Perusing through The Daily Post’s assortment of writing prompts, I came across two that seem to be in the same vein and were both asked earlier this week (two days apart, in fact). The prompt dated August 30 asked if you would drink from a fountain of youth if one existed, while the September 1 prompt inquired which age group you’d want to live as forever if given the chance (child, adolescent, or adult).
Since I do think these are related, I’ll combine my response to both here. First off, when I think of the legend of a Fountain of Youth, or more precisely the fountain itself, I think of two things, the first of which being its potential to restore vitality and vigor. I turned 46 one month ago and, sadly, am not getting any younger. My waistline seems a little bigger and my thighs a little thicker than I want to think they were in younger days (though I always try to improve the abs when exercising); plus, my face seems to have more lines than it used to (*sigh*). So, if there were some sort of fountain of youth somewhere, I figure a little sip would help shave some of that cellulite and eliminate a few of those wrinkles. Perhaps that sip of spring water would at least help motivate me to exercise and eat better. Hey, you never know.
There’s another literal definition of “youth restoration” I think of when I hear of the Fountain of Youth, in that a swig of water from that spring would actually change an older person’s body back into that of a youngster. That old-to-young change was actually the plot of a Saturday morning TV show I recall seeing as a kid. The live action comedy was titled Big John, Little John, and the gist of it was this: A school science teacher, vacationing with his family in Florida, stumbles across the Fountain of Youth. He takes a little sip from the spring, which results in his spontaneous changing back-and-forth from age 40 to age 12. Hilarity ensues (as does a life lesson or two, since it’s Saturday morning TV). Yeah, the show wasn’t rocket science, but Big John, Little John was actually the first time I had ever heard of the Fountain of Youth legend. (“You mean it’s only a legend? Rats! And I was hoping Mom would take us on vacation there next summer.”)
So, the question would then be whether I would stay being “Big Jane” or take a swig from the Fountain of Youth and change permanently into “Little Jane.” (I would say “John,” but this is a feminine nom de guerre I’m writing with here.) Which leads to the second Daily Post response: Which age group would I want to live forever as, if given the chance? Well, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, growing up, especially as 12-year-old, wasn’t the most fun experience I’ve had (teasing and awkwardness in school, a cranky stepfather and evil ugly stepbrother to deal with, et cetera), meaning my beginning to dress up around that age served as a respite. So, I wouldn’t want to choose or have the privilege to live forever as a kid. I wouldn’t want to live forever as an adolescent either; yeah, it would be fun to be a part of Tiger Beat‘s target audience until the end of time, but the high school life could be the pits. (I would be tempted to go back and change that life, but that’s another fantasy.)
Which leaves adulthood… or rather, young adulthood. There’s something about the adventures and learning experiences of being in your 20s. As I’ve described before here, my early 20s were a time when I learned my lessons but had the freedom and wide-open spaces to make those teachable mistakes. Being a young adult forever, for me, would help preserve that wide-eyed wonder I had at that age, even when combined with the wisdom I’ve gained since then. The amazement of a young human experience would forever be at my access. Of course, being young would also mean that I could still rock some amazing outfits without anyone taking me to task for not acting my mature age (though I do keep the belief that age is just a number).
So, to sum up, if drinking from the Fountain of Youth were to preserve me at a certain age forever more, I would freely dive into that spring… but only to an extent. I wouldn’t want to forever be “Big Jane,” “Little Jane,” or even “Insecure Teenage Jane.” For me, “Young Adult with a Forever Bright Future Jane” would suit me fine.