"Pass the Torch":
Over at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield has a terrific post about growing older and staying fresh, ambitious, and engaged. Here's a taste:
  For you generation Y's, or Q's or whatever they call twenty-somethings today, I have a surprise for you. In your mind, you never really get older than about 30. Sure, your eyes don't work as well, and parts of your body hurt in the morning that you never before realized you had, and you can't remember your kids names. But your brain tells you that you're still alive and vital. You try to lift things that will throw your back out for weeks because your brain says you still can.
  There are rights of passage that propel us to move forward. Remember that first kiss? It was electric. You want to feel that charge run through your body again. No, not by cheating on your wife, but by doing something you've never done before. There are a million challenges out there that I have yet to meet and overcome. I want to feel the energy as I stare them down, and the exhilaration as I prove that I can still do anything I set my mind to.
  My mind will always have the accumulated knowledge and experience gained over 50 years, and I can now see how this can be applied to so many new and different things that would not have interested me 25 years ago. So many things are far more fascinating to me today then they were years ago, when my focus was too narrow and my interested muddled. Back then, education was something to put up with as I pushed forward to whatever I would ultimately be. Today, it is like food to a starving man. Why didn't I learn so much more when it was all there for me to partake?
  I'm ready to do it all again, just like everyone else my age. Not a do-over, as I don't want to be 21 again, foolish and ignorant, too full of my self-potential to appreciate the joys of youth and how little I understood about the world. No, I want to do it again knowing everything I know now.
Kieran (mail) (www):
Now get off my lawn.
3.18.2008 2:54am

As the kids say these days, "LOL."
3.18.2008 2:57am
Cornellian (mail):
No, I want to do it again knowing everything I know now.

Wouldn't we all.
3.18.2008 3:02am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

There are rights of passage

3.18.2008 8:06am
That's the sort of stuff that I used to find in Readers' Digest when I was a lad.
3.18.2008 8:51am
Come, my friends.
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
3.18.2008 9:40am
Temp Guest (mail):
Browning said it better:

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be ...
3.18.2008 9:47am
David Chesler (mail) (www):
Youth is wasted on the young. - George Bernard Shaw

(Researching that I found
'Si jeunesse savoit; si vieillesse pouvoit"
- Henri Estienne, 16 c.)
3.18.2008 10:21am
Speech after long silence; it is right,
All other lovers being estranged or dead,
Unfriendly lamplight hid under its shade,
The curtains drawn upon unfriendly night,
That we descant and yet again descant
Upon the supreme theme of Art and Song:
Bodily decrepitude is wisdom; young
We loved each other and were ignorant.
3.18.2008 10:43am
Sk (mail):
And, similarly,

Je couche avec ma fromage.
3.18.2008 10:44am
Clearly the most appropriate reference here is to the following:

poor old Granddad, I laughed at all his words
I thought he was a bitter man
he spoke of women's ways
they'll trap you then they use you
before you even know
for love is blind and you're far too kind
don't ever let it show

I wish that I knew what I know now
when I was younger
I wish that I knew what I know now
when I was stronger

the can-can's such a pretty show
they'll steal your heart away
but backstage back on earth again
the dressing rooms are grey
they come on strong and it ain't too long
before they make you feel a man
but love is blind and you soon will find
you're just a boy again

when you want her lips, you get her cheek
makes you wonder where you are
if you want some more then she's fast asleep
leaves you twinkling with the stars
poor young grandson there's nothing I can say
you'll have to learn, just like me
and that's the hardest way

ooh la la
ooh la la, la la, yeah

I wish that I knew what I know now
when I was younger
I wish that I knew what I know now
when I was stronger
3.18.2008 10:55am
Truth Seeker:
It sounds like he doesn't have a hobby. If your job is your life and your life is your job, sure it gets boring. But if you have a hobby, be it coin collecting, golf, model railroading, or visit all 50 states, you always have something to look forward to.

Happiness is not a destination, it's found in the progress as you work your way to a goal. A hobby allows you to keep setting new goals, keeping yourself always happy.
3.18.2008 11:17am
glangston (mail):
Try and buy a motorcycle and see how the wife takes it....even if she says she's onboard. It's hard to stay young.

It's a dual purpose bike, but I wasn't counting on one purpose being making the wife act poorly.
3.18.2008 11:30am
MarkField (mail):
Bob Dylan was pithier: "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."
3.18.2008 12:05pm
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
A lot of people like to act surprised that they didn't study harder back in the day. I think those people underestimate how boring studying was and would be to them, if they took it up again.
3.18.2008 12:37pm
Studying is boring when you don't control the process and interesting when you do. Two of the main benefits to growing up are getting to choose what to study and having the experience to make that choice meaningful.
3.18.2008 12:44pm
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):

Yeah that's exactly the sort of sentiment that I'm challenging. Maybe studying is the least of all evils, and maybe studying is less boring than the jobs that 9 out of 10 of us will end up in, but remove the economic incentives to study (jobs in academia, resume qualifications, etc), and I think that very very few people would choose studying over actually fun stuff like playing sports, having a social life, having sex, doing drugs, or just sitting in front of the television all day.
3.18.2008 12:52pm
Pyrrhus: Surely the word "study" in your post is almost useless. (Rather like saying "work sucks.") It's the subject of study which often informs the pleasure one derives from it. For a mundane example; go to a Steeler's game sometime and find out how much the ordinary fan has studied the game. "I can't believe Cowher calls a six thirty two end around triple nine with five minutes left in the first half, and Ben's gimpy left knee, and with the wind gusts!" "Yeah, and with two subs in O-line on the weak side against a nickel back D. Outrageous." I'm amazed. Study is essential, almost, to any enjoyment. Study, or scholarship IS leisure, so long as you focus on a self-satisfying subject. I'm skeptical of your skepticism.

3.18.2008 1:12pm
Brian Mac:

"Study, or scholarship IS leisure, so long as you focus on a self-satisfying subject."

You meant college girls, right?
3.18.2008 1:18pm
Randy R. (mail):
wow, for the first time ever on VC, I agree with just about everyone's post! Don't have much more to add, except I agree with the guy's overall sentiments, but the real question is WHY are people so bored? Frankly, anyone who is bored with life and can only get his kicks by cheating on his wife or doing something stupid, is probably a pretty stupid guy to begin with, and so words are wasted upon him.

The vast majority of the people today, who work very hard and remain in low wages, would be very happy to have the luxury of being bored with life. The are so many causes that need volunteers, if you can't find something that interests you, whether it is a cultural activity or social cause, even something as simple as a hobby, then you are pretty darn boring, and I don't really care about those people.
3.18.2008 1:43pm
Randy R. (mail):
"You meant college girls, right?"

Ugh. had a friend a long time ago who is gay, and his only hobby was picking up guys. For some reason, he's not that good looking, but he has this amazing ability to pick up guys all the time, whether they are hetero or homo, married or single, ugly or cute. (Trust me, I've seen him in action. Just walking down the street, he could pick up just about any guy he wanted to). (There are hetero counterparts, of course, men and women who can pick up opposite sex people anytime)

And all he ever talked about was his sexual exploits. After a while, it got so boring to be around him, I dropped him as a friend. I guess it's good to have a hobby, and he never complained about being bored, so good for him, right?
3.18.2008 1:47pm
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):

I would suggest that your definition of "studying" is the truly useless one. If "studying" is whatever we spend our time on then surely sentiments like:

Back then, education was something to put up with as I pushed forward to whatever I would ultimately be. Today, it is like food to a starving man. Why didn't I learn so much more when it was all there for me to partake?

are overwrought, because you could just say to Greenfield that he was studying even after he was in college or his studying wasnt just the classes he was taking.

You are entitled to your different definition of studying but I think that Greenfield was likely understanding a different set of subject materials (something like the liberal arts and sciences). It may be arbitrary to talk about these subjects rather than baseball scores, but I would suggest that Greenfield - and I myself in my first post about hypothetical nostalgics (and those hypothetical nostalgics themselves) - were using this arbitrary distinction. If you insist upon a different definition you are engaging a different question. Probably a valid question, too, just not the same one as I am.
3.18.2008 2:00pm
Pyrrhus -

You've described the studying lots of people HAVE to do, often in their teens and twenties. And they want to go off and do those other things as a BREAK from studying. Watching television all day would get old fast if it were the whole of life rather than a diversion.

But studying things you're passionate about isn't like that at all. There may be an element of hard work -- a musician has to practice scales and things -- but it's all aimed towards something you choose yourself. And if you choose it yourself, then you must get some kind of payoff from it or you wouldn't bother.

Your post suggests that playing sports might be the thing you "study" as you get on in years. Maybe golf, and you know how golfers get.
3.18.2008 2:09pm
Back then, education was something to put up with as I pushed forward to whatever I would ultimately be. Today, it is like food to a starving man. Why didn't I learn so much more when it was all there for me to partake?
Been there, done that. It's painful to ask the question but I always found only one useful answer: You can't do it any younger.

You still have to work at it, but youth and enthusiasm are no match for age and treachery.

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your teeth are beginning to freeze,
Your favorite daughter has wheels in her head,
And the chickens are eating your knees."

"You are right," said the old man, "I cannot deny,
That my troubles are many and great,
But I'll butter my ears on the Fourth of July,
And then I'll be able to skate."
3.18.2008 9:55pm