I have that song, “We Are Young” by Fun, in my head today. Actually I kind of have the song, “We Are Not Young”, in my head. That’s what put the song there anyway. It’s a parody…
The crazy thing is that I keep switching into this other song, “The Youth Of The Nation” by P.O.D., that has a chant in it, “We are, we are…”. Go figure. The brain works in weird ways. It links things together without our full cooperation. On top of that, we aren’t allowed to know everything. We are only given this small perspective with which to make profound choices that affect our lives(and others’).
It just isn’t fair. We aren’t perfect. Both of these songs say something about being young. They have different takes on the subject. But they both seem to rally behind being young. They both talk of mistakes. Both songs are a call for companionship.
In a way, we are always young, when it comes to the themes of these songs. We are all just a bit deluded and innocent, even if we think otherwise, perhaps especially if we think otherwise. And at the end of the day, we all want or need companionship.
So, young or old, everybody makes mistakes and wants to feel connected. Our brains are cross-wired. We want to be perfect; but we aren’t allowed. We make decisions based on limited perceptions. We form these decisions into patterns or habits. Yet, we constantly have to adapt to a new set of rules, new perceptions. We want attention; yet want to be left alone. We are crazy. The world is crazy. Nothing makes sense. Cats and dogs living together. If I were a cartoon, I’d have stars revolving around my head.
As an adult, though, I have to be sensible. I can’t focus on that insanity. Kids can. The young can write songs about it. They can afford to take a philosophy class or wax poetic about the pangs of love. The grown-ups have to work, right? We have to face the facts; put our nose to the grindstone. We can’t afford the luxury of trial and error, of a “what if” attitude.
Grown-ups, old people cannot mess up. We are more forgiving of youth’s mistakes. Youth is defined by the potential. At some point, learning isn’t the priority. As an adult, potential gives way to performance. Potential implies options or variables. Performance implies a decision, a fixed course of action (career choice, anyone?).
When we say that we want to lose weight, as an example, we are stating that we want to change our previous behavior. Our previous behavior is not serving us now. We want something else. By saying something like that, we are announcing a desire. This desire creates potential. But actually losing the weight is where performance comes in.
The world requires us, young or old, to make changes to our behavior. We must adapt. It just seems that the older we get, the more obstacles we face in this existence. Habits, responsibilities, energy, and a million other things get in our way of changing our behavior. Performance is work. Behavior change is work. Let’s face it.
But I think the difference between someone who says something and doesn’t follow through and someone else who does is the perspective of youth, of potential. If we see ourselves as set in stone or without energy or, the saddest perspective, not worth the work, we are old. We’re, perhaps not consciously, looking forward to death.
…”Looking forward”, that is where it starts. That’s the first action, the first behavior. That is our perspective, however limited. That is what sees or doesn’t see potential. We are not our behavior. I’m not exactly sure what we are. But to say that we are our perspective might be a little closer to the truth.
A segue to next week’s blog…
Life is activity. Behavior change is activity. Just as most of us adults don’t eat our boogers or throw tantrums anymore, we can change our behavior. And we should, if needed. But how do we know if we need to change our behavior? That’s a whole other topic for another day.
Enjoy your May Day!