If there is such a thing, I wonder what it would be for me, or for ‘a’ person. Some claim it is youth, but I have seen more youthful old people than youthful youths. Here I have to say that when G.B. Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young” , or perhaps it was ‘Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children’, he was right, and probably not very young.
I am not saying this because I think young people are fools, I made most of my good decisions when I was relatively young. I don’t particularly think I was youthful then, but that is besides the point (or maybe it is the point). I am relating youthfulness to being more prone to taking chances, following whims and fantasies. I think the decisions we make while young, are much more critical and life changing. Where one wrong one, can really do you in. A few right ones can bring you to a position where you get to be youthful- this time without misadventures causing you more than what you bargained for or even knew what you were bargaining..
Its not avoiding mistakes when you are young, its taking the time to learn from them and from others’ mistakes and not forgetting in a moment of youthful carelessness. Obviously anyone who is so inclined cannot be youthful all the time.
Maybe like most things worth having, youthfulness should also be earned, not be an entitlement (even if most healthy young people may have it). That gives you something to look forward to, too. So take more chances later- but not so late that you are bound to a way of life. That would be a waste of the entitled youth and the one you worked for. If you live in the US, you must know people who either married too full of youthful love at a very young age, or gave in to all kinds of youthful experiments and by the time the were 30, you won’t believe looking at them that they had ever been the spirited young people, they must have been. In India and probably most other places in the world, youthfulness is often forgotten completely, because we get only one or two chances to get it right, if we don’t do those right, there is no hope of being youthful. Society won’t let you. Again, you can still earn it, by not letting other people tell you what you are ( or are not, i.e., successful).
Add up all the good decisions (figuratively speaking) and balance with whimsical turns and stakes later.
I love the look of old metal- it worked better when it was new for sure, but it hadn’t built character- and now even if it doesn’t do what it was meant to do, it did the right thing for long enough to stay there and look poetic in its old age. There is a reason those years are called golden.
So which ones are the best years.. if you are old enough to know what you are asking, when you ask yourself when yours will be, it is the ones you are living now. No time to waste.
Let me end with my recent favorite G.B.S. quote ( it may not be exact):
‘Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself’