Why is it, with all we know about time, wisdom and experience, we are still a nation fanatically looking to hold onto our youth? Youth holds a beauty and innocence that is magnificent, it is true. But do we really place such small significance on who we are now and all we’ve weathered that we virtually run in reverse to hold onto it? What about all we’ve gained over the years?
On many levels I like the person I have become more than my younger self. I was passionate, fired up, fun. I loved learning, and most of these qualities I’ve maintained, perhaps as part of my personality. But I’ve softened in ways I greatly prefer. I’ve learned how and when to communicate more effectively, I’m much better able (and willing) to see another’s perspective, and time has polished and smoothed my rough edges. My body and face show the years I’ve spent here, but isn’t that precisely the point? I’ve had 4 children, I’ve had supportive and loving family and friends, I’ve been divorced, I’ve had wonderful times with song and belly laughs and painful times of sadness and sobbing. I may not have the energy, strength, or perpetual motion of my younger years, but I have peace, the sense to slow down and smell the proverbial roses, and a deep understanding of what actually matters.
Would it not be wonderful to see each other from that standpoint? What has this person been through? How have they developed and coped? Although it is lovely to look at someone pretty and/or handsome, what superficial qualities are we seductively choosing as important if that’s all we see? And what does that say about any of us?
Youth may see being openhearted and compassionate as a weakness, but as we age, generally speaking, I think we embrace what youth curtails. All stages of life have their advantages and their encumbrances. Maybe it’s about enjoying and being grateful for whatever stage we now occupy.