Let’s hear it for being young.

December 8, 2013 § 3 Comments

Ray and Matthew.Commitment to this blog requires me, once each week to think a coherent thought, something profound or funny—or at least not embarrassingly stupid, convert it to words and post it.

But having posted, my mind often continues to work on the idea—my ideas don’t reach maturity just because I’ve turned in my self-imposed homework assignment.

The benefits of aging were last week’s topic. It struck me as I walked the neighborhood that I was treating the older and wiser self as the destination the species sets out for by getting born.

But each age has its function, each, in its time, is exactly what it should be—not a becoming, but an is.

So, what are the strengths and advantages of being young?

Show me.The first is the gift of being as physically beautiful and as comfortable in our bodies as we will ever be—my husband says there is no such thing as an ugly young person.

That is perhaps generous, but it is also largely true.

The sad part is that it is wasted on the young, who notice only the pimple on the chin or the big ears. Look at a picture of yourself from back then.

Damn, you were good-looking.

What do we have when young that we inhabit with grace?

We have ignorance.  But it is not the stubborn deliberate ignorance some cling to year after year. It is the ignorance that seeks knowledge. The page that is ready to be written on.

We have careless energy that doesn’t have to be rationed. Too little sleep? What’s that?

Although we see death demonstrated; we lose a pet, we lose a grandmother, we, ourselves, are immortal.

We are alive in the moment—mayfly-alive. We swarm and rise and glisten in the sun. We are not earthbound by the burden of past we drag behind us.

We prostrate ourselves with yearning, so that when the getting happens it is overwhelmingly sweet.

The view from the floor.All the firsts of life are ours.

First cup of coffee, first plane flight, first pair of high heels, first dog of our own, first pocket knife, first love—and each one of them hits us as if it has never happened before in the history of being alive.

It is fresh-out-of-the-box new.

The tedious responsibilities—the oil change, making the dental appointment—belong to someone else.  Encumbered by fewer have-tos, we run loose.

The world is fluid. We form and break alliances. We try new things easily because everything is new. Now belongs to us, and the world will take the shape we give it. We feel a growing sense of power.

All things are possible. We are irritated by boundaries–if we see them at all. The box we often construct as we grow more knowledgeable, the box in which we confine our understanding of the world, does not yet exist. We think original thoughts. We could become anything.

The boys.Eventually the endless possibilities narrow because we are on the path to that wise adult self, and because the tick of time has become audible, but perhaps destination is not the point.

Perhaps for the person who lives life awake, the self is created in each moment. Perhaps it is that continuous creation that is life’s essential gift.

Young and old, here are Ray and Matthew, caught in the act of becoming.

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§ 3 Responses to Let’s hear it for being young.

  • KM Huber says:

    As so often happens with you, me and our Sunday posts, there is a moment of intersection. We nod to one another, smile, and write on for we know we will cross paths again some Sunday. Such is our “homework” path. .


  • craig reeder says:

    I love your phase “the self is created in each moment.” As usual, your writing is deeply thought provoking. But just letting that simple statement roll around in my brain for a minute, it seems hugely empowering and liberating. You really see clearly and describe beautifully the miracle of the human soul.


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