Youth is wasted on the young


There is a bit of controversy as to who actually first came up with the saying “Youth is wasted on the young”– George Bernard Shaw or Oscar Wilde. Frankly I don’t care. However, it is one of my favorite quotes and absolutely true. So, I now pose the thought provoking question to you–is youth wasted on the young? I’m sure if you are under 30 years old, you would say no. However, if you’re over 50, I bet the answer is yes.

Generally as we age through worldly experience, we become wiser and more prepared to handle the challenges of everyday living. Our overall knowledge grows as we refine our social skills and adapt to “real life.” Wouldn’t it be fantastic to possess these adult qualities at the tender age of 18? All of these traits would greatly aid the maturing process as we clumsily stumbled into adulthood. This simple adage is so straightforward, yet proves almost undeniable. Of course youth is wasted on the young- -what else is new. When hearing these words spoken, it stirs in me thoughts of days gone by.

When I mentally travel back to my feral youthful days, recollections of overlooked opportunities and squandered time saturate my mind. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my years growing up and had a grand old time in my 20’s. However, if I could relive it now, with the knowledge I have acquired and the benefit of my life experiences, wow, what a thrill ride that would be.

I’m sure most of you have given some thought to the things you would do differently if somehow you could be transported back in time to some point in your youth. Of course then the obvious question becomes, if you could, would you? Well, would you? And if so, what exact point in your life would you choose and for what purpose. I’ve often asked friends this stimulating question and have been somewhat surprised at their answers. Many responded “no, I wouldn’t go back.” I do realize this query is an exercise in futility. However, I will pose the question to you again, would you? Stop reading this article and answer to yourself. You don’t have to share it with anyone, but honestly would you go back in time and what day would you pick to return to?

There’s been a host of movies produced on this tantalizing subject because it’s so provocative. Also, many songs have been recorded tackling the theme of youth and reminiscing about those glory days. I do believe “Time,” the fourth track from the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd’s 1973 album “The Dark Side of the Moon” says it best.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way

Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town

Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain

And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you

No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking

Racing around to come up behind you again

The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time

Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way

The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say.

If I could go back in time I’d return to my first day of 6th grade at Fulton Elementary School. At recess I would approach Susan Gilmore, sitting demurely on a swing and say, “Hi Susan, I’m Pete. Will you go steady with me?”

Pete Whalon, author of “The Siagon Zoo” has called Southern California home since age five.

Youth is wasted on the young