Monday, August 10, 2009

Gimme the beat boys

I saw a spot on TV this morning about a sixteen year old girl who had stopped growing -- and apparently aging -- at about six months. Her doctor was talking about the hope of someday "turning off aging" and giving everyone an indeterminate lifespan.

I have two problems with this. First of all, we have enough people already, without everyone living forever. Perhaps more personally important, the girl apparently stopped developing when she stopped aging. She still had the mental capacity of a nine month old.

I was reminded the other day by an old friend that a group of us used to sing "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Drift Away" while getting ready for football practice in junior high. A few years later, I was singing "We Will Rock You" with a different bunch of young men in the back of a 44 ft. trailer while we loaded lighting equipment. There was joy that only the young can feel. At the same time, other friends were killing themselves, by accident and on purpose. That amazing range of emotions is driven by youthful hormones and exuberance, but also untempered by the perspective that experience brings.

Wisdom and joy both come at a price. I would love to have my 20 year old body back, but I don't think I would like the insecurity and loneliness that went with. Everything I have learned (and I read a lot) indicates that life is a process, and we interfere with that process at our peril. If we could stop aging, what age would you pick? Twenty? Forty? Something else? I might have to go with seven. I could read when I was seven, and I was no longer forced to take naps, but I didn't have a lot of responsibilities yet.

In the end, I think I will stay on the journey until it ends. Every year has brought surprises and new insights, and I think there is still more for me to learn.

1 comment:

  1. i'd settle on 38. with both the post cancer rack and the lessons i learned on that ride... old enough to know whazzup, with a body young enough to do what i want...