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Trading eternal youth for love

Trading eternal youth for love
Trading eternal youth for love
Dr. Wayne Willis

Would you want to stay young forever?

Spanish explorer and first governor of Puerto Rico Ponce de Leon supposedly searched for the Fountain of Youth as he wandered around Florida in 1513. The mythical spring was rumored to restore the youth of those who drank from or bathed in it.

Aurora, in Roman mythology, was goddess of the dawn. One of her lovers was the mortal prince of Troy, Tithonus. Wanting to be with him forever, Aurora asked Jupiter, chief of gods, to gift Tithonus with everlasting life. She forgot to ask that he stay forever young. So Tithonus lived, and aged, on and on. Aurora mercifully turned the decrepit old man into a cicada. The Tithonus myth illustrates how some fates, indeed, are worse than death.

Written by Natalie Babbitt in 1975, the now children’s classic “Tuck Everlasting” is about a family who found and drank from a magic forest spring that enabled them to stay exactly the same, year after year. Never aging, yet not desirous of becoming public oddities or a tourist attraction, they chose to keep their secret to themselves, observing others going through the natural aging and dying cycles.

“The Aging of Adaline,” an artistic and intellectually engaging movie, is about a 29-year-old woman who drowned in an automobile accident. While trapped in her submerged car, a freak lightning strike started her heart again. She emerged alive, and, mysteriously, ageless, with the mind of an aging woman perpetually trapped in a beautiful 29-year-old body. Adaline chose a solitary, secretive existence, avoiding romantic entanglements. Decades later, she shared with her daughter that dying is what makes life so precious. If you can’t grow old with someone you love, “love is just heartbreak.”

Is Job One chasing eternal youth or cultivating loving relationships?