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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Leaving Well Enough Alone

If you could live to be 100, but could retain either the body or the mind of a 30-year-old, which would you choose?  Why?  (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, p.1685.

When I look back to when I was thirty, I see much anxiety and not a little unhappiness.  This came from deep-seated fears that I would not be able to measure up in my career or in my personal life.  The world offered many challenges, and I was filled with self-doubt.  Now that I’m sixty-eight, these dark fears have cleared and as I inexorably approach death ironically I see sunny skies.  The anxieties, the “nervousness” of being young and restless has greatly diminished.  I find my current level of contentment, self-confidence, and self-acceptance producing a much preferable state of mind.  Thus at 100, I would far prefer having my current mind within the body of a 30-year-old.  An interesting question is even if doable, would this be wise; to what extent was my “nervousness” a product of the hormones and neural circuits of a 30-year-old?  In short, would retaining the body of necessity entail retaining an unsettled mental state?  If I had the body of 30, would I simply discount what I have attained and up the ante with new ambitions and mountains to climb that in my present configuration I do not contemplate or even conceive?  Would my former anxieties and unhappiness thus return with a vengeance?  Sometimes when I get up in the morning feeling arthritis in my bones, I think I would be willing to chance it anyway.  

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