Chasing Contentment by Erik Reymond, Free for CAPC Members
In Chasing Contentment, Erik Reymond identifies the lie that satisfaction and contentment come through consumption.
Each week in On the Other Hand, Ben Bartlett defies the common wisdom and identifies the other side of the story of cultural hot-topic issues.
I get it. Youth is exciting. Youth means potential. Youth means energy and vibrancy and possibility. Youth means first loves, new emotions, political passion, and a host of other technicolor perspectives on the world.
And I get that with age comes jealousy. As David Brooks said in his NY Times column today, “Nearly every sensible middle-aged person would give away all their money to be able to go back to age 22 and begin adulthood anew.”
But here’s what confuses me. Why are we still surprised by this?
In just under 30 years of life, I have heard an unending series of questions, studies, jokes, arguments, rifs, and proclamations about the young. Fine. We’re obsessed with wishing we were young.
But why do we keep talking about it? Humans all have the desire to achieve, and we almost all fall short of our dreams in one way or another. Youth represents (and will likely always represent) two things in our minds; the potential to achieve dreams and the memory of a more vivid world to achieve it in. So we’re jealous. But so what?
If you want to write a column or an essay about the emotions and experiences of youth, go for it. Complain that kids today don’t know how good they’ve got it. Talk about how you’d live your life differently if you were young.
But can we please, please stop talking and writing about the fact that we are obsessed with youth? We just are. It’s human. Stop being surprised.
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