Of Youth and Possibilities
When I worked at Clemson I ended up walking across the campus several times today. While I did so I could not help but notice it was filled with …..young people (yes, I can see the obvious). More specifically I meant I noticed the young virile bodies. Nearly to a person they bodies of undergraduates are supple, smooth and full of latent sexuality. And even those who feel themselves to be drab, overweight or just unattractive, are in fact extremely potent sexual symbols.
OK- I’ll exclude the freshman guys who have yet to need to shave more than once a month. LOL. I was one of those guys….. 40 years ago.
It is easy to see why many middle aged people resent the young and do their best to suppress the public display of their sexual vigor. A whole bottle of Viagra wouldn’t let me do what nearly all of those young guys can do, all night every night. All the facelifts and tummy tucks in the world won’t make a 50 year old woman’s skin as soft and smooth as the most common overlooked co-ed on this campus.
Oddly, as I noticed an endless parade of young women who just oozed sexuality, I didn’t find myself lusting or wanting them. A few I would love to have in front of my camera lens to be sure, but to be with then sexually, no. Now I know there are plenty of middle aged men who would give up about anything to bed a college co-ed, but that’s just not me. Rather than lusting I found them fascinating, like animals in their habitat. Of course to them I’m no more real than the bronze man sitting on the park bench outside my office.
I found myself asking myself “Do they know what a special gift they have in their youthful bodies?” Do they realize that one day they will look in the mirror and their mother or father will look back at them? If they did have a better sense of the fleeting nature of this special time in their life, what would they do differently? If I could be them…… first would I? and if I could and would , how would I act?
If I were asked if I could be transformed into a 21 year old would I take the opportunity? No. I don’t even have to think on that one. I may not be rich or powerful; however, would I willingly give up my family to be young again. Never.
However, if I woke up tomorrow and I found myself having been reassigned a new 21 year old identity, how would I behave differently than I did over the past nearly four decades? Hmmm? It might make a good short story. Some things I would not change. I have never been a drinker or a recreational drug user. I don’t think that would change. My values and life commitments have changed little over the decades, and I wouldn’t see those change either. I would repeat my travels in life such as obtain my master’s degree in my 20’s and my military service, though I would have pursued my PhD much earlier. What I would surely do is have more sex. Rather I should say I would have the knowledge and confidence to have more sex. But, that being said, I would still be tempered by my belief that predates my own early 20’s that sex should never ever by exploitive. The idea of bedding a girl being some sort of conquest is simply alien to me.
I think I would have no trouble moving into the casual sex world of the young adult. And… I would be willing to explore my sexual options that I didn’t even know were possibilities back then. No question I would be not shy away from sexual opportunities with other males than I have been. Not that I could imagine myself a 50-50 kind of person, but I could certainly see myself comfortable with 85-90% female bedmates and 10-15% male bedmates. I would still likely marry and though non-monogamy would be a feature from day one. Like I said I don’t think I’d be a predator, but I would make it clear from the beginning that my girlfriend/wife owned her own body and was free to use it how she wanted , when she wanted and with whom she wanted. After all, being a bottom is not a function of my age, but of my temperament. When Paula worked at Victoria’s Secret nearly every one of the young women she knew said she would kill to have a boyfriend/husband that would give her the freedom to have sex with others. The truth is I am quite sure monogamy is enforced by men, not by women in our world.
Now, if I were to wake up a young female, it would change things. First I wouldn’t become a lesbian. I would imagine myself having that same 85-90% heterosexual sexual lifestyle with only 10-15% lesbian content. Moreover, as young females have easy access to all the sex they want, I could see myself getting into real trouble by eating up the male attention and quickly developing a well-deserved slutty reputation. If I were to wake up young again though, it would be only a matter of time before I got something like gonorrhea of the throat from swallowing gobs of semen (no matter if I were a male or female). So perhaps it’s good I won’t wake up a young.
All that to say, young people are so beset by anxiety and self-doubt that they miss so much of the joy of life that is open to them. Though I was talking about sex before, in truth it is not just sex, but a whole host of things that are not available to “mature adults” are easily accessible to young people. Anxieties about status, prestige and seeking to have things that come later in life hinder young people like a plague. The wisdom to appreciate those things sadly seems to come with age though.
On the other hand, knowing that we humans will be middle aged and/or old far longer than we will hold our youth, planning for the future would not be forgotten; but it should be kept in perspective. Choices we make in our teens and twenties can indeed foreclose opportunities later; but most do not. So many things we can do no matter our age, but there are some things that only are available in the blush of youth. Young people need not rush into the stable predictable kind of life that are necessary for raising children and then become even more important as we age. I don’t know anyone who looks back and says “I wish I’d not hiked through Europe” or “I shouldn’t have tried out new ways of living or loving.” Regret is only present when poor choices were made within that freedom of experimentation. . I love the new idea of “gap year” as a planned time for freedom between high school and beginning career or college. We live a long time, an extra year won’t one bit of difference when you are my age.
So to my younger readers I say as Miss Frizle says “Go out and take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”
Or in context of this blog, “Go out love often, love much and don’t worry about being conventional.”