BOOK REVIEW: The past is a foreign country, but youth is a different species

Getting older is a bizarre experience.

When we’re young, we are, understandably, not very good at anticipating the sort of person we’ll one day become; only in hindsight do we realize that. More surprising, or at least challenging to our sense of continuity, is that once through the veil of maturity, we’re just as poor at retrospection. It’s as if we’re reincarnated with mostly vague recollections of our previous life—we retain something of before, but we’re no longer the same person.

Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s book Inventing Ourselves is a fascinating examination of what recent decades of technological progress and investigation have shown us about the teenage brain.

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50 Shades of Week: Jan. 29- Feb. 4, 2017

‘The feeling of intense joy at sacrifice & action, that you can be a part of shoving the fulcrum of history toward its natural conclusion gives way to a realization that it’s a pendulum swinging back, and no matter how much you put your shoulder into it, you’re too small against this bigger thing. You & everyone you know & care for are too small for this thing.’

  1. I raise my eyebrows.
  2. It’s almost embarrassing to witness.
  3. ‘You’re tired.’
  4. ‘Did you get me tipsy on purpose?’
  5. Pilot?
  6. ‘And please, let’s try it for three months.’
  7. I feel unbearably shy when I open the door.

50 Shades of Week: Jan. 22-28, 2017

‘Inertia is a more powerful source of motivation than any particular emotion.’

  1. ‘It’s eight in the morning for me.’
  2. ‘Please, Christian,’ I whisper.
  3. It’s such a weird feeling and not entirely unpleasant.
  4. ‘There’s no point in me staying.’
  5. Mourning something that never was — my dashed hopes, my dashed dreams, and my soured expectations.
  6. I ask to distract us both.
  7. ‘Mr. Grey,’ I whisper, because that’s all I can manage.

There’s still plenty of summer left, don’t worry

Today is unofficially the end of summer, although really Saturday was because, well, there’s no time left to recover from anything you could do in the time you’ve got left.

For several thousand kids and teachers It Begins, and the marathon of the school year that seems like it just ended the other day starts up again, ready or not. The butterflies are already colonizing your stomach at the thought.

But it’s OK. Labor Day is just around the corner, and the weekends come remarkably fast when you aren’t looking for them, quick as the boiling of an unwatched pot.

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Young people don’t know anything, especially that they’re young

My birthday was Saturday. I turned 22 and no longer feel young.

“Pshaw.”

No, you’re right to say it. But I always did feel older than I was. Not more mature. I stopped maturing sometime in the seventh-grade (unless maturity is the ability to better-stifle your laughter at fart jokes), but I always could see what was up ahead and fear it.

Twenty-one is the last birthday that means anything for a very long time except that continuing to get them is better than the alternative. When you’re a child, they’re all important, and when you’re a teenager, you look forward to the new things you get to do, but after 22, what is there? My dad couldn’t wait for his senior discount, but that’s quite a ways from here.

Then again, life comes at you fast.

Continue reading “Young people don’t know anything, especially that they’re young”