When I was a child, it was impossible to imagine myself inhabiting the body of an adult. Now that I am an older adult, it’s difficult to remember myself as a child. It’s been this way since I outgrew my child’s body. It continues to be difficult to imagine myself as a very old woman, although it ain’t as hard as it used to be!
Does this sound familiar?
Can the real me stand up? Is the self a constantly mutating, evolving concept? Or, is there an unchanging essence of self? Age has helped me grow more confident, more forgiving, more patient. Some aspects of myself as a child I would no longer recognize. Thank the Lord.
Some of the passions of childhood have continued through life so far, but others have proven transient. While writing this, I am reminded to a few strong simplistic philosophical undercurrents that influenced my youth.
When I was a young teenager, I decided I was a hedonist. If we’re all going to die, what higher purpose could there be than to have a good time while waiting around?
I liked the song, made popular way back in the 1930’s, “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.” That fit nicely with my newly adopted devil- may- care spirit.
I knew Frank Sinatra was singing about me when he belted out, The Lady is a Tramp, especially the lyrics that talked about “the clean fresh wind in my hair and life without care.
I can still relate to Alfred E. Neuman of Mad magazine, whose byline, “What, me worry?” became the way I internally countered my Mother’s worrying habits about my going off the rails during my rebellious teen years. I remember drawing a picture of Alfred with the byline in the cover of my 9th grade school notebook.
Mom was a self-described worrier. I worried too, but about very different things. I really didn’t care whether I got an A- or a B+, nor did I care whether my friends were Jewish or otherwise. At some point, I tried to adopt my Dad’s positions on life, which was the essence of what me worry, as long as he had a drink when he came home from work and a golf club in his hands on Sunday mornings.
My belief system is more nuanced now, but I also think I wouldn’t have to scratch far below the surface to find an operational pleasure principle. There’s a reason cherries are my favorite fruit.