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If Youth Knew, If Age Could

If only the youth knew more balance and the old more adventure, great things could be achieved
12:00 AM Feb 09, 2024 IST | dr qudsia gani
if youth knew  if age could

This is a popular quote of Sigmund Freud, an influential thinker of the early twentieth century. It is also a popular theme in many essay writing exams, like that of UPSC. It is truly a worthwhile topic to discuss. Let us grill the mind for a while.


There is a general perception that youth does not have the necessary wisdom nor does the age, after gaining the required experience, have the required agility to set and achieve various goals in life. Therefore, one may ask, is failure a self driven phenomenon and are we helpless at it. Or do we need to devise a mechanism to mix up young and old to help and compensate each other to fill the lacuna and get the success. For me it is neither way.


Let us first disregard youthfulness and experience as disjoint entities. They are rather connected and coherent and grow together. It is a continuous realm through which we can choose to evolve beautifully. We can be ageing gracefully like the fine wine which improves in both taste and quality and becomes more appealing and sought-after than ever before.

As we grow with time, we start valuing our experiences more than any prophecies. We begin to attach more importance to worth of people than their assets. We appreciate our own parents a little more. We boast less and boost more. We recall certain things which we regret and which we cannot undo or redo. We are also reminded of our victories and virtues which kept us going and which we must keep reinforced.


We don’t make hurry and yet we usually make more progress. And above all we esteem the friendship of God a little higher. However, all people may not be ripe at a ripe age; some may be as raw as always and some may be rotten by the circumstances. There are all sorts of possibilities. Though, getting old is mandatory but getting mature is optional.


Not all of youth is turbulent, nor are all aged people going in a streamline. Nonetheless, human history is a recurring account of achievements and accomplishments, betterments and business, cooperation and consortium while seeking towards the goal of globalisation or universal brotherhood.


This could not be without youth being sublime and old being strong, quite a number of times. We can dream of anything, however big. As long as it is workable, it is achievable. In an ideal world, everyone would be capable and wise. Youth may engage with their teachers and mentors and may also make enough efforts themselves to be responsible adults.


The enthusiastic youth sometimes overlook the finer details and jeopardise the journey. On the other hand, the old get overcautious and mostly miss the bus. If only the youth knew more balance and the old, more adventure, great things could be achieved.

According to Mark Twain, age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. It took Newton 20 years to develop calculus and during this journey he did not lose the vigour to show to us in the end how all it works.

Similarly, all big scientific and social accomplishments are preceded by a great deal of planning, practice, research and resurge which consumes a great length of time or age and rightly so. For some peculiar themes of life, the age has to be right as well as ripe. We can also take hint from some divinely chosen timings.

It is the point of understanding the difference between growth and differentiation which is not just a concept in life science but is also a subject of deep philosophy. Moreover, our age is also relative to our achievements. If you are 20 years old and have not yet finished your high school, you are quite old. If you are 50 and you are the prime minister of the country, you are quite young.

The retirement of government servants is only a forced decision rather than an optional one or a necessary one. It is necessitated by socio-political and other factors like availability of jobs, employment generation etc. The proactive peers also contribute significantly even after retirement. The sportsmen may not play anymore, but they either start coaching or doing commentaries or open sports training institutes.

If some particular higher age were a dead end in life, how would people be eligible or even desirous to contest elections beyond the age of 60 or 65. After all, they are going to take up the biggest task, that of running the state. Given the growing ease in life with advances in technology and research, staying young has become more likely.

Longevity and vigour have improved dramatically, than before. People manage to marry and settle into some kind of life even at a late age. We can always manage a long term mind-body balance. We have some living examples of such people around us. Some of them, for example, have earned the entitlement of president until death in their respective countries.

Gaining wisdom and maturity is however independent of technology. It only comes from the intangible realm of conscience, an inner intricate network of thoughts and ideas. Getting conscious should be the aim. It has to be a self desire and should be self done for self help.

Getting to the suburbs of conscience is painful as well as promising. It gets us to the ultimate truth, the ultimate reality and the ultimate success. Be active and agile. Stay young while getting old.

Dr. Qudsia Gani, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physics Govt. Degree College, Pattan.