1. Beneficial. The majority of people in most cultures favor the young; it's a transparent truth to see everywhere: in media, arts, books ... and everyday life. No wonder: youth are the future parents, scientists and politicians who await pivotal roles deciding the future of our planet. We pay extra attention to them just as we do to the foundation of a building, to build up a strong healthy society. They need our guidance now because later they will be our guides. We can't think of, or plan for the future without including youth in our thoughts and plans, because once the foundation is set and the house is built, it's difficult to tear it down and start anew. Youth is a great material to shape and invest in, compared to other less malleable age-groups.
2. Biological. However, our interest in youth is not all logical or meaningful; it's partly animal too. Nature lures us to aim at fertile, youthful sex partners to spread our genes through. We do it unconsciously, even when there is no need for such primitive gene propagation method, as we now have better methods, more effective and less hazardous. However, not all animals are youth lovers like most humans; there is a diversity of sexual preferences in the animal kingdom that some species prefer "oldies" (like young male chimpanzees who favor mature "lady-chimps").
3. Psychological. The legitimate attention and guidance we give to youth turn into a mindless obsession sometimes, and rather than support them we turn them into a mere object of entertainment, or a keepsake to remind us of a past we dwell on, that we can neither forget nor re-live.
We all have memories to cherish; no one should relinquish the past they came from: their identity, roots, legacy and ground they are standing on. Being with or looking at youth may evoke such memories and temporarily revive the dead past. Yet, one needs to reason with his/her memories, rather than succumb to and wallow in them; drive them, not be driven by them; and keep, discard or assign new roles to each, that don't conflict with the present or future, so one can enjoy every stage of life as such.
Other than good memories, we also long to our youth because we had then more life ahead of us, more in our "account of years," that is running out so fast. It's legitimate to wish for a long life, but more by actions than by wishes. Unfortunately those who are youth-obsessed are the least earnest about fighting ageing, obesity, illnesses, etc., because they know what they want can never be obtained: they set a goal too high to reach (unless one can turn back time).
They value a long bygone era of history more than a present they possess, however rash, irresponsible and inexperienced they had been back then. Longevity and health are of less importance to them compared to the sweet old memories they keep regressing to and wallowing in. They are fixated on an early stage of their development, and all the wisdom of years and experiences they acquired, if any, mean nothing to them. And because they were not prepared for the end they now have to face, i.e. approaching death, they won't accept the facts of life they failed to live up to. Like lazy students, all they do is ask for a second chance they never make use of.
When people ignore reality, they get themselves and others into trouble; and those who can't accept ageing inevitably become youth-obsessed. Just like superstitions and narcotics, youth idolization is a great drug to many, who avoid any encounter with Truth. It takes many forms: idolizing sports, arts, celebrities, looks, etc., even when there are other priorities to live for, and other pleasures to enjoy, at any age with any age group.
4. Social. Thus longing to youth becomes a chronic defect in characters that cannot be cured. Instead, they inflict it on the young to share their misery, rather than empower them to be a force mutually helpful. How ironic to see the very youth, most of us idolize on the surface, dying in wars, strikes and protests, shielding us from enemies' attacks and fighting for our rights, when we no longer have the strength or courage to fight! Statesmen thoughtlessly drag whole nations into wars and rush to the battlefield by erecting barricades of healthy young bodies between us and enemies, to protect our dear lives and self-interests. We are savagely youth-centered!
Many will turn youth into a facade hiding their deformities, and evil sometimes, behind. This is true with all concepts we can't live up to, and youth is not the least among concepts we fail to grasp: youth fountain, ageless beauty and immortality (overcoming diseases and death) are some of humanity's dreams it cannot realize. Still, we can dream: some by working to narrow the gap between dreams and reality, and "lazy" others by only dreaming.
It's the latter category of individuals who daily occupy themselves with the peripheries and appearances of everything. Like other animals, their world is what they can see and touch; it doesn't cross their minds why they are alive, where they came from, or where they are heading for. If they want to be young, rather than fight aging or act, feel and think like the young, they bring someone young to gaze at! They make youth a centerpiece in their house, relationships and life; but they never actually possess it. Because such category makes a large portion of society, the whole society becomes centered on a misunderstood, distorted image of youth: many lavish fortunes on young lovers, young looks and plastic surgeries; worse still, the young themselves become blinded by all the attention they receive, and meekly play the roles their elders assigned to them.
Being a youth-centered society has serious consequences; it has advantages and disadvantages, with the latter much more. Negative youth values, detrimental to civilization, become the norm, e.g. ignorance, rashness, shallowness, irresponsibility, etc., at the expense of research, experience, professionalism, diligence, perseverance, etc. It's an obsession that negatively affects the whole fabric of society.
• The young turn into a commodity. Their feelings are ignored, their thoughts ridiculed, and their plans for "their" future (that they "alone" will see) ended. Thus they mechanically accept the role they didn't want, or they live a reckless life.
• The old suffer ageism.
• Dissatisfaction in marriages and long relationships, leading to divorce, infidelity, broken families, abandoned children, etc.
• Women suffer humiliation by disrespectful men who treat them as objects for sex, housework and breeding.
• Anyone who does not fit into society's physical "ideals" has to live in isolation, for nothing other than their different looks. Many categories become marginalized while others idolized; some strive alone, unheard of, while the elite, ironically misplaced, live in luxury and fame, constantly glowing in the spotlight, wherein their vices and virtues are equally extolled.
1. Learning Basics
• One must differentiate between loving to be young, and loving the young. Unless you are a suicide bomber or coming from an eccentric death-loving culture, you won't love aging or dying—will you? So staying young keeps you in the safe zone, that is, some years away from the Grim Reaper's grip. Loving the young doesn't automatically make you young, or even young at heart. (Sometimes insisting to wear too tight outfits when one is overweight makes them look ridiculous!) Ironically, many wealthy men, however famous or respected, will abandon family, children and mutual love, losing money and dignity, to gain a young wife, and social mockery as well.
• There is an amazing, sometimes shocking, diversity of sexual preferences in our world, that thanks to the internet we wouldn't have noticed they actually exist. It's not surprising to see many young men or women who really like somebody old, fat, handicapped, or belonging to any other category we deem unpopular by society's standards. BUT those young people are a minority, and they KNOW they are. Accordingly, such a minority of self-aware, "type-aware" youth become highly-demanding, because they are highly-wanted.
• Yet, for many people whose sexuality never matured, love is to love only, and not necessarily to be loved too. They satisfy themselves with unreciprocated love, and pass their entire life without once tasting, or understanding, mutual love. Some do it unconsciously, taking for granted they are undoubtedly loved by the other party; while others, though conscious of the gap between them and their beloved, still naively claim and insist they are LOVED but on a different L-E-V-E-L, such as friendship, father-figure, mother-figure or any-figure they choose to hide their real, unshapely figure behind. They may go on having such pathetic relationships for a lifetime, even when they are aware of the toll it takes on their time, money and dignity. The more they suffer, the more they want it, like a life-long addiction.
• Many cultures and traditions do encourage such types of relationships; either indirectly, by suppressing and not allowing other healthy forms of relationships to exist and come to light, as in conservative societies; or directly, by blessing such affairs, sometimes considered as a sign of power, as in most third-world countries where the division between classes are so severe that many aspiring young people will do anything to bridge the gap between the poor they are and the rich they are not. With high illiteracy rates and poor education (not to mention no sex-education), some grow rich fast, but not as fast as their minds and personalities grow. Then when they are old, everyone wants their share of life before they go: their share of other human-meat.
• Many end up old and single, eventually, never finding the time-proof dream-lover they had always fantasized about. Others, like men and women of means, late in their life learn to accept one last choice: adapting themselves to a sugar-parent-kept-person type of relationship, or a marriage of convenience, or any relationship you name but love!
2. Knowing One's Role (Old vs. Young)
The ideal body or health is usually that of youth. Youth are full of enthusiasm, adventure and humor (high testosterone and dopamine levels are partly the reason for this—it all comes down to chemistry). But, suicide rates are also highest among young people, that many times such humor on the surface hides an ominous depression underneath. Also, youth's reckless driving makes car accidents the number one cause of death amongst the young in most countries. Violence, divorce, and drug addiction are highest at the young age too. On the other hand, most old people tend to be wiser and more appreciative of life!
Youth have the perfect bodies, that we struggle to keep as we grow old because of merciless gravity and slow metabolism. Yet, youth have disturbed minds: at the onset of adulthood, everything is new, happening fast, and, causing disturbance. The knowledge, the information, and the whole world they know are all limited (except when they are exceptionally-gifted or have received a top-quality education); accordingly they are helplessly rash and shallow thinkers: it takes a lifetime to fill the young brain with decades of old experiences. We live and learn all our life; and, ironically, when we become fully mature and ripe, we drop, dead, off the Tree of Life.
So far, technology permitting, it's rather difficult to change the mind than the body. Older people can have diets and do exercises to make up for the symptoms of body aging, and those who are financially capable can pay doctors to stay in best health, and even have the luxury of plastic surgeries to look as young as they want. Yet, the brain stays the most difficult organ to change in the human body, for no surgeries yet are performed to fill the young brain with old experiences, nor do we have a data-transmitting brain-chip!
3. Protecting Marriage
Couples meet, fall in love, get married ... and get divorced. Statistics show that this is the case with nearly half of marriages; while the other half is still challenged with problems, some couples can overcome and some cannot.
They loved each other, so passionately, early in life when they first met. But now that the flame is gone and the spell is broken, they refuse to accept that their partners have grown old, just as they too have. They don't want to love that "new" partner life is offering them (the one they loved before, but now with more fats and extra wrinkles). Some couples do not seek divorce, even after they let the love between them dwindle and die. They stay together as partners, not as lovers, usually for the children's sake, and a kind of friendship or familiarity evolves, or devolves, between them. Again, you may call it anything but love.
This is not the case with couples whose love grows simultaneously with their bodies. A man who loved his wife when she was in her twenties can still find her attractive in her fifties, constantly exploring new sides of her he wouldn't have discovered before. It takes other men time to feel the way this man feels, but not much; meanwhile some do not even try. In conservative societies, it's worse, where loyalty is taken for granted, that to seek counseling or admit there is a problem is another problem. Sexuality is the elephant in the room no one wants to see: suppressing or ignoring one's feelings may lead to serious problems, sometimes, in worst case scenarios, to crimes of passion. Else, they will cheat, if not by body, at least by mind, watching porn, masturbating, flirting, etc. Eventually, when they fail, they end up in the courtroom, or in a tasteless, loveless partnership.
4. Enjoying Oneself
Hiding one's age and not accepting the fact that we all age, make life difficult for us and others, turning it into a less enjoyable experience at its different stages. Whatever you are hiding will backfire on you once it's freed; or, if you succeed in keeping the lid on, it will simply "stink." Better old, clean and healthy, than young on the surface while ailing inside.
Youth is only a stage of life, and the young are only one age group of many, that society has, statistically speaking. Accepting facts, and doing away with myths and illusions are fundamental for long-lasting happiness.
Life is a dear gift to cherish; and to enjoy it to the full, one needs their dearest tool too, their brain, to treat it tenderly with. A wise trader will count how much stock he has in store to sell, and to sell at the highest price too. A wise man knows how many years he may have left, to spend on worthy pleasures with worthy people.