When you hang out with young people you stay young.
But at what cost?
Ok, let’s start over.
New beginnings for new days of new weeks in new lives.
I have this friend. This gay friend.
His name is Kenneth.
He is near thirty and has some trouble finding a boyfriend.
He keeps, like me, falling in love with the wrong kind of boys. Not wrong in the wrong kind of sense but wrong in the way that they are too young, too inexperienced, too insecure, too straight or any other kind of ‘too’ that is in a field that Kenneth actually –deep down inside- doesn’t need.
If we would step back and look at this life from a distance and with a cold heart, things would be easy. We would give him a nice job, the kind where he meets lots of new people and that is right in his line of thinking. We could give him some new hobbies, ones that will let him interact with some peers and that still fit into what he likes to do and subscribe him to a dating site with guys who seek some real relationships instead of guys who just seek the easy gratification through sex. Just in case he doesn’t runs into the right guy at work or someplace else. I’m sure those site must exist, and if they don’t, we’ll build them. There have to be people like him out there.
But our hearts are not cold.
Which is good, because if they were, we would lose all compassion for what the people around us would really love and want.
So we look at Kenneth’s life again.
Twenty-nine and still not quite finished with college. Working a nine to five job at a company helpdesk that will dull his mind if he keeps doing it for too long. And spending his time at a youth club where all the people are five or more years younger than he is. Where he finds fulfilment and friends and participates in all he can get his time and hands on because he wants to feel needed. He is appreciated and, as being human and in need of appreciation, he like that. In the whole scheme of things his life might be not moving forward, but there is gratification. And there are boys. Lots of boys, to hug and fall in love with. He falls in love and wanders his mind if this can be the one. But most of the time they turn out to be lovely and wonderful and young and temporary.
We as his friends, love and stand by him.
We comfort if he feels insecure and give good advice when asked or needed. And, all in all, he feels usually fine. Change is hard and he is used to his life the way it is. And, besides that, he doesn’t really know what to do about it anyway.
Being a member of any youth club when getting older is a way to stay young.
Staying young had lots of benefits. You are not burdened with all the tiny little things that peers who have a life, house, dog and kids have and don’t get trenched in thoughts about nothing else than mortgage issues and who drives the kids to soccer practice. You don’t become your narrow minded mother, father or neighbour and continue to focus on the sparkly side of life and all the principals you still think are worth something cause that’s what you do when you are young.
But you forget that you are getting older.
And you fail to see the joy that could be in a sturdy life with a steady relationship and a nice picket fence. Because I really believe that white picket fences have their joys too.
A different kind, but joy nonetheless.
Besides, millions of people seem to be quite content with it.
So what should we do?
How does one acquire a civil life?
How do you break with old habits for a whole new world you know little about?
And should you anyway?
Staying young seems good.
Staying young is familiar.
I think I’ll stay young.
Costs be damned.