There are many things in life that keep happening over and over again - sorrow joy hope disappointment fun laughter and tears. But one thing never comes back again. Not really. And that is youth.
Of course as you grow older you will hear of men recapturing their youth. As some men grow old very old you hear of people saying that they are in their second childhood. In a sense they are but only in a way that isn’t real. For second childhood is a fantasy where men slip back into a dream world of their own and live again in fancy the days when they were very young. This mood is expressed very simply by a great English writer G K Chesterton in poem ‘A Second Childhood’ The opening stanza of this poem reads:
When all my days are ended
And I have no songs to sing
I think I shall not be too old
To stare at everything.
As I stared once at a nursery door.
Or a tall tree and a swing.
Yet even this re-living of the past cannot capture the sprit. For youth is elusive and irrecoverable. You can only live in the dream of the past you can never bring into being its tingle and laughter. For youth is incapable of being resurrected.
Therefore enjoy your youth while you may. It is a tremendous adventure to be young and unlike others it will never reur. It is a moment in your memory of life. But what a fleeting joyous moment like a blue translucent bubble soaring in the bright noon day sun which the passing fancies of time and tide may prick and bust at any moment.
Live your youth intensely for it is one golden moment in the story of time. Memory plays strange tricks. Many years later you will look back and recall the days when you were at Campion School and say “Ah yes I remember …..”
And what memories that will loose! Today school may seem a humdrum existence. Tomorrow it will be colored with imagination of many years and you and your friends will see it as a sifting kaleidoscope of many colours and patterns to suit each passing whimsy.
It is wonderful to be young. But the trouble is that you only realize its magic when you are olds. Perhaps some proverbs are really true and distances do lend enchantment to the view. Who knows? The thrill of being young can never be recaptured however vividly your imagination may conjure it. So enjoy youth while it lasts.
The nostalgia of age is expressed eloquently in a lyric penned by Hilaire Belloc. It runs
If I every become a rich man
Or if I ever grow to be old
I will build a house with a deep thatch
To shelter me from the cold
And there shall the Sussex song be sung
And the story of Sussex told
I will hold my house in the high wood
Within a walk of the sea
And the men that were boys when I was a boy
Shall sit and drink with me.