When we were young

From time to time we meet to measure our states of mind against one another. We’ve done this at least once a year for two decades no matter where in the world and how far apart we’ve been. No one else will do. It has to be us because we’re part of each other. When we were young we wanted to go to the dogs and drag each other down. After we moved apart we wanted to disappear in solitude. We’re bonded for good or ill and have to meet from time to time. One will contact the other. If we don’t meet we both feel we won’t know ourselves fully. When we were young we were stupid and we knew we were stupid. We knew we were callow and to make sure we knew it our elders told us over and over again. But we couldn’t help cringing at ourselves. We wanted to get older so we could benefit from our hard-won experience. And now that we’re growing older it’s as we knew it would be when we were younger. We look back on our younger selves and cringe and are thankful that we’ve grown older and can benefit from our hard-won experience. And as we look back on our youth our lives become fresher because we don’t see them from the point of view of a imagined future when we’ll be able to see them from a truer perspective. Our lives are newer just as we knew they would be. Now we can meet and laugh though not quite in the way that we imagined.


One response to “When we were young

  1. But youth is also that fragment of existence when one easily imagines oneself to be quite singular, when really what one is thinking or doing is what will later be retained as the typical trait of a generation. Being young is a source of power, a time of decisive encounters, but these are strained by their all too easy capture by repetition and imitation. Thought only subtracts itself from the spirit of the age by means of a constant and delicate labour. It is easy to want to change the world — in youth this seems the least that one could do. It is more difficult to notice the fact that this very wish could end up as the material for the forms of perpetuation of this very world. This is why all youth, as stirring as its promise may be, is always also the youth of a ‘young cretin’. Bearing this in mind, in later years, keeps us from nostalgia.

    — Alain Badiou

    (quoted here:

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