Nearly everyone, at some point in this life, will undertake some kind of quest for their own youth and vitality. The mid-life crisis, the soul-finding travels, and so on are all means of finding our best selves; and often, our best self means our young self. Men have been so fixated on the idea of youthfullness, they looked for a literal fountain of it in the new world. After all, life is full of possibilities when we’re young. Seemingly limitless opportunity, bound only by our willingness to reach out and take them!
At some point everyone also reaches a place where they feel old. It might be when you pay your first bills, or when you get married, or when you find yourself suddenly bearing the resposibility of being the adult in the room. For me, it was coaching a swim team and watching these athletes do what I used to do. I never really felt old until I was on the other side of the coaching coin, giving advice instead of taking it. Even though I’m only a few years older than my athletes, my perception of the difference is much larger.
Redefining Young and Old
A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
– John Barrymore
My goal here is to redefine the idea of “old”. Read the quote above. We spend so much time and effort trying to capture youth, like lightening in a bottle. The truth is that youth is more akin to a wave – it is always pushing, always moving in one direction or another. Being old is really a matter of being still. When you have no more goals, no more dreams, and you come to a rest, is truly being old.
Those who wish to feel young need not only feel it. They can be young. The real Fountain of Youth isn’t a matter turning back of years gone by. Those who keep dreaming will never be old.