The pace of youth

After years of fighting, it seems that i’m growing up. Maturity and adulthood are states of mind they are memetic incertain ways. These mature and adult ways of looking at the world are often triggered though by certain biological processes which makes it interesting ground for exploration.

I used to say about the early to mid twenties that it felt like the best time in life. We were old enough to be living on our own with disposable income, and young enough to just want to spend it on ice-cream and beer.

Nowadays that saying just doesn’t have the same taste as it leaves my tongue. These are someone else’s words. Somebody- less mature. As we age in our bodies begin to degrade – not so terribly, but enough so that we feel that we have lost something that we used to have. This feeling of loosing ability (or gaining weight) changes the playful relationship with food. Food becomes enshrouded in an uncertain guilt.  I recognize the emotion because I remember seeing it on the faces of others as they used to watch me consume mountainous portions. Now the ravenous zeal is muted, both from lack of desire and also from self-conscious reticence.

I asked a question of a good friend one time: “If you could choose to be young forever, would you?” Of course we discussed the details of the question for sometime, and perhaps she was just being contrary but the answer she gave was “no”. Whether any of us would really pass up such an opportunity, her reasoning on one point stuck with me. She said that there was a maturity that came with aging that cannot simply come from experience.

I rephrase the point in the following manner: There is a special form of humility that comes from having the strength, ability, and energy of youth and then having it slowly taken away from you.

There are other aspects of the pace of life that seem to fit with biologial rhythems. Early in life we are boundless in energy and but often thoughtless. Over time it seems that people have the tendency to give more thought and move a little slower. These are gross generalizations clearly, but are matched well with biological signatures of aging. While some age and think less because they feel they have already formed the opinions they need – there are many examples of throughtful youths.

The pace of our lives, and perhaps the tendency to reflect is governed by hormonal systems. Our inherent physical risk tolerance may also influence our attitudes towards risk as we become more frail.

I feel old not because I’m tired, but because I realize that working on the weekend won’t help as much as stepping back and considering how to appropriately apply my effort.


About livingthememe

engineer and armchair philosopher
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