Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
Stanisław Jerzy Lec
Youth is characterized by adventure and immaturity, whereas old age is often accompanied by wisdom and caution. While youth is mostly about committing mistakes (and enjoying them), maturity is all about straightening those mistakes out (and acting like they never happened). These two contrasting phases of life are as different as the blissful spring and the lethargic fall. Unsurprisingly, most people would rather stay young all their lives than step into their chair days. After all, nobody likes to see wrinkles take over their once-cherished face and illnesses force their body into dependency upon their near and dear ones, right?
Well, not quite.
You see, youth is more or less common to all human beings; it is just a stage in our lives. Aging gracefully – and the maturity that comes with it – is more down to the experiences we had back in our youth, both good and bad. While we cannot pass on our youth to anyone (not sure if most people would even want to), the wisdom derived from our experiences can definitely be shared with the next generation. Interestingly, it is this very wisdom that we often call philosophy, isn’t it?
Obviously, this is not to suggest that one’s youth is insignificant as compared to the golden years of their life. What this rather means is that, contrary to popular belief, the often-abhorred old age is as important as adolescence. This stage of our life works more like an alarm bell, letting us know that it is time to start giving back to our community and family – both in terms of our physical and philosophical legacy. Baron Stanisław Jerzy de Tusch-Letz, popularly known as Stanisław Jerzy Lec, even compared old age to a work of art. The Polish poet, who was particularly renowned for his aphorisms, once said: “Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.”