This is one of those essays I occasionally write that get no hits. Usually I don’t even publish them to the blog. It’s a Sunday night and I’m tired. I write this trying to capture how I feel, which is old, but how does one put that into words? When I was young and met old people trying to recapture their youth I thought they were pathetic. I knew they wanted young bodies and youthful vitality, but I didn’t know how it felt to have an old body or what it meant to be old. I heartlessly felt no empathy for them, and now the chickens have come home to roost.
My two days of freedom from work are about over, and I feel depressed that I have only three hours to accomplished something but I’m too tired to do anything other than to write this. I saw two tragic romantic movies this weekend, Anna Karenina and The Royal Affair – so I think I’ve overdosed on watching beautiful people leading passionate young lives, which makes me feel even older and more worn out than I actually am.
But you know what the weird thing is? My mind is just as ambitious as ever. The pain in my back and legs grows as I stand or walk, and I’m only good for about ten minutes of activity, but I daydream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. My dick has reached those hilarious ED years but it still has an ambitious role in my idle thoughts, sort of like daydreaming what you’d do if you won the $500 million dollar lottery. In other words, why should I think critically of people looking for the fountain of youth at the end of a plastic surgeon’s scalpel. Nor should I think “dinosaur rock” when I see that The Rolling Stones and The Who touring again.
Like George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young,” because you REALLY don’t know what the hell he meant until you get old.
That’s the vexing thing about life, we all keep trying to be young way beyond our youth. None of us want to just give up and die. I’m reminded of a Vaughn Bode underground comic I read back in the 1970s, about a little cartoon creature that had been captured by an enemy who cut off his arms and legs, poked out his eyes, and left him in a dungeon. In the final panel the little disfigured cartoon creature whispered to his fellow prisoner, “I’m going to escape when they go to sleep.” In other words, we don’t give up no matter how pathetic and wrinkled we get. Just pass the Viagra, Botox and amphetamines – we’re all Joe Gideon from All That Jazz until our hearts blow a gasket.
Now, is that pathetic or heroic?
You know what though? I’m pretty sure I’ve written this all before, maybe even using the same words, quotes and similes, but my old fucking mind thinks its new. Ha-ha. Maybe we lose our memories so won’t just give up in frustration!
I still can’t capture in words what it means to feel old but think young, other than to say, “Tomorrow I’m going to buy an electric guitar and become another 1965 Bob Dylan,” or maybe I’ll join NASA and convince them geezers belong on Mars. Or maybe I’ll just write a book about a 61-year-old ex-astronaut who buys an electric guitar to become a rock star.
I never did like that crazy witch Scarlett O’Hara, but she did have it right, “Tomorrow is another day.”
[Wow, I still have 90 minutes of weekend freedom to do something still.]
JWH – 12/9/12
10 thoughts on “Rejuvenation Delusions–Searching for the Fountain of Youth”
Get some vitamins, Viagra and take 2400 mg. ibuprofen a day. Don’t watch sad movies. Listen to energetic music. Get out in the sunshine. Prozac might help too.
Luckily, depression isn’t one of my symptoms, although many people think my writing sounds depressed. I’m guess I’m physically depressed by my body and energy levels, but not mentally depressed.
I’m always listening to energetic music. I’m playing “Cowgirl in the Sand” by Neil Young as I type. I also like to play it loud.
While I always enjoy your posts, this is one of the best you’ve put out in a while IMO. My hat off to ya Jim. Have a great week!
I never know which post is good or not. I’m always surprised by what people like. But thanks for the compliment. I hope people reading this hop over to your blog Jason, because you’re always discussing an intellectually stimulating subject.
I can definitely relate. I wake up every day determined to write a book or further my career and then most days it’s 1 in the morning and I realize I’ve been facebooking and watching videos on Youtube or reading a book and I never got to what I wanted to do at the beginning of the day. Also, tonight, I have a half written blog and was thinking about finishing it after checking out some blogs and doing some message boarding. Will I get to it?…there is always tomorrow…or as your blog implies, until there isn’t. But at least we’re both having fun, right?
Good post Jim and next time don’t think so much on whether to press that publish button or not. Be young and just do it.
Personally I think it is a gift to think young, and dream young, even as one’s body gets and feels older. Think of the alternative! There are things we can do to live more healthy lives physically that certainly won’t reverse the effects of aging but can ease the feelings of pain and “oldness” and regardless what age one decides to start doing those things there is all kinds of evidence out there that it helps, sometimes tremendously.
I don’t fault people for going under the knife for plastic surgery, but I do often feel feelings of sadness for them because I often wonder what the state of their emotions is and how they are doing psychologically, especially the more extreme the surgery gets. I think a lot depends on whether or not a person is chasing “youth” or striving after just feeling the best they possibly can. I know that is what motivated me to start eating better and working out. I didn’t like the way my body felt as much as I didn’t like the way I was looking. I was seeing the effects of being overweight on my cholesterol and blood pressure and sex drive and then those things of course starting acting on your thoughts too.
I hope I always feel the way I do now, like a twenty year old in an ever-aging body. Yes, it will make for some frustrating times when my body cannot perform what my still firing mind and desires want it to perform, but I’d rather still have that drive and ambition and that young mind.
Write that novel … and the sequels. Geezers in space rule, and I want to read them. 🙂 Auxiliary memory is a great blog, Jim, and it’s so you. Keep downloading. oxox
… or should I have said “uploading”?