Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fountain of Youth

I love the internet as a source of interesting, if fairly useless, knowledge. I just read an article on Yahoo about a species of jellyfish called Turritopsis nutricula. The headline caught my eye, proclaiming this animal can "live forever." Theoretically. I won't bore you with the details, you can Google the little critter yourself, but suffice it to say this jellyfish can go from a mature adult stage back to infancy again due to a cellular process called transdifferentiation. I don't know what triggers this, if the jellyfish just decides to be a kid again, or if some environmental conditions cause it to change, but what a cool concept.

If you had the option to turn back the clock and relive a younger stage of your life, would you do it? There is a lot of focus on youth in our society. People are trying to act and look younger than their age, some are even resorting to drastic measures such as plastic surgery. But imagine trading your 30-something body for a newer 18 year old model. What if you had to return to an 18 year old brain, too? I was half out of my mind as a late teenager. I don't think I'd want to return to that stage! But, a pre-pregnancy belly sure sounds nice.

We all know people who seem stuck in the past, constantly trying to relive their "glory days." They wistfully look back on how things used to be, and ignore the beauty of the present. Others seem stuck on mistakes they've made, or insults they've received and can't move on. I can think of times in my life where I'd choose to do things differently, but I have learned a lot since I was a teenager. Sure, I don't have the free time I did then, or the energy, maybe not even the memory (ok, this isn't sounding so great!), but I wouldn't trade the lessons I've learned and the life I've created in these last couple of decades. Happiness is in this moment. Unlike the jellyfish, we don't get a do-over.

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