What if we could stay young?
If you go to St. Augustine, Florida you can visit Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth (https://goo.gl/pzgaZ6). The story behind Ponce de Leon’s search for the fountain of youth has never been proven. But that doesn’t stop Florida from sharing that water for you to taste.
Now imagine, if you will, that you could remain young. At what age would you choose to remain? What’s interesting about this question is that you can look at it from multiple perspectives. You can look at it from a physical perspective, pick an age and from that point on you will stay in the same physical state, in both appearance and stamina. You can look at it from a memory perspective. Pick an age and you will have all the memories and events up to that time and continue from there. How about an experience and capability perspective? Pick an age and you will be old enough to do certain things (vote, marry, have kids). And what if you are old now? Would taking that sip retain what you already have (relatives, friends, knowledge, memories) and just revert you to a younger you? All these things need to be determined before you take that sip.
Getting older isn’t the same as growing up.
I asked a few of my colleagues during lunch if they could stay young, what age would they like to be. Pretty much all of them chose the memory and experience route. The average age they chose was in their mid-30s. Usually, because they had already married and had all of the kids that they have now. They had resolved a lot of personal issues with the people that they lived with and felt that that was a good time in their lives.
I also asked a 5th grade class the same question. Their answers varied a lot, from being the age they are now, because they had few responsibilities, to somewhere between 18-20, because they would have learned a lot and would be allowed to do more things, to late 20s where they could have a family, and finally one girl said, “I don’t want to stay young. I want to keep growing and learning.”
I didn’t mention to either group that picking an age that would want to be, would stop you from continuing to learn more, or change the memory/experiences you already had, or that you couldn’t change your lifestyle, get married, have more kids, etc. But it seemed everyone interpreted it that you would go back in time to that age without anything that came after it.
In my concept of staying young, you would still chronologically age. The activities that you participated would be commensurate with the young age you chose to be, but you still could get hurt, get diseases, and die. It just wouldn’t be age related.
For myself, I’m not sure what age I would like to be at. Certainly, I would like to be young enough to continue playing sports, which I can’t do now. Mid-30s would work for that. But I would also want to make sure that I met and married my wife and also had my son to raise. That would raise it to mid-30s to low-40s. Now if I could ensure that I met my wife and had my son in my late-20s, that would be a lot more palatable. However, if you add the jobs that I’ve had and what I liked doing, you’re talking mid-30s-50s. Too many choices. Whatever I choose, my personality wouldn’t change.
So what about you, the reader? If you were given the opportunity to drink from the Fountain of youth and revert to any particular age of your youth, would you take a drink?
And, What if the people around you, chose not to?