Tag Archives: Housman

Youth is sometimes wasted on the young

Youth is sometimes wasted on the young; they do not realize that too soon youth fades with the sunset.  Mae West once said, “You are never too old to  become younger.” Feeling youthful may be a state of mind. Some people never grow old; their attitude is that of Ms.West exactly. I guess one can argue that it depends on how one feels physically as well. We are all vulnerable to the onset of the ailments that are associated with growing older. But maybe it is about acquiring the Peter Pan attitude of not wanting to grow old and more importantly not bothering with the concept of growing up either.

These concepts are unrealistic of course but intriguing and inviting. An important factor of Peter’s existence is that “without a memory, he cannot gain knowledge from his experiences and therefore cannot grow up.”

As we grow older though we tend to cling to the memory of youth. We want to restore those memories in scrap books and go back to old journal entries just to try to remember. The “way we were” is most times the best of who we are now or who we long to be perhaps.

I always wonder about what age I would be if I did not know exactly what age I am. Imagine not being able to look at yourself in the mirror to gauge your age. Imagine not having any frame of reference at all in order to estimate your chronological age. Personally, I would be stuck on one and twenty. A special age to be in life. I speak from experience of course. I remember a poem by Housman that goes like this:

WHEN I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;

Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free.’
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
‘The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
‘Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue.’

And I am two-and-twenty,

And oh, ‘tis true, ‘tis true.

Sometimes youth is wasted on the young. I need to explore what I really mean by this. But in the meantime I invite you to help me explore the idea. And no I am not a bitter old woman trying to be young again nor am I seeking the truth in my middle age.  I simply feel that sometimes youth is wasted on the young. That is all.