The Death of Youthful Exuberance

Your youthful exuberance is made possible by your lack of experience.

Once you gain some experience the youthful exuberance of NOT KNOWING what’s gonna happen… naturally wears off.

Marcus Aureilus starts his Meditations with the line…

“From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper.”

The “government of my temper” includes taming your youthful exuberance.

The topic today is one of “management”.

Time management, resources management, and yes, self management… by looking at those things through the lens of youthful exuberance.

In my youthful exuberance I would do just about anything with the attitude of, “Let the chips fall where they may!”

You can get into some trouble doing that.

A Bible verse was eluding me as I prepared to write this article. It eventually was found. But nowhere near where I thought it would be.

From the book of Luke Ch. 14 verse 28-30…

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

Do you “sit down and estimate the cost” before you take on any kind of project, job, new years resolution, OR when thinking you can scoot out of the house during the last week of hunting season, even though you only have a day or two where you might be able to squeak in a couple of hours sitting in the bow stand in hopes of redeeming yourself from missing a big buck earlier in the season?

You try to justify it. You examine the clock. Knowing it takes an hour to get there, 20 minutes to get to the stand, a couple of hours in the stand, aaannnddd then, home for supper.

The only thing that would mess it up would be…?

If you get one.

Then what?

Do you have time for that?

When I was younger… that wouldn’t even be on the radar. Getting out “just to see what I could see” was the goal, just going so I could say, “I went.”

Anything after that I would leave to just an old family phrase, “Figure it out later.”

That, I’ve found, isn’t a mature way to manage yourself.

One of the things I realized, is that I was missing out on some actual enjoyment of the experience because I was just rushing the whole thing.

As we grow and mature, living our personal experiences as we go, and having those experiences teach us… and at the same time rob us… of some of the “not knowing” excitement of life… how do we mature as men but keep some of that youthful exuberance?

Have you ever had the experience of being out in the woods… and walking in a circle?

No? You’re a better man than me.

The large tree I circled back to was a Mr Samuel Ullman, and his poem titled “Youth”.

General MacArthur was said to have a copy, framed, and on the wall of his office in Japan. Where Mr Ullman, and his poem, were very well received.

In it Mr Ullman has a line, “Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

How do we say, “Good-bye” to our youthful exuberance without giving up our “enthusiasm”?

I’ve found the same “exuberance” and “enthusiasm” in what I call “mature anticipation”.

The “lead up” “the anticipation of it” is where an Emerging Man can find, and manage, his excitement.

Being rushed, pushing a time limit, squeezing just one more in with no regard for any consequence… is empty excitement and immature.

Mature anticipation, I’ve found, is fuller, keeps you fuller, more like a good Rib-eye steak, versus a small bag of Sour Cream and Onion potato chips.

In his poem, Mr Ullman also indicates you can be old at 20 and exuberant at 80.

When I was pondering trying to get out into the bow stand, for the last “Harrah!” the more I became agitated at the fact that I was going to have to “squeeze” it all in. It drained all the enjoyment out of it just thinking about it.

And with it being a long work week, if I got one, I’d have to drop it off at a processor to have butchered. I’ve never done that. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

As an Emerging Man, governing your temper, doesn’t mean excluding all excitement, it only means “to tame it”.

I will miss the last few days of the 2021 hunting season, which ends the 9th of January, 2022.

But I’m already anticipating next year. First up is getting a life size deer target to fit in the basement!

Grab a cup of coffee, take a look at Mr Ullman’s poem; sit and “estimate the cost” if you are one who runs on youthful exuberance, one who likes to “throw caution to the wind” living wild… and determine honestly… “What have I seen through, to the end, and finished lately?”

YOUTH by Samuel Ullman
“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease.

This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.

Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust. Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing, child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living.

In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of
cynicism and ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but
as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.” taken from

Mid January, Wisconsin… anticipating July!

Now… what if you are one who doesn’t… have any, experience any, or show any exuberance, or excitement, and doesn’t have any anticipation, mature or otherwise, to look forward to…

well, put that apathy to death! That’s a nice way of putting it. What I need to really tell you is,

“Knock that shit off! Life! is for the living! Whether you are young young, or old young!”

Make a plan, work your plan, enjoy the anticipation when working toward your life goals, celebrate those goals when you hit them, if you miss… check your equipment… and get back at it!

Curb your exuberance, but don’t leave it parked somewhere where you can’t find it.


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