We have all heard it before, Sixty is the new Forty, and now, the recent corollary, Fifty is the new thirty. Well, having turned 51 this past March, I am taking objection. Yes, that's right, you heard me: I am fifty, dammit, and I don't want to be thirty again. Being thirty again would mean I would have to give away 20 years of hard-earned experience, and I am not willing to do that. Being 30 again would also mean I have to: Throw out two decades of learning and knowledge. Hell NO! Wipe clean nearly a quarter century of memories, both good and bad. Nahhhh. I earned every grey hair and wrinkle, and I am going to keep them. There is a greater point here, though, (and sooner or later I am going to get around to making it.)
We live in a culture that is dominated by youth. If you need evidence of this, just turn on the TV. In less than one program, you will be assaulted by advertisements promising you that you can look younger, feel younger, and, yes, even be younger. (Just order before midnight tonight.) Not convinced? Try checking out of the grocery store. Look ten years younger in just a week! Who do you see on the cover of those glossy magazines?
Yup, you guessed it, a half-dozen supermodels and actresses, all in their teens or twenties. Still not convinced? Turn on your computer, switch on your radio, read the paper, and think younger, dress younger, act younger.
The question is: Why? Why are we so obsessed with youth? I have my guesses, as I am sure you do as well, but I wanted to focus on something else, namely, what we are giving up on when we focus so much on youth. There is a sacrifice inherent in our culture's youth obsession, and that sacrifice is that we don't rely on experience, wisdom, and knowledge as much as we should. This is a steep price to pay, and the sad fact is that many people don't even realize we are paying it.
I could go on, but the soap box I am standing on is teetering, so I will make just one last point. I am fifty-one, and I want to be fifty-one (until next March when I turn fifty-two.) I had less grey hair and fewer wrinkles when I was thirty, but I had less perspective, and I find the added perspective lends itself to being more content in my own (more wrinkled) skin.
Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and THE INTERN, a novel loosely based on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons, the literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of two tribes on Triberr, The Big Thrill and Fiction Writers. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at email@example.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at firstname.lastname@example.org.