We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
An overwhelming majority of those polled would not want to be 20 again. The question: “Knowing no more than you did then, would you want to be 20 again?” The key is in making the choice knowing what the respondents do now.
This wasn’t a scientific poll but was random across almost anyone I met and had a conversation with during the past month, successful in whatever field from business to arts to teaching; economically stressed from illegal immigrants to trades people to clerks to unemployed; politically conservative, liberal, somewhere in between, indifferent; married, single, happy, sad.
About 20% said they’d choose to be 20 again, about half confident and about half wanting to feel free like when they were 20. About 30% didn’t want to repeat the same or similar early errors, feeling their personalities would be the same. Then, half of the respondents just believe that it would be far tougher to get ahead now than whenever then was when they were 20. Those with grown children went on about how difficult it is for their sons and daughters to even get a toehold, and those with young children remarked about what they are seeing around them and deeply worry about their children’s future prospects.
Delving a little deeper into my respondents’ concerns about their children’s futures: Our children’s future being heavily mortgaged is at the core of the current Washington wrangles, and that is recognized although feeling powerless to affect it or almost hopeless that real reforms will happen. Another core issue is, as one respondent commented, “even with a professional degree, my kid is going to have to be working for the government.” Directly or indirectly through burdensome, intrusive and nitpicking regulations.
Bruce my friend... I don't want to be in my 20s again, but I wouldn't mind being in my 40s, and able to visit my cousin's house in Nantucket, as we did then. We sailed in one of the famous Nantucket boats, the Wood Pussy, and entered into a sailing duel with another Wood Pussy. And won, by George! Wood Pussies don't have to have a boat slip when they're not being sailed. They get pulled up on shore when they're not being used, thus eliminating one of the major expenses of owning a sailboat -- the slip rental.
Nantucket Island is one of the small beautiful places on the East Coast which still holds its history fast in careful fingers. Strangers visit from time to time, but they won't enjoy it unless they treasure early American history as we do.
Nantucket and neighboring Martha's Vineyard are a part of our past, which in retrospect looks very dear. Yes, it was a simple life. But hard work nonetheless. When the Nantucketers took off in their whaling boats to hunt whales for the oil and the treasures that were in them. Some of the whalers were gone from home for as long as two years. So their loving wives perforce had to develop leadership skills and run things around there until the boys came home. I suspect that's why New England ladies are so strong and tough. They had to be.
Would you be twenty again NOT knowing what you know now?
Damn right I would. That was at once the worst time of my life and the best time of my life. It was the forge in which the metal of what I was to become was tempered beaten against the anvil of experience that gave me the strength to survive the darkest hours of addiction and recovery.
As with many others, I would like to know the rules before signing on to that voyage. Would this be in 1973 or in 2011? There are some tragedies I'd like the world to avoid, and some stock IPO's I'd like to get ahold of.
But all in all, I think it would be a mug's game. I have a few stupid comments and stupid actions I'd like to have back, but mostly, it's been a good innings and I wouldn't want to risk screwing it up worse.
Assistant VIllage Idiot
20 again, knowing what I "knew" then? Hell, no. It was a miserable time of my life. I'm much happier now.