*Once Upon A Time*
Greetings, it is good to be with you again. I believe most would like to stay “young,” or at least a bit younger than we presently are. I am not a Psychiatrist, I’m a Chemist. But I still wonder what happens when we continually long for days and opportunities long gone by. We probably all do this to some degree on occasion. But what if we can’t seem to “shake” these feelings? All of a sudden, our husbands, wives, and friends seem a bit “older?”
Usually, it’s the man that might slip out and occasionally “cheat” during an established relationship. He temporarily leaves his family to sow “unquenched” wild oats. In some societies this is expected and not questioned. But recently more women are seen out “partying” with younger men than in the past. “Why?” Is there something in the water? Well no, many guys are still busy doing the same things they’ve always done. It’s just that women are now joining them in increasingly higher numbers. In my view, this activity is driven by evolution and some rather remarkable organic mechanisms. “How is that you say?” Let's take a look.
John and Linda (names changed) are a prosperous, professional couple. They’ve been married for 12 years. They have two children, a house, dog, and earn in excess of a six- figure income. It seems life should be good. But something lurking between their ears threatens to ruin everything! And that is a “self-destructive fear of aging.” (More on John and Linda soon) The “initiator” of their problem is an organ known as the human brain. And it’s complete with exactly the same life systems found in us all. However, at times the system seems more interested inhuman reproduction than anything else; (Morality included). According to older traditions our hormonal installations today seem to “outlive” significant parts of their original assignments. It seems we now see more expectant mothers into their 50’s.
This fact has caused a common problem in our society when attempting to handle the “aging process.” This process usually starts around age “30.” That’s because most of us don’t want to die. And youth seems to be the only (pseudo)solution. Not only that, but we don’t want to even think about it. However, today’s worldly obsession with “youth and beauty” make it almost impossible to avoid. With all the “youth creams” and age reducing surgery available our natural body chemistry is now the enemy.
For those smitten with “Gerascophobia” (fear of aging) being around younger people or having a younger partner may assuage some imbedded fear of aging. Still, many views on youth and longevity continue to ignore reality. The human body’s natural chemical factories e.g. the Endocrine System has other more evolutionary ideas about our specific homeostasis. However, the interpretation of certain “hormonal influence” is exclusive to the individual.
In the “Brain” of the Homo sapiens we find the presence of a vibrant need for emotional and physical self-expression. A fascinating aspect of this self-expression is while we are physically limited, mentally we can be almost ageless. Many think the most primal need or “urge” in Man is to reproduce. But my study indicates “Within the range of human sexuality is first an innate need to expose or “express” one’s sexuality to another human being.” A strong second is the need to reproduce. And if one is heterosexual, the first need usually takes care of the second. In my view, as a species we are an amalgamated group of “truth seekers.” Human copulation is the ultimate interactive manifestation of physiological and psychological truth.
Sexual engagement exposes one’s true dependence, strength, and vulnerability briefly to another person during orgasm. * Caveat* Please avoid engaging in this activity frivolously. History has shown that “right or wrong”, exposure to the honesty involved in this act has the ability to induce or trigger the “love emotion.” Which (in some cases) may only be lust. Lust is easily (and often) masqueraded or misunderstood as love. “Misinterpretation of intent” in this area can lead to tragedy. Be careful, most human sexual interaction today is not engaged for reproductive purpose. When pregnancy does occur, often it’s a surprise to both participants. (Note: Sexual activity may temporarily impair judgment)
It seems we are far more alike than many would admit. Both men and women of today strive “fiercely” for their own individuality. But with surprisingly little indoctrination, our emotional and physical requirements are basically interchangeable. If you do this, or do that as a part of daily necessity, chances are we all do many of the same things, although in different ways or call them by other names. A Study of the human endocrine system virtually guarantees a recognition of the similarities between all peoples. It shows how all variations (races) of Man are the same species. Unfortunately, some look for even the smallest of difference in order to justify personal prejudice.
There are about 50 hormones in the human body. These hormones are manufactured in various glands and ‘secrete’ upon demand into the bloodstream. All of them work in concert within the body. They do miraculous things. The substratum of glandular chemical abilities help to make us who and what we are. And they do this with “robotic like” effectiveness, 24/7. One of the problems many “Youth Researchers” run into lies in the systems dedication to” precision.” e.g. if the system needs a hormone in a certain area, the involved gland sends the hormone via the bloodstream to “target cell receptors.” And (to make a long story short) when completed, through “negative feedback” the cells announce, “task accomplished” and the gland relaxes.
Then “why don’t we live longer?” The human body is made up of about 100 trillion cells. Some of these cells (including brain cells) are seldom replaced. But most cells are constantly being replaced. And the cells multiply by division to make new ones. However, each cell cannot continue to multiply an infinite number of times before it dies. And as more cells are lost between replacement, the aging process slowly begins to appear. The emotional self-preservation function in the brain observes, and the unsettling fear of ‘impending doom’ can start to emerge. In my view, some degree of “Geranscophobia” is quite normal. I believe it happens to most. But all “take notice” of their own aging process.
This foreshadowing may prompt some to periodically (inwardly) start “losing it.” Until this stage of life in a marital (or other) relationship, the bond can be fairly strong. But aging casts a new shadow on all parts of our lives. All Homo sapiens were born with war-like capabilities. He/she was not designed to always “get along.” (As evidenced by knuckles, fingernails, temper, etc.) And when angered we tend to find fault with everyone but ourselves. We know certain subjects will aggravate. And we will usually search until one is found, e.g. the spouse’s nose and lips are too big or too small, he/she is too fat or too skinny etc. And inside, one is temporarily certain they’ve made a mistake in spousal selection. (I believe this scenario to be almost universal)
Everything wrong must be his or her fault. If fortunate, one may get over their feelings of “missing out” or premature doom. If not, such feelings can ruin relationships. However, science may have found a potential remedy for this ‘mid-life crisis’. It’s called GnRH, (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone) and when injected into the Hypothalamus it is thought (by some) to decelerate the aging process. But even “if it works” (good luck) eventually, one will still get old.
John and Linda are having a hard time with the aging process. Remember, this process can start as early as age 30 and any time after. Now It seems to Linda as if every adversity encountered by either partner must (somehow) be due to age or age discrimination. Our dedication to any relationship is always tested by time. But generally speaking, physical stamina protects the young e.g. if a young spouse should die or abandon the family, the surviving spouse must adjust and be strong enough to move on alone. This can be more difficult for older people.
The fear of aging can drive many to deny this process and become more self-centered. Things can be amplified by misinterpretation of the signs of stress. Everyone wants to think they’re still attractive. And people tend to be especially sensitive about appearance between the ages of 35–50. Deliberate intent to wound by revealing words and “events” given in secret tend to hurt most. This type of intimate betrayal often leads to dissolution. The average person may not realize that whatever hurts them most is usually the subject most commonly exploited.
We are driven by our various societies to conform within established life parameters. Performance outside these boundaries is often looked upon as a perversion of the norm. John and Linda have some radical ideas of their own about liberal practices. But they may never come to fruition because of societal disapproval. However, if not careful we can indoctrinate our children with unpopular ideas. Educators skillfully teach independence, and some material might ‘pivot’ back and forth, so students may better “digest” the viewpoints of others. Not so in real life. Hopefully John and Linda will learn to peacefully adjust strong feelings that negatively affect the way they see the world. In my view, more should realize a successful life and relationship contains a long list of “compromise.”
Chemistry helps to control our lives. It is involved in what we are, what we want, and how we act. At certain times, we choose to be aggressive or passive. Why? “Chemistry!” We are often led by our hormones to love, marry, and divorce. There are endless functions controlled by our chemistry. Much of this “wizardry” is handled by the Endocrine System. Both similarities and differences may be traced in part to this system. Disruptions can happen at any time to anyone, and can be difficult to treat or pinpoint. Sexual problems caused by hormonal system failure, malfunction, or just plain ‘unrealistic expectations’ is a major cause of divorce. But (as I’ve said before) over 50% of those filing for divorce ‘wind up’ being sorry they did.
“Sorry?” “Why?” Unlike the young, many older people have found the similarities between people indicate that after a while, there’s not much “still out there” worth all the trouble of separating for. And older life can be unexpectedly cruel if alone. But finding a suitable, decent replacement for a problem partner can be very difficult. And “Strong relationships can take years to develop!” Young life is vastly different. Youth is ‘energy without experience.’ When one is young, they have multiple chances to correct mistakes. This is especially true if one is thinking of ‘going it alone.’ We seldom think about these problems when we’re young and still a bit ‘myopic.’ But take care, “illness and expiration” is not exclusive to age.
It seems image has always been more important to youth than reality. While young, we often experience one disillusionment after another. But as we age, life can still be cruel. Cruel because it can knock one down when they’re’ least able to “get back up!” But (you say) “What about those who are both arrogant and evil?” “Those that have built only imaginary castles and told ‘gargantuan’ lies they’ve never paid for?” These people only appear to have escaped their due retribution and judgment. Their time has not come…but it will. “Am I being clear?”
Please listen, no matter who or what one think’s they are, or how much they plot and scheme. “No one will be young forever!” So be very careful (Mr. & Mrs. Box of Chocolates) not to destroy all the real reasons you wanted to “excel” in the first place! All aspects of life become more difficult as one ages. Erosion of integrity can happen gradually, almost imperceptibly. And any corruption of truth will always compromise the future. Please remember, a brilliant, youthful “intellect” may have carried you far, but that was accomplished “once upon a time,” a long time ago. It’s true, in spite of fierce competition, you have managed to “claw” your way to the top. However, the infrastructure of a problematic character will not keep you there…” What then?”
“Stop burning bridges!” You’re going to need most of them. ‘Good’ relationships cannot be built on ‘bad’ habits. And if at all possible, try to love the one that will ‘love you back.’ A wise man once said: (And always remember) “Once upon a time,” never comes again.” Stay well
*Anger resteth in the bosom of fools* Holy Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:9
All the Best,
- Henri W. Tartt
Henri W. Tartt
Supervising Chemist &
Chief of Microbiology
City of Cleveland, Ohio (Retired)