthy goals, and learning what to value and what to discount, then, are essential. If you haven't put any effort into this during your life, going back to your inexperienced days wouldn't help at all (by far a better option is to get started now, at least.) If, on the other hand, you have, then you could only lose by winding back. Moreover, if you merely desire back your physical health, and the prospect of a long life still before you, what do you think would you do differently if you'd get those once more? You had all that once — do you really think you would be able to put it to different, better use this time? What makes you think so? Doesn't it rather seem, if you're not content with where you are, that you sailed with a questionable set of priorities then? Instead of longing for doing it all over again the same way, better start revising those priorities. Whatever being young again might give you: it's unlikely that on reflection it will be highest up the list. Take care.
Copyright © 2007-2012 by Leif Frenzel. All rights reserved.