In my culture, we try to pretend we don’t have to make the deal. But we do.
With the passage of years, we pass from our youth. And if we are wise, we make a sound bargain for what comes in return.
But in my culture, most don’t.
First, they try to refuse the inevitable. They cling to youth and the appearance of youth into their 30s, 40s, 50s, with dress, with makeup, with squats and sit-ups, with various useless patent cures designed to make them continue to seem young.
But the reality is, we have no choice. Unless you are going to die young, you are going to trade your youth–your looks, your strong, pain-free body, your stamina–for something else as you age.
So when it is beyond refusal–when it’s truly too late and middle age is apparent–they make the fools’ bargain: Youth for wealth and comfort: for things.
It’s a choice.
But it’s a hollow one.
It’s very hard, in a world filled with commercial bombardment about the importance of youth and the importance of owning things, to get beyond this illusion. To understand that as we leave our Pretty Period, we enter our Power Period. And there, we can find something far more valuable than riches and creature comforts.
We can find wisdom.
Youth for wisdom.
For a deepening understanding of how to be joyful and effective and compassionate and kind, how to find meaning in moments steadily growing, and connections that extend deeper and wider than youthful you could imagine.
Now there is a valid transaction: a bargain worth making.
So if you’re in your 20s, and reading this…or your 30s, or 40s, or 50s like me…take a moment and think: what am I trading the passage of my youth for?
Who am I now?