Youth and the Flying Boy

In the woods is perpetual youth.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Because our society is so youth-oriented, many men want to “stay young.” Compounding the problem is the fact that so many of us as boys were made to grow up too fast. It’s as though we lost our youth before we ever had it – becoming too responsible and too serious before our time. Yet many fifty- and sixty-year-old men still feel and act like boys regarding relationships, commitment, and direction in life. These men have a lot of Puer (Eternal Youth) in them. This is the “boy in the man’s body” syndrome, the Flying Boy.

Of course, there is a big difference between “perpetual” youth and “eternal” youth. The man who knows nature, who loves the ancient places, who often roams the woods and meadows stays perpetually young inside. This doesn’t mean he stops making decisions and commitments. Instead, he stays clear about his responsibilities because of the rejuvenating freedom he feels as he moves through the wide world.

Today I’ll honor the Flying Boy, the Puer. In this way, I can hold a fresh, youthful outlook, part of which is not caring whether or not I look young.

Excerpt from A Quiet Strength: Meditations on the Masculine Soul